First and third 787 test aircraft undergoing stabiliser rework

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Boeing's first and third flight test aircraft, the latter of which is slated to represent the company at the 2010 Farnborough air show, are undergoing rework of their horizontal stabilisers following the discovery of a quality issue that threatened to reduce the fatigue life of the structure, Boeing confirms.

ZA001 and ZA003 are scheduled to be in a planned maintenance layup and the rework is being done concurrently, says Boeing.

ZA003 returned home to Boeing Field, site of the company's 787 flight test centre, on 28 June following remote testing at Pinal Airpark in Marana, Arizona.

Continued inspections on the same day prompted rework on the horizontal stabiliser of what was an expected eight-day process of reworking over-torqued fasteners and structural shims.

Boeing disclosed on 25 June that a workmanship issue on the Alenia Aeronautica-built horizontal stabilisers would require inspections of 25 aircraft and shipsets following the discovery of a improperly installed fasteners and shims during a routine inspection at the airframer's Everett facility.

ZA002, Boeing's second 787 flight test aircraft which wears the colours of launch customer All Nippon Airways, is on reserve for the mid-July air show in case ZA003 is not out of rework in time for the show.

However, Boeing estimates that the ZA003 will complete the rework by 9 July, eight days before the aircraft is set to depart Boeing Field for Farnborough Airport in the UK on 17 July.

Meanwhile, ZA004 kicked off its flight loads survey today from Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville, California after nearly a month of being outfitted with new instrumentation that will measure and compare the loads on the aircraft's structure against design expectations.

ZA005 is undergoing flutter testing which began on 2 July to evaluate the airframe engine combination of the GEnx-1B engine.

Boeing aims to complete certification and first delivery of the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787 by year's end.