Sat, Dec 12, 2009
First Flight "Window" Opens December 15th
Boeing completed the review and analysis of the static test that
was conducted Nov. 30 on Thursday, validating the side-of-body
modification made to the 787 Dreamliner. "I am happy to report that
the program has validated the airplane structure for the 787
Dreamliner," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager
of the 787 program.
Fancher also reported that the 787 team has completed final
gauntlet testing on the first airplane. Testing lasted for just two
days because only improvements made earlier this year during
previous testing had to be examined. "We are very pleased with the
results of this final functional testing. With the successful
completion of static testing and this functional testing, our focus
now moves to first flight."
During the test on the 787 Dreamliner static test airframe, the
wing and trailing edges of the airframe were subjected to their
limit load -- the highest loads expected to be seen in service. The
limit-load test was required to clear the airplane for first
flight. Boeing's test strategy is to conduct all limit-load tests
and analyze data before conducting the ultimate load series, which
is required for certification and will be conducted next year.
Boeing announced June 23 that it was necessary to reinforce an
area of structure at the side-of-body section of the 787. The
modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer
locations within the joint where the wing attaches to the fuselage.
The 787 team has completed modifications on the first three
flight-test airplanes and the full-scale static test airplane.
First flight of the 787 Dreamliner is expected to occur after
final flight readiness reviews, receipt of documentation from the
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and taxi testing. Both taxi
testing and first flight are subject to weather conditions.
"We are pleased with the pace of progress in preparing to enter
our flight test program," said Fancher.
So we know what you're thinking. "Just go fly the darn thing
already!" Well, Boeing says on it's website that the "window" for
the first flight opens on December 15th. "This date is dependent on
final internal reviews, taxi tests and receiving the final
experimental ticket from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration,"
the company said in a media notice.
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