Boeing's progress with the second 787 is swiftly overtaking efforts to finish assembly of the first aircraft, increasing the likelihood that Dreamliner 2 will be the first to fly, according to internal programme sources.
"All of Airplane 2 has arrived in Everett and pre-integration work is well under way," wrote Pat Shanahan, 787 vice-president and general manager, in an internal memo obtained by Flight International. "The condition of assembly [COA] of the sections for Airplane 2 is significantly better than the COA for Airplane 1, static and fatigue airframes."
According to the memo, fully complete and stuffed structural sections are expected to arrive from Boeing's supplier partners starting with Airplane 5.
Spirit AeroSystems shipped Section 41, the nose section, on 10 February from Wichita, Kansas to the final assembly line in Everett, Washington. The centre fuselage arrived from Global Aeronautica in Charleston, South Carolina the next day.
Sources inside the 787 programme told Flight International the nose section arrived largely complete, fitted with windows, electronics bays, cargo-handling equipment, windshield wipers, doors, ducting, wiring, insulation, bulkheads and significant flightdeck structure. The section arrived with its radome attached to protect the radar installed underneath.
Spirit chief executive Jeff Turner confirmed the delivery and condition of the completed Section 41 for Airplane 2 last week while speaking at a financial conference in Miami Beach, Florida.
The centre fuselage was delivered with much of the flight-test wiring, forward wing-to-body fairing, doors and air conditioning packs, according to programme staff in Everett and Charleston. The forward Section 43 sports much of the required ducting, wiring and insulation.
The wings for Airplane 2 were delivered in late January and are undergoing pre-integration work before the final body join, according to sources in the factory. Work continues toward installing flight-control surfaces, pylons and wing systems.
The aft fuselage for Airplane 2, produced by Vought Aircraft Industries in Charleston, arrived in mid-January still requiring significant travelled work on the structure, according to sources there. Even with the remaining work on the aft fuselage, they say the structure is the most complete produced by Vought to date.