Process Expected To Be Complete By End Of Month
It's a major step towards the first flight of Boeing's 787
Dreamliner... even if it is a year late.
This week, Boeing flipped the first switch sending electrical
power to the composite-bodied aircraft. The planemaker expects to
have the aircraft fully powered-on by the end of the month.
"We did put power on to the airplane for the first time
[Wednesday]," Boeing spokeswoman Yvonne Leach told Reuters. "It
gives us confidence that we'll have that milestone completed by the
end of the month."
The power-on marks the start of tests of the plane's cockpit and
cabin systems. Perhaps just as important, it also marks the
beginning of the first public milestone to be accomplished in the
As ANN reported, Boeing
debuted the first 787 in a flashy public ceremony last July. At
that time, however, the plane was little more than a
cobbled-together shell, with few major systems installed. Customers
and pundits alike questioned whether Boeing would be able to meet
its ambitious schedule, which called for certification of the first
787 delivery by May 2008.
Boeing boldly downplayed those fears... but if anything, those
predictions of gloom were optimistic. Supplier issues, a shortage
of the specialized fasteners needed to assemble the 787's
innovative composite "barrel" sections, and problems integrating
the plane's many complex subsystems made Boeing's earlier
Dreamliner assertions a true nightmare.
In April, Boeing announced its third delay to the Dreamliner
program... pushing off first flight to the end of 2008 and
"approximately" 25 deliveries the year after, starting in the third
quarter of 2009. For the moment, Boeing is sticking to that
Ground tests will begin soon after full power-on is
accomplished, and Boeing still says the first 787 flight will take
place in the fourth quarter of this year.