Boeing’s announcement of the 787 Dreamliner’s type certification came with hesitant responses about further schedules or dates from both the company’s CEO of commercial airplanes and the head of the 787 program.
Boeing Everett Factory
Boeing confirmed today that it completed all flight tests required for type certification of the Rolls-Royce-powered 787-8 Dreamliner this past weekend. ZA102, the ninth 787 built by Boeing, performed the final flight on Saturday, August 13. Chief pilot Mike Carriker returned ZA102 to its home base at Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 1:58 p.m.
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.
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.