Boeing’s vice president of sales Randy Tinseth wrote in his blog last week that modification work on the wing join of the first Boeing 787 is currently underway.
“Modifications are indeed underway. We’ve begun installing the reinforcements on the area within the side-of-body section on Airplane #1 and on the static airframe,” Tinseth wrote.
The first 787, ZA001, is receiving its modification in the Boeing paint hangar, while ZA002 is under a temporary structure on the flightline at Everett, ZA003 and ZA005 are in open space in the factory while ZA004 and ZA006 are in Boeing’s hangar temporarily leased from Aviation Technical Services. Modification work is also being conducted on the full-scale fatigue test airframe, which is where the side of body join issue was first identified. According to some sources, the fix will take approximately 30 days to complete, with the whole process (including preparation and installation) to take about three months for each aircraft requiring it.
According to Boeing’s current schedule, the 787 is due to fly before the end of the year, with most analysts expecting this to occur in either November or December. Delivery of the first aircraft is due in the fourth quarter of 2010.
Meanwhile, Boeing has opened the possibility that the 787 and 747-8 could conduct their flight test and certification programs simultaneously after the company ‘decoupled’ the two programs, meaning each program now has its own resource allocations. While this has led to speculation that the two aircraft may even have their first flights on the same day, Boeing says that it is not its intention to fly the aircraft together.