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reduction exercise for the stretched 787-9 may now be
accompanied by the introduction of hybrid laminar-
ow control (HLFC). is system draws in boundary-
layer air through small perforations in the tailplane and
tail n leading edges to reduce drag by delaying the
onset of turbulent ow.
In September, the 787 flight-test programme
remained busy, according to 787 programme vice-
president and general manager Scott Fancher. "We
continue to be very pleased with the performance of
the airplane. We're de nitely putting it through its
paces, subjecting it to the harshest environments and
conditions to ensure it is ready for revenue ser vice."
Despite this busy schedule, the manufacturer has
remained silent about when formal airworthiness
approval might be received -- a topic on which it had been
reticent at Farnborough in July. During the show, Boeing
had declined to suggest a likely certi cation date for the
troubled project. Vice-president and 787 chief project
engineer Mike Sinnett would not discuss Boeing's latest
estimates for the timing of FAA approval.
Ahead of the announcement of the seventh delay,
Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive
Jim Albaugh conceded at Farnborough that the
company "probably" contracted too much work to
partners before then, mismanaging its outsource
suppliers: "We lost control and, in future, I believe
we will outsource less". n
Test flying the 787 remotely
In early September, Boeing outlined the
programme of remote tests being undertaken by
the five flying 787s.
After several weeks of take-off and landing-
performance test-flights from Edwards Air Force
Base in southern California, the first 787 (ZA001)
had transferred to Roswell Airport in New
Mexico, a location it had used during August for
wet-runway trials and where further work would
include rejected-takeoff operations.
The second 787 was carrying out high-latitude
and cold-weather trials at Keflavik Airport
in Iceland. Boeing had been "watching for
the right weather conditions for some time",
according to 787 Programme Vice-President and
General Manager Scott Fancher. "The team was
happy to see the forecast in Iceland met our
Deployed to Arizona for more than a week of high-
temperature testing, the third 787 was exposed to
temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit
(38 degrees Celsius) when it flew into Yuma.
The fourth aircraft has spent an extended time this
year flying from Victorville in southern California,
where it was used to conduct flight-loads survey trials.
These tests measure the external pressure distributions
on the 787 throughout the flight envelope. This work
was followed by further testing in Glasgow, Montana.
Boeing's Seattle base was the venue for ZA005,
which was being used in September for ice-shape
testing. To verify aircraft performance when the
airframe is subject to ice, artificial ice shapes were
attached to the fifth aircraft's wing leading edges
and those of the tailfin and tailplane. The 787 had
previously been tested in conditions of natural icing.
The Dreamliner's development nightmares
Doubts about the ambitious flight-test programme,
which gave Boeing nine months at most to certificate
the 787, had arisen among industry analysts well
before the original scheduled first flight date.
At major international shows, Boeing found itself
facing detailed questions. During the 2007 Paris air
show, then-Programme Manager Mike Bair insisted
that the company's aspirations were not too high.
Citing Boeing's experience in having successfully
re-worked certification schedules for the 747Large
Cargo Freighter (developed to deliver large 787 sub-
assemblies from partner companies), Bair claimed
that the company had ways of "working around"
any obstacles that might arise. But within weeks, the
manufacturer acknowledged that at the July roll-out
ceremony the first aircraft had been incomplete,
because of a shortage of fasteners and other
Two years later, at the June 2009 Paris show,
expectations remained that the first flight would
take place by the end of the month (the last possible
date to meet Boeing's schedule at the time). Then,
days after the show closed, came the formal
announcement that static testing had revealed a
need for structural reinforcement in the "side-of-
The following key points are taken from a 787-
programme timeline compiled by Reuters:
June 2007-- Boeing said first test flight
(scheduled for late August) might slip to September,
using up the one-month "window" the company
had set that would still allow for May first delivery.
27 July 2007 -- Less than three weeks after
roll-out of the first aircraft, Boeing said the aircraft
was running slightly behind in some areas but the
manufacturer held to the schedule.
September 2007 -- Boeing delayed first
flight by about three months to mid-November/
mid-December because of fastener shortages and
flight-control software considerations. The original
May 2008 delivery target was still retained.
October 2007 -- Boeing revealed a longer
delay, to late March 2008, citing production
problems. The company pushed back first delivery
by about six months.
January 2008 -- A further three-month delay,
attributed to supply and assembly problems, then
delayed the maiden flight to late June, with first
delivery now forecast for early 2009 (about nine
April 2008 -- Boeing re-scheduled first flight to
the last three months of 2008, and first delivery to
2009's third quarter.
November 2008 -- Boeing said first flight
had been delayed into 2009 by the 58-day
production workers' strike.
December 2008 -- First flight was re-set
for April-June 2009, with delivery foreseen in first
quarter of 2010.
August 2009 -- Boeing re-scheduled the first
flight to the end of 2009, with first delivery during
December 15, 2009 -- First flight of the 787.
August 2010 -- Boeing delayed first delivery to
the middle of the first quarter of 2011.
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