Pressure still on as Boeing progresses towards 787 first flight

Washington DC
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Boeing is making progress towards a first flight of the 787 at the end of March, but still faces pressure on its revised schedule. The company has declined to comment on reports that the power-on milestone for Dreamliner One has slipped three weeks.

Citing sources inside the Everett final-assembly plant, Flight affiliate FlightBlogger says Boeing has shifted significant manpower resources to achieve power-on by the end of January.

Declining to confirm or deny the report, Boeing says it is "focused on our milestones for airplane number one and doing everything we can to meet them".

In December, new 787 programme manager Pat Shanahan identified power-on as a critical goal and said he was focused on the milestone "because we can then retire risk around the integration of the airplane[and] our schedule becomes much more predictable".

Flightblogger reports Dreamliner One has been moved to the next assembly station in advance of power-on, allowing the static-test airframe to move forward and clearing the way for the fatigue-test airframe to move out of the wing and body join tooling.

The join tooling will then be available for mating of the major structural assemblies of the second flight-test aircraft, which is expected to begin by the middle of January after arrival of the wings from Mitsubishi in Nagoya and fuselage sections from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita and Global Aeronautica and Vought Aircraft Industries in Charleston.

According to Flightblogger's sources, the components for Dreamliner Two that have arrived at Everett have significantly reduced travelled work, the major issue that forced Boeing to delay the 787's first flight by six months.

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