Dreamliner One is set to come alive again, as re-power-on is expected later this week, the first time since before the IAM strike.
Though, according to program sources, internal schedules have seen a shift from identifying specific milestones dates, including first flight, towards classification as TBD, away from the originally set date of April 24. Sources add that there is no indication that first flight has moved beyond Boeing's current target of the 2nd quarter of 2009, though could signal a slip to later in the quarter.
In the near term, Dreamliner One will undergo the "medium blow" test in early February, which will see the differential cabin pressure raised to 9.43 PSIg, less than the 14.9 PSIg registered on the successful "high blow" test
on the static airframe in August.
In mid-February, the static airframe will complete structural rework clearing the way for additional structural testing ahead of first flight. Similar rework is also continuing on the fatigue airframe on the Boeing flight line to replace improperly installed fasteners and some strain gauges.
The first flying 787 has found a spot in its new home on the 767 line
surrounded by a "phalanx of manufacturing engineers and other support people" according to one Boeing engineer. "There is no shortage of resources being thrown at [Dreamliner One] right now," the engineer added.According to a report
by analyst Scott Hamilton of Leeham.net, Boeing plans to leave some temporary fasteners in place during flight test.
"The small number of fasteners that won't be replaced are 1: not easy to reach AND (not OR) 2: don't represent a safety of flight issue," says Boeing. "They have the ability to withstand the loads and number of cycles expected during the flight test program. They must be repaired before long-term operations begin so they will be replaced during the refurbishment program after flight test."
One 787 machinist tells FlightBlogger that Boeing was able to save considerable time toward restarting the systems integration process by dropping "hundreds" of jobs on parts that meet short term specification. The remaining fasteners stem largely from non-deburred aluminum holes on the aircraft structure.
In addition, Dreamliner One has received its engine nacelle cowling and the last of its control surfaces.ZA005 & ZA006
Late Sunday evening in Everett, the final structural section arrived
for Dreamliner Five kicking off preparations for the start of final assembly of the first General Electric GEnx powered 787.
The aircraft will eventually be delivered to Royal Air Maroc
The center fuselage, which is made up of four integrated structural components from Italy and Japan, touched down at Paine Field at 9:07 PM
. The eighty-four foot, 110,213 lb. barrel joined the forward, aft and wing structures already in the factory.
When the center fuselage
was brought into the 40-36 building in the rear of the 787 Final Assembly Line, the 100% completed forward fuselage
had already been preloaded into the first assembly position awaiting its arrival.
The center fuselage remains in the soak area to complete traveled work from Global Aeronautica.
When final body join gets underway, the aft fuselage, which arrived 95% complete with major systems and wiring install and free of fastener issues will be mated to the center fuselage, horizontal and vertical stabilizers.
In addition, the GENx tailored pylons for Dreamliner Five have arrived in Everett and have been mated to the wings to push forward on completing integration in preparation for final body join expected later this week.Building 40-26
is beginning to get crowded with all four assembly positions filled and two sets of wings in the pre-integration position, the first time this has happened. The wings for the final flight test aircraft
, number six, arrived on January 16th the first set to arrive fully painted and with virtually completed structure. ZA002
Back in Building 40-26, work on Dreamliner Two
, which is the closest aircraft to the football field sized doors, primarily centers around completion of fastener replacement and preparations for power on. The aircraft received its Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines two weeks ago and has all its flap assemblies installed.
Ground vibration testing, a milestone that must be accomplished prior to Dreamliner One's first flight, is now targeted for the second half of March. ZA003 & ZA004Sitting behind
Dreamliner Two, the 787 test aircraft run sequentially. Dreamliner Three
has had its pylons reinstalled and is now sitting on its own landing gear, newly used in the last few weeks during the January 2nd line move. Dreamliner Four is undergoing preparation for landing gear installation and remains the lowest priority amongst the five flight test aircraft currently being prepared for flight.Image courtesy Liz Matzelle