Boeing today celebrated the opening of a new 787 vertical-fin assembly line at its production facility in Salt Lake City. Operated by Boeing Fabrication, the site will construct the composite, vertical-fin assemblies for 787 Dreamliners built at Boeing’s new plant in Charleston, S.C. The company expects to start production in Charleston next month.
Boeing Everett Factory
The fifth Boeing 747-8 Freighter took to the air for the first time today from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The airplane, dubbed RC523, flew for three-and-a-half hours, during which time it conducted the standard two-and-a-half-hour “B1” flight profile that Boeing conducts on all production airplanes before delivery, as well as an hour of engineering testing.
The newest Boeing 787–designated ZA102–flew for the first time yesterday, a Boeing spokesperson confirmed. The airplane took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 3:53 p.m. local time and landed just over an hour later at the same location, per plan. ZA102 will serve as a temporary member of the flight-test fleet, tasked with helping to demonstrate 787 extended twin-engine operations (Etops) and complete function-and-reliability testing.
A day after resuming certification flight testing on the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing announced this morning that it expects delivery of the first production airplane to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of this year.
After another year tainted by the continuing public relations disaster known as the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing Commercial Airplanes must have taken some solace from impressive sales and delivery tallies for 2010. The company posted net orders for 530 commercial airplanes during the year, compared with its anemic net total of 142 for the 2009 calendar year.
While Boeing continues its investigation into last week’s in-flight fire aboard the second 787 flight test airplane, the company has established a plan to fly two other aircraft, ZA001 and ZA005, back to Seattle from Rapid City, S.D., and Victorville, Calif. Boeing grounded all six of its flight-test articles immediately after the November 9 incident involving ZA002.
The sixth and final Boeing 787 to join the flight test fleet flew for the first time earlier this month from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The airplane, ZA006, landed at Seattle’s Boeing Field as planned, but two hours earlier than expected.
It didn’t take special insight to guess that Boeing wouldn’t meet its year-end target to certify and deliver the first 747-8 Freighter. Company executives certainly sent enough signals over the summer to clue in the most casual observer to the fact that, indeed, the program appeared bound to suffer yet another delay.
Boeing has chosen North Charleston, S.C., as the location for its new 787 Dreamliner interiors fabrication facility, the company announced today. Boeing said it will buy land from Stone Mountain Industrial Park and begin construction in the fourth quarter of this year.
Boeing has begun accepting delivery of major structural parts again for the 787 and plans to begin joining all the sections of the 23rd Dreamliner next Monday. The company had suspended delivery of incomplete sections for the 23rd and 24th Dreamliners in late April to help the suppliers cope with parts shortages and other “difficulties.”