The nose section is expected to be flown to Everett "within a couple of weeks" aboard the Boeing 747LCF Dreamlifter, says the company. The initial production unit will be followed by the static test nose section. Subsequent deliveries will also include the fatigue test specimen, also nearing completion.
"Together with the static and fatigue units we have seven in the line right now," says Spirit 787 Section 41 factory director Forrest Urban. The sixth production section is meanwhile just entering "lay up", in which the automated tape machines begin winding the composite tape around the mandril to begin the assembly process.
For the first time on any Wichita-built unit, the section also incorporates the nose landing gear as well as tubes and ducting for several systems. Forthcoming deliveries will also include avionics in the forward electronic equipment bay, although Spirit declines to say when these fully "pre-stuffed" shipments will begin. The sections also include pre-loaded cabin floors and related systems.
Design details revealed at the roll-out include the domed forward bulkhead. The structure, made from aluminium, "was designed to save weight, and is shaped to be more absorbent" and "act like a trampoline" in the event of a birdstrike, says John Pilla, Spirit's vice-president and general manager 787.
The Wichita-built nose section incorporates the nose landing gear
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Source: Flight International