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787 nears critical power-on milestone

Boeing is on course to achieve the 787's crucial power-on milestone by the end of June, but programme sources say Dreamliner general manager Pat Shanahan's mid-May prediction of a "photo finish" remains apt, reports Flight affiliate FlightBlogger.

The pace of work to prepare the 787 prototype for flight is "tracking closely to, or narrowly behind, where it needs to be, though major progress for Dreamliner One has picked up in recent weeks", says FlightBlogger, citing sources familiar with the latest production schedule.

David Hess, president of Hamilton Sundstrand, said last week that the "power-on software is done and delivered, [Boeing's] got 100% of the hardware and software they need for power on. I fully expect [Boeing] to achieve that milestone by the end of the month."

787 cockpit

Hamilton Sundstrand's "full-up red label" power-on software build was delivered to Boeing on 28 May, along with the first "blue label" safety of flight software for lab testing.

The power-on software is intended for use in ground testing and does not require equipment such as the engines to be installed. Hamilton Sundstrand expects further changes to the safety of flight software as it matures in preparation for first flight. The next iteration of the safety of flight software is due to be delivered to Boeing in the next 30 days.

"A month ago Boeing was pretty uncomfortable with the risk levels as they looked at our schedules as to what we had to get done," says Hess. "Not that we were delaying the programme, but if they look out ahead of us, they had some concerns in terms of the risk levels and the amount of software work we had to complete in the coming months.

"Now we've since had reviews with them, shown them schedules, and I think they're, and I wouldn't say comfortable, but I think we've shown them a plan that supports their programme and we're executing the plan."

As the 787 continues on its path to power-on, other assembly milestones are being accomplished at Boeing's Everett factory near Seattle. Sources say Dreamliner One has recently received its flightdeck, including its five 15in (380mm) liquid crystal displays, electronic flight bags, overhead panel, and bulkhead. The source adds that the flightdeck is "basically complete minus the chairs".

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