By Guy Norris in Charleston, Grottaglie & Nagoya
Six aircraft earmarked to be put through their paces
Boeing has revealed its certification flight- and ground-test plans for the 787, which will include six aircraft, four for the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered version and two for the General Electric GEnx-70B1 variant.
The first aircraft off the Everett line will be the flying prototype, with the second destined for duties as the static-test airframe. The third will be the second R-R-powered aircraft, and the fourth will be designated as the fatigue-test aircraft. The subsequent four aircraft will be allocated to flight testing, with two to be R-R and two GE-powered.
The sophisticated ground tests of the aircraft systems in new facilities such as the integrated test vehicle – a combined iron bird, power systems and avionics test laboratory – are also expected to reduce flight-test requirements, Strode adds.
Joint-venture 787 production partners Alenia Aeronautica and Vought, meanwhile, are gearing up to begin assembly at plants in Charleston, South Carolina, as well as Grottaglie and other sites in Italy.
The two companies between them will assemble the bulk of the 787 fuselage, most of which will be integrated by the joint venture company Global Aeronautica, before delivery by Boeing 747LCF (large cargo freighter) to the Everett final assembly site.
|A huge autoclave for 787 production is being completed at Vought|
The Sections 47/48 will be assembled and “pre-stuffed” with systems along one side of the new site, while the centre fuselage parts from Alenia and Japan will be mated in three lines alongside the new building. Vought is nearing completion of the massive autoclave that will be used to cure the 7.3m (24ft)-long, all-composite Section 47 and 4.3m-long Section 48.