The testing got underway Friday evening and rolled into Saturday morning, according to Aviation Week.
Guy Norris outlined five blocks of testing as part of the first several days of the intermediate gauntlet:
Block One - Dry-run of the B-1 flight. Overnight May 29-30.
Block Two - Re-run of the B-1 flight plus testing of the Common Core System, with a focus on developing the "time stamp" function for systems testing. Afternoon May 30.
Block Three - Propulsion and electrical systems testing. Overnight May 30-31
Block Four - Further testing of electrical, hydraulic, avionics and environmental control systems. Morning May 31.
Block Five - Further Common Core System and flight control system tests. Late May 31.
Boeing say that it still plans for the intermediate gauntlet to last seven days, putting its conclusion around June 4th or 5th.
Prior to Friday's start of the intermediate gauntlet, ZA001 conducted high power engine runs and tests of the flight control surfaces. According to Liz Matzelle, who capture video of the testing, says ZA001 conducted four engine runs during the course of Friday, lasting between three and ten minutes.
I woke up this morning to find some pretty spectacular photographs in my inbox. You'll recognize the plane in the photos, though the angle at which they were taken is a little different that we're used to. The following photos of ZA001 were taken from the traffic pattern over Paine Field yesterday afternoon. They really capture the proportions of the aircraft. So, we've got air-to-ground photos, now all we need are ground-to-air photos. A very special thanks to Igs who generously gave me permission to post these here.
UPDATE 7:56 PM ET: Boeing is spending today on "shop gauntlet work" on ZA001 in preparation for the intermediate gauntlet, now scheduled for tomorrow. In addition, today's early morning engine runs have also moved to tomorrow ahead of the second phase of the gauntlet. As originally planned, the intermediate gauntlet will begin with the B-1 profile flight.
The first 787 was scheduled to undergo multiple engine runs starting in the wee hours of this morning.
Following those engine runs, the flight test team would hold a pre-gauntlet meeting this morning to evaluate the aircraft's readiness for the intermediate gauntlet. If the stamp of approval is given and no further testing is required, the second - and longest - phase of gauntlet testing will get underway in the late morning or middle of the day in Everett.
The early intermediate gauntlet tests will feature a B-1 profile, or simulated first flight of a new aircraft. Earlier this month, Boeing's Integrated Test Vehicle (ITV) also known as ZA000, ran through this simulated flight tests evaluating the systems under multiple failure modes, essentially a run through of the type of testing ZA001 will be subjected to during the intermediate gauntlet.
The ITV tests were run in two blocks, a standard B-1 profile was run on May 6th and a much more challenging failure-laden B-1 simulation on May 9-10th that included failures of the common core system, hydraulics and environmental control and the brake-by-wire systems.
Back in the factory, ZA002 - still parked in Building 40-24 - underwent gear swing tests yesterday evening. In addition, engines are now installed on ZA004 and ZA005, marking two important milestones. First, the final Trent 1000 fitting of flight test aircraft and the first installation of the General Electric GExn-1B engine on a 787 airframe.
With Boeing's revised intermediate gauntlet testing approaching rapidly, potentially as early as today or tomorrow, down from last week's two week estimate, the airframer has offered some clarity about the source of its confidence for its compressed pre-flight testing.
The change is the result of two methodological reevaluations in the approach the company had taken on its road to flying the 787 for the first time.
Boeing says the testing changes stem from:
1. Evaluating what testing can be done concurrently and; 2. Establishing what is a true requirement prior to first flight.
The result, says 787 program vice president and general manager Scott Fancher, is a significantly reduced final gauntlet, originally set for eight days, and an expanded intermediate gauntlet, now running seven days.
"We've actually pulled that to the left," says Fancher of the intermediate gauntlet on May 21st. "Because quite frankly the systems are mature and ready to take it earlier from where we originally planned."
Fancher describes the intermediate gauntlet as much more expansive than the factory gauntlet run last month:
"Here we will operate the aircraft on engines seven days, 24/7 with aircrew on the flight deck simulating ground and flight environments, not just nominal flight profiles but a wide range of off-nominals as well, demonstrating the full robustness and gaining confidence in the robustness of the aircraft."
Boeing declined to specify what testing was being done concurrently, or whether or not it would be conducted amongst groups of systems, or tasks within systems, but the company has found a significant time savings on the road to first flight.
For the "true" requirements prior to first flight, Boeing also declined to elaborate if these were tasks that had no bearing on the aircraft achieving its experimental airworthiness certificate, which is the regulatory stamp of approval before being allowed to fly, making the reshuffling more feasible.
Overall, Boeing's move of ground tests to the flight testing phase appears to point towards opting to add as much extra margin to the front-end of the 8.5 month flight test campaign by completing first flight as early as possible in June.
The testing that has been done, is being done and will be done on the 787 in laboratories and onboard the airplane before it takes flight is more exhaustive than any program in our history.
Each of these tests gives us more and more confidence in the airplane. Our commitment to the safety of every flight - from the first to the last - is unwavering and we will not embark on first flight without having assured ourselves and the regulatory agency that we are ready."
In other 787 news, Spirit Aerosystems loaded up the Dreamlifter yesterday and delivered the first production forward fuselage for ZA100, the first aircraft set for delivery next year to ANA. The Global Aeronautica integrated center fuselage is the last major structural section left to deliver.
French newspaper La Tribune reports this morning that Airbus has thwarted multiple attempts at industrial espionage at its Tianjin A320 facility.
Airbus reportedly foiled in recent months several attempts at
industrial espionage at its plant in Tianjin, which opened its doors in
August 2008, according to our information. The President of Airbus, Tom Enders, has even mentioned several times internally in
Toulouse. According to some sources, it would be theft of patents.
Criminals have gained access to the computer system for Airbus in
Tianjin, gateway access to records of certain patents.
These attempts at intrusion into the secure computer system provides fuel to opponents of the creation last year of an assembly
site for Airbus in China, the first outside Europe. Is the person on Airbus contract
or an outsider? It's a mystery. Tom Enders was reassured in this manner. For him,
the discovery of these attempts proved the successful surveillance systems
established for the plant. However, nothing says that the thieves were making their first attempt or whether others have passed through the net.
"Everything is secure. We have no problems of this type," assures those in Tianjin.
Flight reported last month that Airbus was exploring moving some of its A350 XWB workshare to the facility, but declined to specify what work could be done there. Airbus announced in 2007 it aims to give China 5% of the A350 work.
The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China (COMAC) is currently developing its narrowbody model 919 aircraft in time for a 2014 first flight and 2016 entry into service, seating between 130 and 200 passengers.
Journeys Across Continents Grounded I visited Journeys Across Continents this morning only to find that it was shutdown yesterday. Yellow Herbie, as he's known to his many readers - including this one - was a FO on a Malaysia Airlines 777, and chronicled his crisscrossing the world from the right seat of the twin jet. There's no explanation of why the blog was shutdown or if it'll ever be back, but it will be sorely missed.
A380 Podcast I recorded a podcast this afternoon with Addison Schonland and
Erkan Pinar on the EIS of A380 so far, Erkin and I generally agree it's gone well,
but I pushed back and play devil's advocate on a few different points. Worth
Airbus SAS, the world's largest planemaker, said on May 7
that its net orders plunged 97 percent in the first four months
of 2009 from a year earlier. The Toulouse, France-based unit of
European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. said it lost 19
contracts, including five for its newest A350 long-haul plane.
This was definitely news to me. Mainly because Airbus firmed an order for 5 A350-800s from Kingfisher last month. A typo perhaps?
The Path to First Flight Boeing has updated newairplane.com with some fresh 787 content, including a neat video of some of the many milestones that have brought Boeing to this point. Take a look at the gear swing tests with the full actuation and gear doors. Once an aviation geek, always an aviation geek. In Case You Were Wondering 727 - E1/737-100 - PA099/737-700 - YA001/737-800 - YC001/P-8A - YP001/747-100 - RA001/ 747-8F - RC501/747-8I - RC001/757-200 - NA001/767 - VA001/777-200 - WA001/777-200ER - WB001/777-300 - WB501/777-200LR - WD001/777-300ER - WD501/777F - WF001/787 - ZA001
AJOYAs In the craziness of last week, I neglected to mention that the shortlist for the Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards was announced. A big congratulations to Flight journalists Mary Kirby, Aimee Turner, Niall O'Keeffe and Siva Govindasamy on their nominations! This blogger picked up three in the Breaking News & Air Transport categories. I've tried to link to as many of my fellow nominees as possible. The winners will be announced on June 15th in Paris. Congrats to all my fellow shortlisters!
Air Transport A Flawed Dream by Jon Ostrower, Flight International One Destination by Ian Harbison, GreenSky - Aviation and the Environment The Dream & Nightmare by Geoffrey Thomas, Air Transport World The Perfect Storm by Aimée Turner, Flight International The Real Con-Air by Dino Carrara, Air International
I figure this is another in the unintentionallycontinuingseries of posts about Air France 777s. The latest 777-300ER built for the airline sports the new silver Skyteam livery. The aircraft, F-GZNE, is the fifth to wear the updated livery. A picture of the plane was snapped as it was coming back into the factory for a spot in Building 40-24. Right behind it, you'll notice ZA002 painted in ANA colors as it gets ready to fly about 20 days after ZA001.
Day one of engine testing saw the twin Trent 1000 engines run as high as 80%, with propulsion testing wrapping up around 10:30 PM PT yesterday evening, according to program sources.
In addition, the aircraft underwent further testing of the flight control hydraulics and very-high frequency and high frequency radio checks. Higher power setting runs are on the docket for testing today.
As the program looks ahead to the coming days, Boeing has restructured the road to 787 first flight with significant changes in the intermediate and final gauntlet tests.
Scott Fancher, general manager and vice president of the 787 program, said yesterday at Boeing's annual investor conference:
"In about two weeks, we'll run into what we refer to as the intermediate gauntlet test, similar to the factory gauntlet tests, but much, much more robust. Here we will operate the aircraft on engines seven days, 24/7 with aircrew on the flight deck simulating ground and flight environments, not just nominal flight profiles but a wide range of off-nominals as well, demonstrating the full robustness and gaining confidence in the robustness of the aircraft. From there, we'll go into preflight checks, taxi tests, then into first flight."
"I also want to talk about the seven day intermediate gauntlet test, but to give you a sense for the maturity accelerating on the program originally that seven day gauntlet test was scheduled for not long before first flight. We've actually pulled that to the left, because quite frankly the systems are mature and ready to take it earlier from where we originally planned."
Boeing originally planned an eight-day final gauntlet ahead of preflight checks, but now says:
"Some of the final gauntlet testing has
been moved into intermediate gauntlet tests to help retire risk earlier by
getting through those test sequences."
The company declined to specify the revised duration of the final gauntlet, saying only that "it will be much shorter."
At 9:31 AM Pacific Time at Boeing's Everett facility, the first 787 Dreamliner spooled up and started its twin Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. The white smoke seen in the video is the engine storage oil being burnt off during the initial start.
At the time of the start, Liz Matzelle, who graciously provided the video, was standing at Everett's grassy
knoll, about 2,200 feet from Stall 105 where ZA001 is parked. When
asked about the sound of the engines starting up, Liz remarked that,
"Lights are still on but I'm serious, there's no way to tell if the
engines are running or not."
5:39 PM: Boeing's official release indicates that today marked, "The first all-electric start of a commercial jetliner engine on a commercial jetliner."
Adding that the electrical power used to start the Trent 1000s was drawn from the Hamilton Sundstrand Auxiliary Power System, not an external ground cart.
Boeing says the initial runs lasted about 40 minutes and ran at various power settings to conduct basis systems checks. The flight test "team completed a vibration check and monitored the shutdown logic to ensure it functioned as expected."
3:47 PM: ZA001s engines were restarted around 12 PM PT for higher power engine runs. Liz Matzelle's thought on engine noise: "It was about half as loud as a 747 would be over there, and one quarter as loud as a 777."
1:53 PM: Boeing and Rolls-Royce confirm a successful start of ZA001's engines.
1:45 PM: The engines are now shutdown and the cowlings have been opened again for post-run checks. Guy Norris is reporting that hydraulic tests are scheduled for tomorrow (Friday). Also, here's another shot by Matt Cawby of the engine start from a different angle with Boeing staff lined up in the high-visibility yellow vests watching attentively.
1:31 PM: At the time of the start, Liz Matzelle was standing at Everett's grassy knoll, about 2,200 feet from Stall 105 where ZA001 is parked. When asked about the sound of the engines starting up, Liz remarked that, "Lights are still on but I'm serious, there's no way to tell if the engines are running or not." 12:34 PM: 9:31 AM PT - ZA001 started its Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines for the first time. White smoke was seen coming from the engine as storage oil was burnt off as the engines were spooled up.
11:57 AM: 787 engines were cleared for first start last night, says Fancher. Also says that ZA002 will move to the field shortly, and the center tank will be closed out this week. Power on is approaching for ZA003 and the APU is onboard ZA004 and is near floor closure signaling structural completion and near-term power on.
11:48 AM: Fancher says intermediate gauntlet has moved to the left (sooner) and will last seven days. All systems hardware and software on the aircraft has been elevated to flight status.
11:33 AM: Reports from Everett indicate that the aircraft's engine cowls are now closed up and a firetruck has been moved in position near ZA001 as a standard precautionary measure for any first engine start. In addition, the LED dorsal strobe lights are now activated and blinking. According to a report by KIRO 7 news in Seatte, a Boeing spokesman confirmed that pre-start tests have begun, but workers have not yet run the
Here in Washington, 787 VP and General Manager Scott Fancher is about to present to a group of aerospace industry financial analysts on the status of the program.
Dreamliner One 9:31 AM PT Photo Credit Liz Matzelle
UPDATE 7:35 AM ET: Last night's Braxton Hicks engine "start" had all the ingredients of the real thing. Though the last step, engine ignition, is being held for early this morning in Everett. ZA001's engines were spun up for the first time with fuel flowing to the engine, several sources tell FlightBlogger. The test bore a strong resemblance to engine start, minus the tell-tale cloud of white smoke that would be seen when the storage oil is burnt off. UPDATE 11:12 AM ET: A bit more clarity now on last night's test. The engine spins are referred to as a 'wet motor' test. Essentially, the engine is spin to make sure all the hardware is running smoothly while pumping fuel through the line ensuring that there are no leaks.
Several sources have indicated that the engine start test window opens in Everett beginning at 8:30 AM PT (11:30 AM ET).
This is a developing story and will be updated as information becomes available.
The world is a buzz with news dripping out of the Pacific Northwest as Boeing's first 787 Dreamliner is on the verge of starting its Trent 1000 engines for the first time.
Pre-run tests are scheduled for Thursday morning ahead of engine start that could come as early as this [tomorrow] afternoon depending on the outcome of the tests.
The 'more-electric' architecture of the 787 will start the engines electrically, rather than drawing bleed air for the start. The system replaces pipes and valves for the bleed air system with cables and contactors.
In a very simplified way, the electrical power sources - the tail cone's auxiliary power unit or an external ground car - convert electrical power with two 250 kVA variable frequency starter generators (VFSGs) that sit on gearboxes and act as motors to begin spinning up the engine.
UPDATE 3:35 PM ET: Well, it's not Thursday today. I'll look back on this moment and laugh, but in the meantime, I'll just cringe that I didn't know what day of the week it really was. So, yes, it's Wednesday. However, seeing as I just earned an additional 24-hours on my week, I can safely say that engine start will be in the next 24 hours, with all outward signs pointing to Thursday (real Thursday, unlike fake Thursday - aka Wednesday). ZA001 - Taken 11:51 AM PT: Photo Credit Liz Matzelle
All eyes are on Everett this week with ZA001's arrival on the flight line.
The aircraft appears to be holding to plan right now with with several program sources indicating the first start of the aircraft's twin Rolls-Royce engines could be as little as hours away.
Additional staff from Rolls-Royce are on site in Everett to support the early runs to idle, while program officials are going through final checks and approvals that would give ZA001 the green light.
The weather could be a deciding factor in commencing engine runs today with heavy rain and even hail reported in the area of Paine Field.
When the engines are first started, the protective storage oil inside the engine will burn off creating a cloud of thick white smoke, a regular occurrence for the first run of a new engine.
Photo Credits Liz Matzelle (top) & Lee Karas UPDATE 8:31 AM ET: This page has independently confirmed that ZA001 underwent thrust reverser, APU fire system and ram air turbine (RAT) tests during the day on Tuesday followed by APU runs into the evening. RAT tests weren't initially planned until Thursday, but appear to have been carried out today ahead of the plan.
The forward fuselage for Boeing's first 747-8F - RC501 - made its maiden...er, flight on the evening of May 17th, taking it from the final assembly installation tool in Building 40-23 back over to 40-21/22 forsealing and testing before beginning systems installation in the coming weeks. Photo Credit Boeing
Well, it had occurred to me that over the last several weeks with all my on-the-road reporting, I had forgotten some of the old standbys on this page like Movie Monday. As it is still one of my favorite weekly traditions on this blog, I give you the Dogfights of Desert Storm. Produced by the same people who brought us Dogfights of the Tuskegee Airmen, this History Channel program takes you inside the cockpit of the F-15C during the 1991 Gulf War and Operation Desert Storm.
***Editor's Note: In an effort to maintain the highest possible level of accuracy on this page, I have received additional information that will help clarify the engine start schedule for the week ahead. Thanks for your understanding.
Boeing's first 787 Dreamliner is closing on another major milestone on the road to its maiden flight, with the first start of its twin Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines mounted under the wings of ZA001.
The aircraft will remain at Fuel Dock F-3 for the next several days undergoing final fuel checks, which concludes with a final drainage of the system. Before being moved to the flight line, ZA001 will then receive a flight fuel load, an amount that enables engine and APU tests to be run for a prolonged period of time.
Presuming the current planning remains firm, ZA001 could be moved from the fuel dock to flight line as early the overnight hours of Saturday into Sunday. The sun will rise on Sunday morning with ZA001 parked in Stall 105, where the engines will be started and run at idle power as early as Thursday or Friday in combination with ongoing systems checks.
Each of the Rolls-Royce engines are fitted with two 250kVA generators, a
half megawatt of power for each engine that drive the powerplant start system, and two additional 225kVA
generators attached to the Hamilton Sundstrand APS 5000 auxiliary power
unit in the tail cone.
Dreamliner One's engines came out of the shop in September 2008 as the 15th and 16th Trent 1000s built, and are certified up to 69,800 lbs of thrust.
Early next week, the aircraft will conduct integrated engine systems checks to verify functionality and continue validating the 787s more-electric systems architecture, ahead of first engine start later in the week.
The early engine runs will start at the idle power setting followed by more expanded testing around the end of next week and early into the weekend, including testing at various power settings that will last 24 to 36 hours.
The end of the early engine runs will segue later this month into intermediate gauntlet testing, the second phase of three closed-loop gauntlet tests will again fool ZA001 to believe it is in flight, while putting the aircraft through various failure modes to test deeper levels of system redundancy.
Back in the factory, work continues to prepare the other five flight tests aircraft for the sky. ZA002 returned to the factory on Tuesday evening and is now parked in Building 40-24 for pressurization and additional testing before being moved outside to the flight line by the close of the month.
ZA002, which left the paint hangar May 12, is said to be tracking closely behind ZA001, with as little as 20 days estimated between maiden flights for the first two 787s.
Over on the 747 line in Building 40-22, ZA003 will undergo interior fitting as early this weekend with the installation of wall panels, overhead bins, window surrounds and electrochromatic dimmable windows.
UPDATE 1 4:12 PM: The ZA003 interior fitting will be an initial test installation of the 787 cabin features and not the final installation before joining the flight test program
Looking for that surefire way to get from your superyacht parked on the Mediterranean to your ski house in the Alps?
If this has been a long-standing dilemma for you, Lisa Airplanes believes it may have found your solution.
The all-composite Akoya light sport aircraft, weighing only 661 lbs (300 kg), sports a retractable landing gear with skis for snow and ice landings and unique hydrofoil landing gear, that bear a striking resemblance to shark fins making water landings a reality.
The Akoya is the first offering from the young company and is powered by a single tail-mounted 100hp (0.745kW) Rotax 912 piston engine with a price tag of about €300,000 ($408,195). The engine runs on 95 octane gasoline, rather than traditional 100 octane LL avgas.
The aircraft accommodates two passengers with a range of up to 700 nm (1,300 km) and was first unveiled in 2007, followed by first flight in September of that same year.
Despite the global economic downturn, the product has found itself in a solid position, due to high net-worth individuals not being largely impacted enough to slow luxury purchases, says Benoît Senellart, marketing & communication manager for Lisa.
Senellart adds that Lisa had a fruitful show, with as many as ten new potential customers identified. Lisa will invite these prospective Akoya buyers to the company's Chambery, France facility for comprehensive briefings on the aircraft.
Lisa Airplanes is pressing forward with French and US certification, with first delivery less than a year away in the first quarter of 2010.
The company currently has two test aircraft in its certification campaign, one assigned to ground and the other flight testing.
The aircraft will be first certified with a 1091-lb (495 kg) MTOW as an ultralight in France, then as a light sport aircraft in the US with a higher 1433-lb (650 kg MTOW) for extended range.
By the end of 2010, the Akoya will earn certification under EASA's ELA1 light aircraft classification boosting the MTOW up to 2204 lbs (1000 kg).
Lisa has partnered with Danish Yacht, which offers the aircraft as an accessory to a 125-ft (38 m) long dayboat the with a special aircraft storage platform on the aft of ship, enabled by the folding wings of the 25-foot long Akoya.
To boot, the aircraft also has a built in ballistic recovery system, virtually identical to larger general aviation aircraft like those from Cirrus Design.
The company sees a market for 50 units a year in Europe, Asia and the Middle East and 100 in North and South America.
The aircraft will first be fitted with Dynon avionics and a year later with the Garmin G600 package for the US market.
Lisa expects to produce and deliver 25 Akoyas in 2010, followed by 35 in 2011 and reach a top yearly production rate of 50 in 2011 from its Chambery facility.
The company says that first deliveries in 2010 will be to customers in France, Russia and South Africa.
Yesterday afternoon in Everett, shortly after ZA001 activated its auxiliary power system for the first time, ZA002 emerged freshly painted from Paint Hangar 45-03 wearing the company colors of 787 launch customer Japan's All Nippon Airways.
The aircraft rolled to the fuel dock wearing US test registration N787EX and will be the second 787-8 to fly an estimated three weeks after ZA001 first takes to the sky, says Boeing.
Even though it wears the colors of an airline customer, Dreamliner Two does not currently have a final operator, as the first six flight test aircraft were not taken up by launch customers, preferring to opt for early production aircraft that would have been available earlier.
You'd be hard pressed to find very many half-century old aircraft designs here at EBACE, though the rugged Pilatus PC-6 just celebrated 50 years in the sky.
The PC-6 recorded its maiden sortie 4 May 1959 and Pilatus has seen nearly 1000 airframes built for service all over the planet.
Pilatus hopes to deliver its 1000th PC-6 sometime in 2012, with between 5-10 built per year.
The 963rd PC-6, on display here at the show, will end up in the hands of Kathmandu, Nepal-based Yeti Airlines. Yeti placed an order for two of the type for cargo services, as well as business and tourist flights in the mountainous Himalayan region.
Pilatus says the aircraf's short take off and landing capability makes it ideal for the unfinished airfields, requiring as little as 50 to 100m (164-326 ft) for a take off roll.
After the show, the aircraft will be handed over to Yeti for a ferry marathon flight from Pilatus' nearby Stans facility to Kathmandu, with stops in Italy, Greece, Egypt, United Arab Emirates and Pakistan.
Pilatus customer support manager Thomas Henzi says that Yeti made its final fleet selection after watching two skydivers take a PC-6 above 29,200 feet (8,900 m), abeam with Mt. Everest after departing a nearby rugged airstrip in Shiangboche, Nepal 13,024 feet (3,970 m) above sea level.
Consider this the sequel to Pimp My Dreamliner from NBAA last October. Take a look at John Croft's side-by-side video comparisons of the Dreamliner and XWB here at EBACE. What follows is the conceptual interior rendering and floor plan for the A350-900 XWB Prestige.
Technically it's day one of EBACE 2009 here in Geneva, but it definitely feels like day three for all of us at the show. Sunday was prep day, followed by media day yesterday with non-stop press conferences and briefings. The official hall opening is at 9 AM here and the whole Flight team is getting situated for the busy day ahead.
GENEVA -- When one thinks of parts and spares for an aircraft, an industrial supply chain often comes to mind, though a partnership of several French and Italian companies are very much a part of that supply chain when it comes to serving the discriminating taste of the passengers on board.
Companies Yves Delorme, Griffe and Ercuis & Raynard have combined forces to leverage their respective individual specialties to offer a complimentary product offering aboard VIP aircraft.
Ercuis & Raynaud specialize in flatware, Griffe in glassware, Yves Delorme in linens.
The companies, three of which date back to the middle of the 19th century, have watched their business, which pre-date powered flight, evolve to provide luxury items from for royal palaces to private mega-yachts and now luxury aircraft.
Representatives from the individual companies work with the aircraft interior designers to customize every last inch of the on-board experience, down to the custom embroidery and branding of every item.
All of these products come with specialized product support, just as the mechanical components of the aircraft do as well.
Olivier Damas, director of Yves Delorme Palace, says that customers typically require 6-7 sets of linens, with one set on board, two at the operator's base and four to give sets on routes frequented by the aircraft, with on-demand spares that can be ready in as quickly as days if required.
The ultra-high end products, often thought to be recession proof, saw a slowdown in business over the first quarter of the year, says Camille Barret, decoratrice for Ercuis & Raynaud. Though, she emphasizes that business is now bouncing back to its pre-recession levels.
Barret adds that some items on display at the show are amongst those selected by the operator of the "largest Airbus", suggesting products in the booth could fly aboard the A380 Flying Palace.
***Editor's Note - Periodically throughout the show, Flight journalists go out in the hall to seek out the stories that otherwise wouldn't be told, overshadowed by big announcements. This is an opportunity to take a closer look at lesser seen elements of the big shows. Typically, these items end up in our Flight Evening News, this was an interview I did earlier in the day.
GENEVA -- "Things are a little slow right now," Francois Chazelle, Airbus vice-president of executive and private aviation conceded this morning.
Four-hundred and sixty one miles away, John Leahy, Airbus chief operating officer was conceding a very similar point at Airbus Innovation Days briefing in Hamburg.
"If you had to bet [on 2009 orders], bet lower than 300," said Leahy.
Leahy who serves as Airbus chief salesman, says his order guidance originates from Tom Williams, the company's executive vice president, insisting that he would still be working toward the 300 order target, though more than a third of the way through 2009 the numbers tell of the difficult road ahead.
Airbus currently holds orders for 30 aircraft this year, with 19 cancellations, bringing the net order total for 2009 to 11 aircraft.
The stark drop in both private and commercial orders is indicative of the overall state of the marketplace.
The slow economy has sharply dropped demand for new purchases, both
commercial and private, though airframers are working to offer upgrades
for models already in service, appealing to customer hesitation about
major new purchases.
GENEVA -- Boeing has partnered with Greenpoint Technologies to offer sleeper berths and lounges for 747-8 VIP operators, announcing orders to outfit four aircraft.
The two companies announced orders Monday for the feature for two head-of-state aircraft and two more kits for an additional Middle Eastern client.
The announcement of the partnership and subsequent contracts mark a new birth of life for the novel feature.
The Overhead Space Utilization kit provides up to 807 square feet (75 square meters) with room for as many as 16 sleeper berths or two lounge modules, set above the main cabin in the crown of the aircraft between doors three and five.
The OSU, which was originally marketed by Boeing as the 'SkyLoft' found little interest from airline customers for additional revenue opportunities like premium and economy sleeper berths.
Each of the private 747-8 VIP berths will offer a lie-flat 36"x78" mattress, equivalent to a standard twin bed, as well as a privacy curtain, removable decorative panels and a passenger service unit for calling a flight attendant.
Passengers will be able to access to the OSU area will enter by way of a forward entry staircase at door three, which also accommodates 150 lbs. (67 kg.) worth of additional stowage on the main deck.
The OSU, which will be installed post-production, will be separated from the main deck by removing the main cabin centerline overhead bins. The lower surface of the OSU will be separated from the cabin using a closeout fairing, but provides an attachment point for the modified ceiling and a revised interface for the centerline passenger service units.
When installed, Greenpoint will obtain an addition FAA supplemental type certificate for zero passenger configuration for the aircraft, and later as an "in-flight" only feature once the OSU is provided a passenger occupancy certificate following final completion.
Each lounge unit and berth will be directly connected to the aircraft environmental control systems providing twenty cubic feet per minute of conditioned air per module.
First deliveries are scheduled to take place between 2011 and 2013.
Boeing holds a total of ten orders/deliveries for 747 VIP (3 -400, 7 -8I) aircraft, the first of which will be delivered in the fourth quarter of 2011, following a two aircraft flight test program to certify the world's longest business jet.
GENEVA - Gulfstream announced significant progress on its twin concurrent development programs today, detailing the assembly of the large-cabin G650 and super mid-size G250 business aircraft.
Gulfstream's flagship G650, which is touted to be the world's fastest business jet, is making significant progress structurally with the first fuselage assembled in Savannah, Georgia. The company expects the first set of completed wings to be delivered from Spirit Aerosystems in Tulsa, Oklahoma "in a week or so," says Pres Henne, VP of product development.
In addition, the Rolls-Royce BR725 engines have been podded and Gulfstream has already undertaken "first flight" in the aircraft's simulator and integrated test facility (ITF), which came online earlier this year. In addition to the ITF, Gulfstream has set up an "iron bird" to test the systems integration of the G650 ahead of installation on the first aircraft.
For the smaller G250, which will undergo final assembly in Tel Aviv, Israel, progress has also been swift. Israel Aircraft Industries announced in March that the first G250 fuselage had been mated and Gulfstream announced today that the first wings, also built by Spirit, were shipped to Tel Aviv this past weekend.
The aircraft has undergone its first power on and the G250's flight deck has been "fired up" for the first time, says Henne.
First flight for both the G650 and G250 is expected in the second half of 2009.
Even as progress advances for these new products, Gulfstream, along with the business aviation industry at-large, has faced an onslaught of negative publicity and difficult economic conditions.
The company suffered a particularly bad February with many customer defaults, though there were signs of hope in recent months on the sales side as Gulfstream saw movement in the large-cabin market. CEO Joe Lombardo stressed that one month does not necessarily indicate a trend, though he felt it could signal a bottom to the current negative market conditions.
As a result, Gulfstream has already instituted production cuts, a hiring freeze, layoffs of 1200 employees and furlough of a further 1500. Even under these conditions, the company remains committed to product development, and is "not backing off at all," says Lombardo.
Lombardo was visibly frustrated by the tone of discussion of business aviation calling the recent comments about business aviation by public officials "unfair, unnecessary and irresponsible."
Here in Geneva, the world is looking at EBACE as one of the first opportunities of 2009 to see how the industry's canary is fairing in the proverbial coal mine. Though the largest gathering this year to date is notable not only for what is here at the show, but perhaps more importantly, what's missing.
Recent months have brought us the suspension of programs like the large-cabin Cessna Columbus, suspected cancellation of the mid-size Hawker Beechcraft 450XP and the uncertain status of aircraft companies Grob and Adam, as well as painful cuts in production and staff across the industry.
Perhaps most notably absent, Eclipse Aviation, rightly or wrongly, pushed the industry for more than a decade to create an entirely new class of airplane found in the very-light jet.
Across the industry, development programs - many whose existence was never publicly discussed - have been quietly shelved, with manufacturers opting to batten down the hatches and ride out the storm, rather than invest capital into an uncertain and unsteady marketplace.
Though, for the business jet industry at-large, aircraft manufacturers face an unsustainable competitive landscape. For a moment, imagine a competitive environment where your chief opponent is not your fellow manufacturer's competing product, but your own.
With backlogs shrinking and aircraft utilization numbers thought to be approaching bottom, operators interested in buying an aircraft are finding purchase rates for existing aircraft far more competitive than buying one fresh off a production line. Manufacturers faced with this reality are undercutting their own price structure to bolster backlogs, all the while driving down prices further as supply outstrips demand.
The coal mine - at this point in 2009 - is particularly inhospitable. This week will be very telling.
I'll be reporting from Geneva all week as the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (EBACE) unfolds. As the first major show of the year, EBACE should provide a good gauge of the 'vital signs' of the aerospace industry. 2009 has already been extremely painful, especially for business jet makers, though this week will provide a chance to see how the proverbial canary is fairing in the coal mine.
Though the news won't be limited to just Geneva. There's going to be an enormous amount of aerospace news coming in from across the globe.
Is it possible that the week ahead could be the biggest of 2009 for the aerospace industry? Perhaps even bigger than the Paris Air Show in June? I think so. Here's why:
I'm going to call it this week's wildcard. In the last several months, murmurs about a major change at Vought have been brewing. The company announced its first quarter earnings and the news was less
than stellar. The company finds itself at a crossroads as major
customers in their portfolio planned scaled back production or outright
suspension of new programs.
Lately those murmurs have gotten quite loud, indicating that some kind of announcement could come as early as this coming week. What that change looks like is very much unclear, though the company's commercial and private aircraft portfolio may make it attractive to a large OEM or large supplier. This is one to watch. Airbus On Monday and Tuesday, Airbus will be hosting the technical media in Hamburg for Innovation Days (formerly the Technical Press Briefing) to provide comprehensive updates on the European airframer's product line. Expect major program updates on A350 XWB and A380, as well as what could be some major announcements about performance enhancements for the A320. After Boeing's 737 announcement last week, it is believed that Airbus could respond with its own package of upgrades that could include winglets and other aircraft changes (read:GTF) on for its narrowbody fleet.
Boeing With ZA001 fueled, the week ahead could see the first 787 running under its own power. As progress pushes ahead towards first flight, the auxiliary power unit in the aircraft's tail cone could be spun up for the first time, followed by the twin Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines.
Here in Geneva, there could be some additional movement on the 747-8I front. The first customer is not Lufthansa, but a VIP operator. Is it an industrial mogul of some kind or a government? The answer could shed some additional light on where this new 747 program is headed.
We'll be getting major updates on the G650 and G250
programs which are both just months away from their respective first
flights. All signs point to both programs being on track with major
parts getting ready for final assembly. Also, what does the company have to say about a supersonic
Embraer The Brazilian airframer has brought its first Lineage 1000 here to EBACE and Flight will be [hopefully] getting a close look inside at the custom interior for its first public presentation. We'll also be getting major updates on the Phenom 300 flight test program, as well as the development of Legacy 500 and 450 aircraft.
At the time of roll out (July 8, 2007), Boeing listed 49 customers on the side of ZA001.
According to Bloomberg:
The 25-jet deal was dropped April 30 and had been part of a
group of 42 orders from unidentified customers that now number
17 after today's weekly Web site update, said Jim Proulx, a
Boeing spokesman. He declined to give further details.
11 identified customers hold orders for 25 or more 787s. All of the following are accounted for in Boeing overall 861 order tally on its website:
Air Berlin, Air Canada, Air India, ANA, Continental, Etihad, ILFC, JAL, LAN, QANTAS and Qatar.
On July 28, 2006 - Boeing received an order for 2 787-8s from an Unidentified Customer. That order is now removed from the official count.
On January 14, 2008 - Boeing received an order for 23 787-8s from an Unidentified Customer. That order is now removed from the official count.
What does this tell us?
The customer in question was likely listed on the side of ZA001 at the time of roll out. Let's take a look at those tails:
All the accounted for 25+ customers are highlighted above. In addition, there were two tails that were not immediately recognized and unaccounted for in the official tally as identified customers. One is listed as BPA with a blue tail and the other as LOM with an unidentified logo. Let's take a closer look at that logo.
***Editor's Note - This is the first in a new series tracking the assembly of The Boeing Company's first 747-8 jumbo jet.***
With the center, aft fuselage and empennage sections arriving this weekend in Everett, the early hours of May 8 will see the 747-8's wings joined to the center wing box marking another key step forward for the fifth generation of Boeing's jumbo jet.
By the end of last week, Boeing had moved both 747-8 wings from major assembly to seal and test ahead of tonight's stub join for Airplane 1420.
Once the parts for the major body structure arrive for RC501, as it has been designated, the sections will be built up and then mated to begin the final body join and systems integration process.
The aircraft's forward section is currently in the Final Assembly Integration Tooling in Building 40-23, where it will remain until it is relocated back to 40-22 for the final body join.
Boeing is targeting a mid-summer roll out followed by an early fall first flight for the 747-8 Freighter, according to program sources.
A380 Cuts Production Airbus announced yesterday that it will cut super-jumbo production this year from 18 to 14 and lowered forecasts for 2010 to about 20 deliveries. Interestingly, Airbus has all remaining 13 2009 aircraft deliveries in both their Toulouse and Hamburg final assembly and finishing facilities.
787 Loses 25 More Orders Boeing today revealed an additional 25 cancellations for the 787 Dreamliner. No official word yet on the customer, though early signs say that the 25 were part of a 42 aircraft ordered from unidentified customers, leaving 17 787s on the books.
The loss of 25 additional orders brings the program's 2009 gross cancellation totals to 57, with 49 net cancellations with the inclusion of 8 exercised options by Bahrain's Gulf Air.
747-8 Takes Shape Vought announced today that by this weekend it will have delivered the center and aft fuselage, along with the empennage and floor grids for the 1420th 747, which also happens to be the first 747-8F destined for Cargolux. ...more on Vought This key industry supplier finds itself at a crossroads heading into the 2nd half of 2009 and into 2010. The company is currently transitioning from 747-400 to 747-8 production as deliveries slow to switch the lines over. Vought is a key structural node for much of the industry and finds itself distinctly vulnerable next year as Gulfstream reduces rate on its G450 and G550 products, Airbus holds rate on A330/A340, the C-17 line slows into oblivion and finally Cessna's halting of development on the Columbus.
Vought CEO Elmer Doty once called his company the "riskiest" partner on 787, though the company has gotten its arms around its contribution to the program. However, big questions remain for the Dallas-based supplier about how to survive this downturn that puts the company's exposure to slowing production rates as painful reality and not an existential threat.
General Electric is hoping the 787 flight test program will help to break an impasse with Airbus regarding a second engine option for the A350 XWB.
The US engine-maker sees an opportunity to "restructure discussions" with Airbus on the inclusion of GEnx derived engine for the XWB, once two of Boeing's six 787 flight test aircraft take part in the certification campaign and validate the performance of the powerplant.
Airbus, which has selected the Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engine, built out of the 787's Trent 1000 technology, has always maintained that a second engine was necessary for market reception.
Airbus says that the company is "always interested in exciting new technologies" for its aircraft and has an open line of communication with its engine providers.
GE on the other hand, was reluctant to offer an engine that would compete directly with its GE90 powerplant for the 777. Though the engine maker believes it can still offer a product that can exceed the performance of the Trent 1000, as well as the XWB by extension.
GE says that if reaches a deal to offer the current Boeing 787-optimized GEnx for the A350, it will only power the -800 and -900 variants.
Airbus has always maintained that it wanted a centerline engine for all three variants of its new long range twin though John Leahy, chief operating officer for Airbus, opened the door in 2007 for a GEnx offering on only two of three XWB variants.
"We would look at it if it was a better engine [than the GEnx], that was for the -800 and -900 now with the -1000's coming at a later date," said Leahy.
408 of 483 orders accumulated for the A350 XWB are for the -800 or the -900 variant.
GE's renewed confidence in offering its engine for the A350 XWB stems from plans to reach spec SFC for the 787's GEnx-1B by revising the low pressure (LP) turbine of the engine by adding blades, vanes and nozzles to better guide the air through the engine. The revised LP turbine will be available in time for the first GEnx powered 787 to be delivered next year.
The engine maker had initially removed many of the airfoils for weight reduction, but found the lightweight design lacked the performance promised on the engine. It was widely believed that GE, as well as Rolls-Royce, had missed its SFC targets for the 787.
GE says it benefitted from the delay in the 787 program, using the time to improve durability of the engine combustor to offer a more mature engine at entry into service.
GE plans to build similar improvements into the GEnx-2B that will power the 747-8.
The engine maker will amend the certification of the GEnx-1B engine after flight testing the new LP turbine and combustor on the company's venerable 747-100 test bed.
Further more, GE is not shy about its goals for the GEnx engine and the 787 program, as it aims to exceed Trent 1000 SFC by 2% by 2011 with additional improvements to the GEnx engine.
Rolls-Royce recently acknowledged that its Trent 1000 engines will be within 1% of spec for 787 engines for its Block 4A improvement expected to be introduced early in the 787's production run next year.
As a result, GE hopes to exceed its original target SFC by 1% within a year after GEnx entry into service under the wing of the 787.
Dreamliner One is nearing its first load of Jet A as the aircraft is hooked up to fuel trucks.
ZA001 was seen yesterday hooked up to fuel lines on both the left hand wing primary fuel panel, as well as the right hand wing surge tank and plug door, which is not normally used in service.
Aviation Week reports that, "After some delay Boeing's 787 flight test team now plans to conduct 'fuel pad' testing on ZA001 after midnight on Wednesday." [Early Thursday]
Along with this first load of fuel, Boeing will pump nitrogen into the fuel tanks from an external source to test the valves and piping of the system before conducting a complete fuel inerting system test with internally stored nitrogen, says a source familiar with the test.
The 787 is the first new commercial aircraft to be certified under FAA Part 25 requirements for fuel tank flammability regulations, that were derived after the TWA Flight 800 accident in July 1996. Photo Credit Liz Matzelle
Bernstein Research says ZA100 will be 8% overweight with a 10-15% shortfall in range.
Let's take a look at what that might mean for aircraft performance:
Boeing targeted a Spec Operating Empty Weight of 252,500 lbs for a 787-8 and maximum empty weight of 191,000 lbs at firm configuration, according to the Airbus assessment. 8% over puts the weight between 15,280 and 20,200 lbs over target.
The figure of 20,200 lbs correlates closely to the Airbus Dossier, which cites 21,050 lbs of LN1 maximum empty weight growth since firm configuration. Airbus cited Boeing documents in this estimate. LN1 would be significantly heavier as a result of the significant instrumentation and associated wiring installed for the flight test campaign.
Boeing has confirmed that it is actively seeking to reduce the weight of the 787.
The airframer has never publicly disclosed the actual amount of weight it needs to remove from the aircraft, though ILFC Chief Steven Udvar-Hazy, who has been closely involved in the aircraft design as one of the 787's largest customers, says early aircraft will be overweight.
Airplane 20, which will be delivered to JAL, will be the first major production blockpoint incorporating significant empty weight savings and will see the max. takeoff weight grow to 227.9 tonnes.
According to documents dated April 2008 and obtained by rival Airbus, Boeing has already identified at least 1690 lbs of weight reduction for production aircraft, with up to 4000 lbs potentially available for elimination. If Boeing achieves an additional 4000 lb weight reduction, 787 performance would grow to just above 7,000 NM, per the PianoX assessment.
These weight overruns have the potential to be costly not only for ANA but for Boeing as well. For historical perspective, Boeing's contractual arrangements with United Airlines promised the US carrier up to $500 per pound above contractual weight per year, per aircraft for the 777 program in 1995.
Using the available data from PianoX, analyst and competitor assessments, 787 entry into service performance is tracked between 6,490 and 6,900 NM.
Without aerodynamic data and route proving trials that can only be gained in the upcoming flight test program, many of these range estimates fall within a reasonable, albeit speculative, analysis.
Boeing plans to conduct a final weighing of Airplane Seven once final assembly is completed later this year.
ATW - Boeing responds to skepticism, maintains 787 timeline - May 6, 2009 Regarding performance concerns, the company claimed the 787 will
"meet mission payload commitments to all customers." However, it
conceded that "early airplanes are heavy and [we] are working hard on
implementing weight improvements."
Concerning the Bernstein
report, it said, "the conclusion on range is inaccurate and the 787-8's
range is closer to 8,000 nm. than 7,000 nm." Bernstein's report said it
understood from customers and supplier discussions that the first
production 787s are likely to be roughly 8% overweight, with range
10%-15% less than promised, which translated into a range near 6,900
nm., well below the promised 7,700-8,200 nm. range.
Dreamliner One, which coincidentally is parked next to the 787th Boeing 777, spent Monday preparing for fuel quantity verification tests with some additional fuel tank sealant and electrical resistance checks.
As of publication on Tuesday, ZA001 had not yet begun fueling.
Back in the factory, the first General Electric GEnx engines are being prepped for installation aboard ZA005. The engines arrived on the factory floor Friday afternoon.
ZA002 remains in the paint hangar where it is receiving the colors of 787 launch customer All Nippon Airways, FlightBlogger confirms.
completion of its paint job, the aircraft will return to the factory by mid-month,
two bays down from the 787 line in Building 40-24.
Sunday's departure of Dreamliner One from the paint hangar cleared the way for ZA004,ZA005 and ZA006 to advance one position on the 787's pulsing assembly line, filling the spot vacated by ZA002.
With the first body-join position now clear, ZA100, the first production 787 will be able to begin final assembly once the mid and forward fuselages are delivered from Global Aeronautica and Spirit Aerosystems, respectively.
On the other side of the factory, the final 747-400 (LN1419) left the factory giving ZY998 and ZA003 the chance to advance closer to the football field-sized doors.
Just hours after ZA001 vacated Paint Hangar 45-03 across from Boeing's Everett factory, ZA002 filled the open spot to receive its first coat of paint.
ZA002 completed ground vibration testing late last week, pushing the program ever closer to its first flight by the end of June. There is currently no indication about what colors the flight test aircraft will wear after customers ANA and RAM opted for early production aircraft instead of a block of the first six test 787s.
EVERETT/12:43 PM PT -- Rollout of ZA001 from the paint hangar to the fuel dock is imminent.
1:23 PM PT: ZA001 departed the paint hangar at 1:06 PM Pt for the fuel dock.
1:37 PM PT: First photos.
1:53 PM PT: Dreamliner One and Dreamlifter pose together outdoors. Two years ago, the LCF was responsible for bringing each major structural section to Everett for final assembly This is a developing story and will be updated.
Hey all, been getting a lot of emails about arranging a get together this weekend here in Everett, so here's what I'm thinking. I'm going to be showing up around 1 PM at Everett's grassy knoll on Saturday to do some spotting. If there's enough interest, I say we organize a group to go on the Boeing Factory tour around 2 PM. No need to RSVP, just show up and say hello!
UPDATE: Stuck in good ole Seattle traffic. Will be there by 1:15. Meet inside FoF because of the rain.
Hope you can make it if you'll be in the area tomorrow!
EVERETT -- As
Boeing's 787 takes center stage with its coming first flight, the
company is pushing forward with preparations for the latest edition to the 747 family.
airframer says it has three forward fuselages in various stages of
integration, and the forward section 41 of the first 747-8 Freighter is
farthest along as the aircraft approaches commencement of the final
747 line is home to mostly 787s as of late, with the final 747-400F
closest to the door in the slant position. Further into the factory,
the fatigue test 787 and third test flight aircraft are being competed.
these aircraft are occupying the line, section 41 for the first 747-8F
slated for delivery to Luxembourg's Cargolux, is being held two bays
down in Building 40-23.
has parts for four sets of wings in work as well, with the port wing of
the first aircraft currently being sealed and tested, while the
starboard wing was being completed.
plans to build three 747-8F aircraft to support the flight test
program, which is set to begin in the fourth quarter. First delivery
is scheduled for the third quarter of 2010.
the passenger version of its new jumbo, Boeing will build two 747-8I
aircraft to support certification. The airframer announced April 27th
that it had reached the 25% design release milestone for the aircraft.
A Boeing spokesperson said Thursday that the company expects to be
at 90% design release by the end of 2009.
announced a further delay to the 747-8I program on April 22nd, citing
softening cargo demand and the subsequent postponement of a planned
production ramp up of the new jumbo. The second program delay, pushed
the aircraft's entry into service with a Middle Eastern VIP customer
three-to-six months into the fourth quarter of 2011.
EVERETT -- In no uncertain terms, the push to 787 first flight is on.
When ZA001 was handed over to the flight test team two weeks ago prior to factory gauntlet testing, Boeing changed its
internal classification of the first 787 from 'production status' to
The reclassification doesn't change much for Dreamliner One, but represents the quickening pace and its rapidly approaching maiden flight.
ZA001 is still tucked away in Paint Hangar 45-03, where it has resided since 4:30 AM PT on Monday, across from the world's largest building by volume. Inside, Dreamliner One sits painted in the shades of company blue, standing out prominently against the sterile white and gray metals that define the paint hangar.
Her skin, even after being touched up, shows signs of the punishing structural rework and systems installation that defined the aircraft's almost two years in final assembly that began in May 2007.
While in the paint hangar, ZA001 underwent a comprehensive aqueous wash of its three main fuel tanks. Each tank is split into two sections. For the left and right wing tanks, a forward and aft compartment and right and left compartments for the center tank, giving the 787-8 the ability to carry 33,528 US gallons of Jet A. The aqueous wash removes any debris or residue that could contaminate the fuel system. With the aqueous wash complete, Boeing is going wingtip-to-wingtip sealing up the fuel tanks with oval shaped closeout doors.
Crews are also going nose-to-tailinstalling the last of the bright red flight test wiring, as well as final instrumentation and sensors. Many of the aircraft's access panels and doors are open or removed and the flaps and slats are in the fully extended position for this task. ZA001 is little more than 24-hours away from leaving its temporary home in the paint hangar.
Scott Baumeier, delivery operations leader for the 787 program, says that ZA001 will leave the paint hangar for a trip to the fuel dock Saturday morning.
The F-4 and F-5 fuel docks, just 100-yards away from the paint hangar, will host the next phase of ZA001's march to first flight. Dreamliner One's fuel quantity and gauging system will be calibrated and the loading sequence will be conducted for the first time using the fueling control panel on the underside of the left wing.
Once the aircraft is fueled, ZA001 will start its Hamilton Sundstrand APS 5000 auxiliary power unit and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines for the first time, demonstrating the integrated functionality of the aircraft's power distribution systems as part of the intermediate gauntlet.
The final gauntlet, which will run eight days, is a continuation of the closed-loop ground testing that will put ZA001 through single and multiple failures, injecting faults and demonstrating the second and third-tier protections in the airplane.
Throughout this process, Boeing will continue to work on the aircraft hand-in-hand with engineering tests and required production work to bring the aircraft in full conformity to the design while on the flight line. Once full conformity is met, the FAA will grant an Experimental Flight Certificate to ZA001, a milestone that 787 chief project engineer, Mike Delaney says will take place between three and 10 days before first flight.
After the final gauntlet is completed, ZA001 will begin taxi testing at both low and high speeds to check out the electric braking system and flight control surface effectiveness.
Once Dreamliner One is taxiing under its own power, its maiden flight will be just days away.