747 Dreamlifter to fly Alenia-built fuselage sections for integration with other components at Charleston plant
The first shipset of Alenia Aeronautica-built fuselage sections for the Boeing 787 was due to be flown this week from the Grottaglie assembly site in Italy to the Global Aeronautica Alenia Vought joint venture site in Charleston, South Carolina - a major milestone towards completion of the first aircraft. (click here to read everything about the Boeing 787)The shipset will consist of the 10.1m (33.1ft)-long centre-aft fuselage Section 46 and 8.5m-long mid-Section 44, which together make up about 60% of the main fuselage subassembly. They will be flown by 747LCF Dreamlifter to Charleston, where they will be integrated with the 6.1m-long Kawasaki Heavy Industries-built forward fuselage Section 43, and Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI) centre wing box and fuselage Section 11/45. These sections have already been shipped to the US site.
Spirit AeroSystems has completed initial assembly of the first Section 41 nose and front fuselage
The Italian-assembled horizontal stabilisers, which were the subject of a minor design revision late last year following bird strike tests, include Israel Aerospace Industries-made trailing- and leading-edges and Turkish Aerospace Industries-made body seal sections. The entire assembly will also be flown by Dreamlifter to the Everett final assembly line, usually via a pick-up flight to Charleston.
Vought is completing the first 11.6m aft fuselage Sections 47/48 at its newly completed Charleston site. This will be used to join the first seven fuselages before the work moves permanently into the adjacent Global Aeronautica building. The completed fuselage is widely expected to be flown to Everett in, or by, early April.
Hamilton Sundstrand is carrying out cold weather tests on the 787's APU
Spirit AeroSystems has completed initial assembly of the first Section 41 nose and front fuselage at its Wichita, Kansas plant. These will be flown as a separate payload to Everett. The initial shipset lacks some of the systems that will be fitted on the line at Boeing for the first aircraft. Subsequent aircraft are expected to be increasingly "pre-stuffed" with systems at Wichita.
Saab recently delivered the first of seven doors it produces for the 787 to Spirit in Wichita. The crew escape hatch is one of four access doors that are part of each shipset, which also includes two large cargo doors and a bulk cargo door.
The delayed flight test and certification effort for the Dreamlifter continues with autopilot tests of the first aircraft, RT876, and flight tests in Taiwan and Japan on the second large cargo freighter.
Despite the delays, Boeing says the US Federal Aviation Administration has agreed to allow payloads to be carried before official certification. "We've kept the FAA tied in throughout the flight- test programme and certification process, and they have agreed to allow us to deliver parts under an experimental ticket until certification," it says. "While certification is later than we had targeted, there is no impact on the 787 schedule." Certification of the Dreamlifter is not now expected until April.
Tests of the Hamilton Sundstrand APS5000 auxiliary power unit (APU) for the 787 are reaching a peak, with one engine undergoing cold weather tests at Fairbanks, Alaska. "We have nine engines dedicated to our combined development, qualification and certification test campaign," says Boeing. "Eight of the nine have been built and used in some way for collecting data. We are working to complete all certification tests by mid-2007. After this, some of the engines will continue on with additional 'lead-the-fleet' endurance and systems related testing."
Source: Flight International