Delay Eats Up Any Margin For Error In Ambitious Cert
The Dreamliner will take a little longer than originally planned
to take to the sky. At a Wednesday press conference, Boeing
confirmed reports that surfaced over the weekend, stating the
company's much-anticipated composite-bodied 787 won't take flight
until mid-November or even December.
As ANN reported, Boeing had
hoped to fly the first 787 sometime between early August and the
end of September. Problems with integrating systems on the advanced
airliner, however, have pushed that timeframe back as much as two
Mike Bair, Boeing's 787 program manager, acknowledged the delay
erases any breathing room the company had to deal with future
problems before the company's targeted May 2008 certification and
"We had a very compressed flight test program that we initially
laid out for the program, with some back-end buffer on it," said
Bair. "We are just eliminating time that we might have had to deal
with anything unexpected that might come up."
Boeing rolled out the first 787 on-time in early July. Analysts
say pressure to meet that deadline -- so Boeing could roll out the
787 on 07/08/07 -- led Boeing to assemble only the shell of the
aircraft, leaving many of its internal systems to be installed
The Seattle Times reported last month issues with the aircraft's
structure, which was partially dismantled after the ceremony for
the July 8 rollout, were to blame for the expected delays. The 787
was disassembled to facilitate the installation of such systems as
electrical wiring, flight deck instrumentation and hydraulic tubing
as well as replacing temporary fasteners with permanent ones.
The fastener replacement is taking much longer than expected,
said the source, and the wiring installation has barely even begun.
First "power on" is still weeks away.
Despite the delay, however, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO
Scott Carson said the program remains on track to meet its May 2008
deadline... as long as no other major problems crop up.
The company will fly an unprecedented six airplanes as part of
the certification and flight test program to meet its accelerated
schedule. Two additional airframes will be used for static