Boeing today confirmed that installation of reinforcements within the side-of-body section on the 787 is complete.

The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the join where the wing attaches to the fuselage.

On 23 June Boeing announced its discovery that the upper stringers of the wing-to-body join were not strong enough to meet FAA certification requirements for static strength, which pushed first flight beyond a previously-targeted date for the close of the second quarter.

Boeing now says it expects to complete the installation on the static test airframe and the second fight-test aircraft in the coming days.

"Completing this work is a significant step toward first flight. We continue to be pleased with the progress of the team and remain confident the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner will occur before the end of the year," says Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "We will test the modification on the full-scale static test airframe later this month. As soon as we confirm the loads are being handled appropriately in the joint we will complete preflight activities on the airplane."

Once Boeing completes the modification on the static test airframe, the aircraft will be refitted with strain gauges and instrumentation required for testing. Additionally, access doors, systems, seals and fasteners removed from airplane one to provide access for the wing-to-body join fix are being restored to prepare for continued testing on the aircraft.

Boeing says it is continuing to install the fittings on the fatigue test airframe and the remaining flight test aircraft.

Once aircraft one is restored the flight test team plans to conclude another set of gauntlet and taxi tests to ensure the systems are ready for flight.

ATI first reported on 11 November that the wing fix was complete, and test schedules show a first flight target of late December.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news