First modified 787 returns from change incorporation in Texas

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Boeing has completed change incorporation on its first 787 Dreamliner at its Global Services & Support facility in San Antonio, Texas.

The aircraft, Airplane 23 for Japan Airlines, was first ferried to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio on 7 March and returned to Boeing's Everett, Washington facility on 13 November, completing eight months of intensive change incorporation work to bring the aircraft into full certification compliance.

The eight months required to conduct change incorporation illustrates the extensiveness of the required modifications. Boeing executives initially forecast ZA177 would only require "a few months worth of work" and would return to Everett in mid-summer.

With the aircraft now back at Boeing's widebody production base in Everett, Airplane 23 will be repainted with JAL's new colours and fitted with an interior.

Boeing is currently modifying Airplane 29 in San Antonio as well, a GEnx-powered 787 for Air India, along with a majority of the five 747-8F test aircraft.

The airframer's current plan is to modify six 787s in San Antonio, including test aircraft ZA004, ZA005 and ZA006. The sixth aircraft has not yet been identified by Boeing.

The change incorporation process will run through 2013. Boeing called its plan "flexible" and said it could expand based on the need to modify production aircraft.

While in San Antonio, the Airplane 23 underwent extensive changes including wholesale replacement of its environmental control system air-conditioning packs and modification of ducting and baffling in the aircraft's cabin, as well as motor and fan changes related and related software.

Further, modifications were made to the aircraft's flight control system hardware and software, changing out the outboard ailerons, outboard and inboard flaps and flaperons, as well as making changes to the elevator and rudder systems.

The aircraft now features a new wiring configuration, along with the fully certified version of the updated electrical power distribution system that was changed after a November 2010 fire aboard test aircraft ZA002.