After power-on, what’s next for 787?


Image Courtesy The Boeing Company

The completion of the 787 first power-on sets the stage for the next phase of the Dreamliner’s march toward first flight. The milestone was met to the day according to sources familiar with the schedule.

The initial power-on testing began on June 11 and wrapped up yesterday. The testing, according to one program source, went more smoothly than initially anticipated. The program staffer stated that, “This is one thing [Boeing] thought was going to be a major issue in our program.” The staffer added that Boeing never expected problems to crop up in the supply chain.

Gauntlet testing is next on the agenda for Dreamliner One. The aircraft’s computer system will be fooled into thinking its flying to simulate every imaginable phase of flight, as well as a myriad of potential failures.

“That’s really when the fun starts, we can really see how stable the airplane is. So, are there any problems that need to be resolved?” 787 VP and General Manager Pat Shanahan said in mid-May. “Guess what, there will be lots of those,” he added. “And the idea is none of them will be severe…I expect people run in every half hour and they’ll drop their grenade, then we’ll dispatch the right people and we’ll go resolve those issues.”

For months, Boeing had planned its timeline around the completion of first power-on for ZA001. With this task now complete, the fatigue aircraft (ZY998) will be moved this evening (June 20) to the 767 line, then later to the fatigue rig for testing. The open assembly station will allow ZA002 and ZA003 to move to the third and second assembly stations respectively.

This will be the first line move since April 25 when ZY997, the statictest airframe, was moved to Building 40-23.  At the rear of Building40-26, a vacancy on the line will now be created.

Before theend of the month, Boeing will see the arrival of the final majorstructural sections for ZA004 and the commencement of final assemblyoperations. The third Dreamlifter will make its way to the US next weekand immediately enter service, being tasked with the delivery of thecenter fuselage section from Charleston. In addition, the forwardfuselage Section 41 will also be delivered from Wichita.

Thecenter fuselage section for Dreamliner Four (ZA004) was perhaps theprimary victim of program delays more than any other, having spent morethan nine months in Charleston being assembled since September 2007.Boeing held deliveries at structural partners to reduce the level oftravelled work that was flowing to Everett. The delivery of the centerfuselage marks a turning point for the program as integration times inCharleston will have peaked and will drop for subsequentairframes.

Dreamliner Four in Charleston, SC – June 12, 2008

By the time the final center fuselage section (ZA006) is delivered forthe flight test program later this summer, integration time is expectedto be roughly 1/3 of what it was for ZA004, according to programsources.

All the major structural suppliers: Spirit, Vought,Alenia, Fuji, Kawasaki and Mitsubishi have begun manufacturing roughlythe entire complement of Boeing’s 2009 787 deliveries. The number ofshipsets produced ranges between 19 and 22 with varying levels ofcompletion.

Earlier this week, the first horizontal stabilizerfor Dreamliner Five arrived in Everett laying the groundwork for Boeingto see Dreamliner One off of the final assembly line. With only fouravailable assembly stations, ZA001 will be moved to a slant two doorsdown on the 767 line in Building 40-24 to wrap up factory completionbefore moving to the flight line late this summer.

Section 47/48 for Dreamliner Five (right) and Dreamliner Six (left) in Charleston, SC – June 12, 2008

5 Responses to After power-on, what’s next for 787?

  1. Matt June 20, 2008 at 4:29 pm #

    Those are some great pics. This is really good news for the 787. Hopefully they might be able to catch up a little bit. Does anyone think that might happen?

  2. 787 = unsave June 20, 2008 at 5:39 pm #

    I doubt it…

  3. TomB June 20, 2008 at 11:05 pm #

    Thanks Jon that clears up a lot. I wish I was near or going to Everett. Engine power up will be a site to behold in its self. This is for Matt. I don’t think they are going to get back lost time they are just going to stick to the schedule they have now.

  4. Alex Khristov June 20, 2008 at 11:16 pm #

    Hey Jon, since you visited LN4… Where the heck are the circuit breakers?

  5. David Balton June 21, 2008 at 10:14 am #

    Great pics again, as always, Jon. My advice to Boeing as they go forward from here; Don’t rush things, just get it RIGHT!