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Industry News
Boeing’s 787 enters final phase of flight testing

The Boeing Co. has completed extended operations (ETOPS) demonstrations on the 787 Dreamliner (seen here on the line at Boeing’s final assembly plant in Everett, Wash.), a significant step in its 300-hour Function & Reliability (F&R) testing.

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Posted on: 8/23/2011
High-Performance Composites

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787 assembly

Boeing 787 assembly line, Everett, Wash., USA. (Source: Boeing)

The Boeing Co. (Chicago. Ill.) reported on Aug. 2 that it had completed extended operations (ETOPS) demonstrations on the 787 Dreamliner (seen here on the line at Boeing’s final assembly plant in Everett, Wash.), a significant step in its 300-hour Function & Reliability (F&R) testing. F&R testing simulates various normal and abnormal operations for the airplane in a realistic, airline-like flight environment, and is the final phase of flight testing prior to type certification of the airplane with Rolls-Royce engines. ETOPS demonstrations for twin jets include flights that are more than 60 minutes away from a suitable landing field. During ETOPS demonstrations, the company validates the airplane’s ability to safely divert for a variety of reasons, including long diversions with one engine shut down. “Now that our planned ETOPS testing is in the books, the team will spend the next few weeks finishing F&R demonstrations that lead up to initial Type Certification of the 787 with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines,” reported Randy Tinseth, VP of marketing for Seattle, Wash.-based Boeing Commercial Airplanes, in mid-August. “The final step will be to submit our paperwork to the FAA.” Boeing continues certification testing on 787s with General Electric engines and will conduct a separate F&R and ETOPS test program for that version of the airplane. Other activities will continue on the flight-test fleet to support Boeing objectives, including examining potential technologies for the 787-9 and testing engine improvement packages. The 787 program’s VP and general manager Scott Fancher assured the press in July that first delivery to Japan’s All Nippon Airways was imminent. Indeed, that first plane rolled out of Boeing’s paint hangar Aug. 6, with special ANA livery, an event Boeing offered as a strong indication that first delivery would take place this month.

In other Boeing news, the company commemorated the opening, June 28, of a new 787 composite vertical fin assembly line in Salt Lake City, Utah. Fin production began in July and delivery of the first fin to Boeing South Carolina (N. Charleston, S.C.) is expected in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The 35,000-ft2 (3251.6m2) composite assembly line facility was designed and built using Lean Manufacturing techniques, which increased production capacity without adding new brick-and-mortar facilities.  

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