After several delays, from striking workers to problems with
787 Dreamliner is expected to take flight for the first time by the end
of June, according to a Boeing spokeswoman.
"The plan is to fly this quarter," says spokeswoman Mary
Hanson. "As we get closer and closer to the actual time, we'll start narrowing
Boeing designated six Dreamliners for flight testing, the
last of which began undergoing final assembly, down to its paint job, late last
month. The planes will fly from Everett,
WA, home of the company's
problems have plagued the project for months, the latest occurring in
December, when a pressurization test on a Dreamliner fuselage revealed a gap
under the heads of thousands of fasteners. The problem, which led Boeing to replace about 8,000 fasteners on 12 planes,
occurred on the floor grid and other structures installed inside the fuselage
where titanium was fastened to carbon
fiber composite. Earlier in the project, the company reported a
shortage of fasteners and some fastener pins that were the incorrect length.
In November, Design
defective nut plates were installed in the company's 737s. Nut plates
are used to fasten wires and other parts to the inside of the fuselage. At the
time, Boeing Spokeswoman Vicki Ray said, "We're replacing them as we find them."
Despite the numerous setbacks, however, Hanson says the plan
is for the 787 Dreamliner to make its maiden voyage before July 1. "We're on
track to meet the plan," she says.