Dreamliner, which is expected to take flight for the first time by the
end of June, has moved to the flight line and fuel testing will begin in the
next few days.
The first 787, designated ZA001, recently completed a series
of tests, including build verification tests, structures and systems
integration tests, landing gear swings and factory gauntlet, which is the full
simulation of the first flight using the actual airplane. The simulation tests
all flight controls, hardware and software, and also includes manual and
automatic landings and several subsequent ground tests. It will undergo
additional power and systems tests, engine runs and high-speed taxi tests prior
to its first flight.
"We are making great progress and moving ever-closer to
first flight," Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787
Dreamliner program, said in a press release. "These results give us
confidence in our ability to move into further gauntlet testing using either
ground power or the airplane's engines or auxiliary power unit. This is a
significant milestone on the path to first flight."
According to the company, all structural tests required on
the static airframe prior to first flight were completed in April, when the
wing and trailing edges were subjected to their limit load - the highest loads
that are expected to be seen when the plane is in service. The load is about
the same as the airplane experiencing 2.5 times the force of gravity.
"We continue to analyze the data, but the initial results
are positive," Fancher said.
Ground vibration testing, which measures the airplane's
response to flutter, also concluded on the second flight-test Dreamliner,
designated ZA002, last week, the company says.
Boeing last week also announced it will overhaul its 737, making it
more fuel efficient and closer in design to the company's 787 Dreamliner.
The 737 Boeing
Sky Interior features new, 787-inspired modern sculpted sidewalls, overhead
mood lighting and wider windows. The sidewall design integrates an air vent,
making preflight security checks easier and quicker for maintenance staff. The
vent, along with improved noise-dampening materials, make the cabin quieter,
according to Boeing.
The new 737 design also offers larger, pivoting overhead
storage bins, which give passengers more room to store carry-on luggage and
added leg room.
Boeing also says it redesigned reading light switches so
passengers can find them more easily without accidentally pressing the flight
attendant call button, and new overhead speakers improve the sound and clarity
of announcements from the flight crew.
With airframe and engine improvements, Boeing is targeting a
2 percent reduction in fuel consumption by the time the first redesigned 737 enters
service in 2011, according to the company. Structural improvements will reduce
drag on the plane, which is expected to cut fuel use by 1 percent. Boeing says
its engine partner, CFM, is contributing the other 1 percent fuel savings
through hardware changes to the engine. CFM officials say the CFM56-7B
Evolution engine will also equal an almost 2 percent reduction in carbon
Changes to the engine include using advanced computer codes
and 3-D design techniques to improve airfoils in the high- and low-pressure
turbines to improve engine performance, according to a press release issued by
Seven airlines, including Continental, will be the first to
incorporate the 737 Boeing Sky Interior into their. Other airlines are
FlyDubai, Norwegian Air Shuttle ADA, Malaysia Airlines, TUI Travel PLC, GOL
Airlines and Lion Air.
The company has received orders for 886 airplanes from 57