Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Closer to Taking FlightBoeing's 787 Dreamliner Closer to Taking Flight
April 7, 2009
After several delays, from striking workers to problems withfasteners, Boeing's787 Dreamliner is expected to take flight for the first time by the endof June, according to a Boeing spokeswoman.
"The plan is to fly this quarter," says spokeswoman MaryHanson. "As we get closer and closer to the actual time, we'll start narrowingthe window."
Boeing designated six Dreamliners for flight testing, thelast of which began undergoing final assembly, down to its paint job, late lastmonth. The planes will fly from Everett, WA, home of the company'sfactory.
Fastenerproblems have plagued the project for months, the latest occurring inDecember, when a pressurization test on a Dreamliner fuselage revealed a gapunder 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 fuselagewhere titanium was fastened to carbonfiber composite. Earlier in the project, the company reported ashortage of fasteners and some fastener pins that were the incorrect length.
In November, DesignNews reporteddefective nut plates were installed in the company's 737s. Nut platesare used to fasten wires and other parts to the inside of the fuselage. At thetime, Boeing Spokeswoman Vicki Ray said, "We're replacing them as we find them."
Despite the numerous setbacks, however, Hanson says the planis for the 787 Dreamliner to make its maiden voyage before July 1. "We're ontrack to meet the plan," she says.
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