The eagerly anticipated arrival of the 787 Dreamliner here at Farnborough yesterday is a major boost to the troubled program’s credibility. If seeing is believing, this first opportunity for much of the global air transport industry to examine the 787 should bolster belief that the twinjet is just months away from entering commercial service– even though this key milestone is set to slip for a seventh time from late this year into 2011.
The Boeing 787-3 program appears all but dead after Boeing vice president of marketing Randy Tinseth yesterday expressed grave doubts about the market viability of the short-range version of the present 787-8. “This is an airplane that is designed for the Japanese market. We have no Japanese customers. We have no customers for it at all,” said Tinseth. “I would find it far fetched to believe that we’ll proceed with that airplane.”
With the first flight of its mold-breaking 787 Dreamliner finally accomplished, Boeing now will attempt the Herculean task of finishing flight testing and obtaining certification by the end of next year. Only the weather marred the first flight of the first 787 (ZA001) on December 15, forcing test pilots Mike Carriker and Randy Neville to cut the planned four-hour mission to three hours.
Gen. Jack Dailey hefted the comically oversized scissors to approach the ribbon. Hundreds waited to pass metal detectors for the December 15 opening of the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. After a mock slice for the cameras, Dailey reached for real scissors to snip a new era at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM).