Boeing has finished installing reinforcements within the side-of-body fuselage on the first 787 Dreamliner, the company announced last Thursday, and expects to complete the installations on the static test airframe and the second flight-test airplane in the coming soon. The modification entails installing new fittings at 34 stringer locations within the joint where the wing attaches to the fuselage.
“Completing this work is a significant step toward first flight,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “We continue to be pleased with the progress of the team and remain confident the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner will occur before the end of the year.” He said Boeing expects to test the modification on the full-scale static test airframe later this month. “As soon as we confirm the loads are being handled appropriately in the joint, we will complete preflight activities on the airplane,” Fancher added.
Once Boeing finishes the modification on the static test airframe, it will refit it with strain gauges and instrumentation needed for testing. The OEM is restoring doors, systems, seals and fasteners removed from the first airplane to gain access to the affected parts as it prepares the airplane for continued testing on the airplane. It continues to install fittings on the fatigue test airframe and the remaining flight-test airplanes and plans to modify other airplanes “in the weeks ahead.”
“We have a strong and capable team that has performed exceptionally well,” said Fancher. “I’m very pleased with its dedication to meet our commitment to fly before the end of the year.”
After Boeing completely restores airplane Number 1, the flight test team will perform another set of gauntlet and taxi tests. Fancher noted that, with the exception of a single high-speed taxi test, the team has completed all the remaining flight test activities on the first airplane.