Sat, Feb 16, 2008
First Plane Slated To Fly In Coming Months
Even as final checks are underway to ready the first airplane
for its maiden flight, Boeing announced Friday that final assembly
has begun on the second 787 Dreamliner flight-test airplane.
Loaded snugly into the first position of the 787 production
system, workers in the Everett, WA-based factory can now begin
joining together the fuselage sections and wings. All major joins
take place in this position.
While this is the second of six flight-test airplanes, this
Dreamliner is actually the fourth on the production line. It
follows the two airplanes that will be used for static and fatigue
Perhaps most important of all, Boeing notes vendors have
improved the quality of the parts shipped to Everett for assembly
-- a major sticking point on the first plane, and a large reason
why that aircraft still hasn't taken to the
"We've received significantly less 'traveled work' on this
airplane," said Steve Westby, vice president of 787 Final Assembly
and Change Incorporation. "The degree of completeness of sections
at the partners is significantly better than Airplane #1. Condition
of assembly is much better and we will see continued improvements
on the condition of each assembly shipped. All this helps to bring
us back into alignment with the original design of our production
Boeing adds production is going well on subsequent airplanes,
too, with 21 airplanes currently in various stages of production.
This number includes the static and fatigue airplanes, which will
not be delivered to customers.
Since its launch in April 2004, the 787 Dreamliner has amassed
857 firm orders valued at $144 billion from 56 airlines. The first
787 is slated to take flight by the end of June... close to one
year after the aircraft was rolled out.
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