Boeing development programmes move toward certification

Washington DC
Source:
This story is sourced from Pro
See more Pro news »

Boeing's two primary commercial development programmes are progressing toward final US Federal Aviation Administration certification as Boeing maintains its plans to deliver 25 to 40 747-8 and 787 aircraft in 2011.

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney says 95% of flight test points have been completed on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787 fleet for FAA certification, along with 75% for the General Electric GEnx-1B models.

"The significant high-risk test conditions have been retired," says McNerney. "The remaining flight test points consist primarily of function and reliability and [extended twin-engine operations] ETOPS. Our internal testing has validated the majority of the remaining flight test conditions, and we are working closely with the FAA as these final test points are completed for certification."

McNerney's comments came during the company's first quarter 2011 earnings call on 27 April.

Further, the company's 747-8 freighter is approximately 75% through its certification test points, having recently completed its flight loads survey and flutter certification. Boeing previously validated of the outboard aileron modal suppression system that dampens out a natural vibration in the aircraft's wing.

McNerney says remaining tests are mostly stability and control and system functionality and reliability testing.

Additionally, the 747-8 Intercontinental, which began its flight test campaign on 20 March was joined by a second test aircraft on 26 April.

First delivery of the 747-8F to Cargolux is due in the middle of year, while the first 787 is set for delivery to Japan's All Nippon Airways in the third quarter.

McNerney emphasises that Boeing is "very confident on our delivery guidance" and the scope of significantly reworking 787 with the final certified configuration is "well defined".

The work will be conducted on-site in Everett at the leased Aviation Technical Services Hangar 3, as well as at the company's Global Services & Support facility San Antonio, Texas.

Thirty-five production 787s are in various states of assembly at the company's Everett factory, along with one aircraft, Airplane 23, in Texas.

"We have literally set up a second production area with stations where we standardize work on each of the airplanes," says McNerney of the newly expanded ATS facility.

While the extensive rework operation is underway, he adds that the early deliveries "will be a mix of planes that have been in the factory for a while and newer planes that have arrived more recently that have a far better condition of assembly."

Currently Hangar 3 is hosting Airplane Seven, Eight, Nine, 24 and 31, all destined for 787 launch customer ANA.

Starting in May the 747-8 test fleet will be refurbished in San Antonio as well, prior to delivery.