A German magazine reported Sunday that Boeing is set to announce a further three to six month delay to the 787 program due to issues with achieving its “type certification”. The report, which appeared in FOCUS, cited sources inside the FAA who also said that the delay would be announced in mid-May.
Boeing 787 program spokesperson Yvonne Leach responded to the report telling FlightBlogger that, “The FAA has been overseeing our effort every step of the way and we’ve been working closely together.”
Leach added, it is “not our understanding” that there are any additional issues with achieving FAA type certification for the 787.
787 Program Manager Pat Shanahan commented on FAA certification during the 787 update on December 11, 2007:
“Boeing and the FAA have reviewed and agreed to all the technical requirements needed to achieve type certification. Also, we have submitted more than 25% of the certification deliverables to show type certification.”
“This is the first time on any program where we and the FAA prior to flight test have agreed on all the requirements. Now, the next portion of this is demonstrating compliance to those requirements, but it’s a big step forward for us and really is a reflection of the last four years of the close working relationship between Boeing and the FAA. I feel confident that we’ve identified what is necessary to demonstrate during the flight test program and now we need to go produce the data and work with their technical specialist to show compliance.”
Boeing CEO Jim McNerney confirmed in February that about 35% of the 787s airworthiness certification requirements had been completed.
A source familiar with the certification process says that modifications to the center wing box are not impacting the FAA certification schedule. Airplanes 1-6 will have stiffeners installed inside the center wing box to improve structural integrity. Airplane 7, the first production aircraft, will feature a redesigned wing box.
Boeing’s 787 flight test program is slated to begin in late October, according to another company source familiar with the upcoming flight test schedule, and is set to be completed early in the third quarter of 2009 with first delivery later in the quarter to ANA. Dreamliners One, Two and Three are all expected to take to the sky within three weeks of one another.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.