Where are they now ? No 435. Boeing 787 Dreamliner . Is it a bird ? Is it a non - conforming plane ....
The Boeing Co.'s 787 Dreamliner is noe expected to fly for the first time in Q2 2009 - but don't hold your breath. )Maiden commercial flight was originally planned August / September 2007)
If it does fly , it will incorporate the novel (and probably unique) engineering feature that (by design ) some pieces of this elaborate composite flying sandwich will by held together with ;
1. Er ....temporary fasteners.
2. Er .... improperly installed fasteners.
Boeing announced yesterday that hunting down, finding, replacing, checking nonconforming fasteners (Boeing are giving no numbers) in the six flight test planes will introduce even further delays that they cannot accept.
They assure customers and future pasengers , "will be replaced, however, before the six planes are eventually refurbished and turned over to customers to carry passengers".
Yvonne Leach, Boeing 787 chief spokeswoman told Lord Patel ona c rackly line out of Seattle yestedray... "The small number of fasteners that won't be replaced are not easy to reach and don't represent a safety of flight issue,"
Apparently they will be able to withstand the cycle of loads for testin, and Boeing is confident the nonconforming fasteners will not be a safety problem during flight tests. ... so that's alright then.
Chairman and Chief Executive Jim McNerney will be announcing Q4 2008 results tommorrow and may make some encouraging noises after the dead silence since early December.
It is known 4 planes are production in Everett and final assembly might begin on No 5 this week - followed later by No 6 . After testing they will all go to San Antonio (well out of the way) , where they will be refurbished and turned over to customers that have ordered them.
The fastener problems were only identified during a key pressurization test on one of the first 787s in Everett, when Boeing engineers discovered that some of the permanent fasteners had been correctly installed improperly by Boeing's partners. Those partners were working with drawings from Boeing engineers, and Boeing has acknowledged the mistake was the result of ambiguous or incomprehensible instructions.
The FAA are fully aware of these problems and have approved the steps that Boeing have taken in deciding to speed up flight testing by using non-conforming bodies.
Fascinating law suits beckon should tests result in problems which involve damage etc to staff, third parties, etc.,