WICHITA, KS -- Just feet behind the football field sized door of Building 40-26 at Boeing's Everett, Washington facility, a small group of program staff Wednesday began breathing life into the first 787 Dreamliner.
The aircraft was powered-on for the first time, marking the beginning of a check-out process to validate the systems integration of the 787.
Boeing has confirmed the testing has begun and has issued this statement:"We're pleased the process has begun, and we are confident we'll meet the milestone in June."
Boeing added that the power-on process is to last between 10 days and two weeks and is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
At the most recent delay announcement in April, Vice President and General Manager of the 787 Program Pat Shanahan outlined a series of key milestones that would occur by June 30.
To track program progress, those milestones included the move of the static and fatigue structural test aircraft to test locations, the beginning of final assembly of Dreamliners Three and Four, hardware airworthiness qualifications and the completion of power-on testing.
To date the static test airframe has moved to its test facilty, final assembly of Dreamliner Three is well underway and many major structures for Dreamliner Four have arrived in Everett. Once the fatigue test airframe is moved later this month, Dreamliner Four can begin final assembly as the body join station becomes available.
In May, Shanahan underscored the importance of the power-on testing:
"We'll have a good understanding of how well we've done systems
integration and it's really at that point we understand what kind of
airplane we have and a bunch of risk gets retired.
"So, if you called up July first and said, "Pat, how's it going? What do you know about this airplane?" I'll know significant amount more about the airplane and our ability to meet schedule on July first. We'll have taken all our work in the lab and put it in one airplane, so it's a big deal for us."
Indications of commencement of power-on testing were running rampant earlier this week in Everett with the arrival of lit beacon signs on the factory floor reading When illuminated, production test in progress, as well as a newly erected perimeter around Dreamliner One Warning - Power On Testing - Authorized Personnel Only - No Entrance - No Exceptions.
According to several program sources, flat panel TV monitors have been set up on the factory floor showing a live video feed of the cockpit instruments.
Boeing, taking all appropriate precautions for their early power-on tests, had the facility fire department on hand.
This is a developing story and will be updated as details become available.