November 12: Boeing says that it has completed the structural modifications needed to the wing roots of its first flight-test 787 Dreamliner, deemed necessary after cracks were found during intensive fatigue testing of the airframe.
The modification entailed installing new fittings at 34 ‘stringer’ locations within the joint where the wing is attached to the fuselage.
“Completing this work is a significant step toward first flight,” said Scott Fancher, Vice President and general manager of the 787 programme. “We will test the modification on the full-scale static test airframe later this month. As soon as we confirm the loads are being handled appropriately in the joint we will complete pre-flight activities on the airplane – we remain confident the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner will occur before the end of the year.”
The flight-test team will perform another set of ‘gauntlet’ and taxi tests to ensure that all systems are ready for flight. With the exception of a single high-speed taxi test, all remaining first flight activities have been successfully completed on the first flight test aircraft.