Boeing revamps 787 wiring, begins structural modifications

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Boeing will introduce a new wiring standard for the 787 to reduce weight, improve maintainability and address a spacing issue between wires, says key supplier Spirit AeroSystems.

From the thirteenth aircraft, structural partners responsible for stuffing aircraft sections will deliver the revised wiring standard known as Net Change 5 (NC5), a consolidation of design changes that represent a minor blockpoint for the programme, says Harold Leslie, Spirit's senior manager for 787 systems integration.

Six bundles were eliminated with the latest NC5 revision, which also resolves issues with the distance of some wires from power feeders and other cables, says Leslie.

The first batch of production 787s - seven through 12 - will have the existing wiring removed and reinstalled to bring the aircraft to the latest NC5 standard, although not before the first flight.

Meanwhile, structural modification work is under way on two 787s ahead of the maiden sortie, planned before the end of the year. The first flight-test 787 (ZA001) along with the static test airframe (ZY997) are undergoing modification to return full static strength to the upper stringers of the structure that joins the wing to the side of body of the aircraft. Boeing says the entire process of preparation, installation and restoration will take about three months.

Following the completion of the installation, Boeing will first analyse the fix on ZY997 through a series of static tests that will validate the design, ultimately clearing ZA001 for flight.

Boeing is set to lose another 10 orders for the 787, with TUI Travel's decision to cancel part of its firm deal for 23 aircraft. However, the agreement will see the European leisure group add purchase rights for 13 787s. "This optimises the flexibility around our long-haul capacity and we expect to receive delivery of the first 787 in early 2012," says TUI.