Boeing has cleared the 787-10 to transition from detailed design to the manufacturing and assembly stage ahead of schedule.

The third and largest member of the 787 family passed the detailed design milestone, allowing Boeing to release parts and tooling information to machinists and suppliers.

Boeing now “looks forward to production”, says 787 Airplane Development vice-president Ken Sanger, in a statement.

First flight of the 787-10 is scheduled in 2017, followed by entry-into-service a year later.

The business case for the 787-10 emerged years after Boeing had the 787-8 and 787-9 already on the drawing boards. Boeing saw a need for an aircraft that could serve high-density routes up to 6,430nm, including routes within China and from the Middle East to Asia and Europe.

The 787-10 emerged in 2013 with about 1,200nm less range than a 787-9, but sharing the same maximum takeoff weight while carrying around 40 more passengers.

In addition to a common weight rating, the 787-10 would also be made as common as possible with the 787-9, with Boeing targeting 95% matching part numbers.

The company even authorised a software change to the flight controls to avoid having to change the size of the horizontal stabilisers, despite a 5.27m (18ft) stretch to the fuselage.

But the additional length of the 787-10 caused Boeing to make some major adjustments, including inserting a 777-style semi-levered landing gear.

The market for the 787-10 has developed over 2.5 years. It now includes 164 firm orders by nine customers.

The aircraft is powered by 76,000lb-thrust versions of the GE Aviation GEnx-1B and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000.

The available thrust of the 787-10 emerged as a concern earlier this year by Emirates Airline. Tim Clark, Emirates chief executive, is evaluating the 787-10 against the A350-900, which is powered by an 84,000lb-thrust R-R Trent XWB engine.

Clark initially worried that the 787-10 lacked sufficient power to carry a maximum payload on the hottest days in Dubai, but has recently said the aircraft’s thrust levels are acceptable for routes up to 8.5h.

Source: Cirium Dashboard