Reports suggest slippage in 787 schedule

Jon Ostrower, author of Flightblooger at flightglobal.com, reports that the overall assembly calendar for the first 787 Dreamliner is about three weeks behind schedule.

Jon Ostrower, author of Flightblooger at flightglobal.com, reported on Jan. 9 that the overall assembly calendar for the Boeing Co.’s (Seattle, Wash.) first 787 Dreamliner is about three weeks behind schedule.

According to Ostrower, sources in the Everett, Wash., assembly plant say Boeing has shifted significant manpower resources to achieve the aircraft power on milestone by the end of January. Work in Building 40-26 is almost exclusively focused on meeting this target on time.

The slippage, says Ostrower, can be attributed at least partially to ongoing part shortages and the ramp-up of the more than 30,000-part supply chain that drives the 787 Dreamliner program. Boeing was approached for comment by Ostrower but had not responded.

Ostrower adds that Dreamliner One has moved from assembly station three to assembly station four in advance of power on. Also, parts for Dreamliner Two reportedly have significantly reduced one of the primary obstacles facing Dreamliner assembly: traveled work. When the horizontal tailplane arrived from Italy around Christmas, it had its systems extensively installed and required very little traveled work in comparison to its predecessor which was delivered in April 2007 for Dreamliner One. Both sections of the horizontal tail are being joined in the rear of the 787 Final Assembly & Delivery line in Building 40-36 in preparation for its installation in the aft fuselage when final assembly gets underway later this month. It joins the vertical tail which arrived from Frederickson, WA during the first week of December.

Ostrower also reports that major structural assembly deliveries will begin when the wings arrive in the middle of January and are expected to be immediately ready for installation of its flight control surfaces and wingtips which are awaiting its arrival. Shortly after the wings arrive for Dreamliner Two, the airframe’s three largely stuffed fuselage sections are expected to make the trip to Everett. In addition, the radome and pylons have arrived in Everett in preparation for final assembly.

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