Airplane 4, position 1

I wanted to share with you a new photo from the 787 factory, as final assembly gets underway on the Dreamliner that will be our second flight test airplane.

Our team in Everett is joining together the fuselage sections and wings for the second of what will be a total of 6 flight test airplanes. This airplane is now in place in position 1 in the factory - where all major joins take place.


Airplane 4 - loaded snugly into position 1 in the 787 factory this week.

I know there’s been a lot of discussion out there about this airplane and where it actually fits in the plan. So let me sort it out for you. As I said, while this is going to be the second flight test airplane, this Dreamliner is actually the fourth on the production line. It follows the two airplanes that will be used for static and fatigue testing. Those two will not be delivered to customers. Airplane #1, the Dreamliner we rolled out last summer, is still planned as the airplane to make the first flight later this year.

My colleagues on the program report that the newest airplane on the line arrived with less “traveled work.” That means the sections are significantly more complete than was the case with Airplane #1. We’re seeing continued improvements in the condition of each assembly we receive.

And as we move forward, we expect to start receiving assemblies for the third flight test airplane in the next few weeks - and of course this is good news for the program. It’s great to see a full production line. It shows progress, and moves us closer to operating within the original design of the production system.

Subsequent airplanes are underway as well. Right now we have a total of 21 airplanes in various stages of production around the world – including the 4 in Everett - and it’s going well. This is a key point to remember.

Understandably much of the focus has been concentrated on the airplanes on the Everett factory floor. But keep in mind there is a lot of work going on globally, leading up to position 1.

Comments (15)

Saj (London, UK):

This should firmly dispel any false rumours that the second flight test 787 would be the first to fly.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

It's beautiful. What a fine portrayal of the best sciences known to man. Progress is being made.

Victory belongs to those that believe in it the most.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The first of the next generation of airliners and the only airliner in the world that is truly a people pleasing airplane.

The 787 leads, and the 350 follows.

James (Honolulu, Hawaii):

Boeing flew a 777 test plane to Kailua-Kona on our Big Island. (Where, if I recall correctly, problems were encountered with the ventilation system.) I vividly remembered seeing the beautiful plane in the air. Randy, will the 787 make it 2 for 2?

Ed Teague (Indianapolis):

"The 787 leads, and the 350 follows. " ... the 380.

Sherry (Beijing,China):

Good luck!

I think the 787 will be Successful. Because Airlines need it, and people like to take it. But maybe the A350 and the A380 is not so good than the 777 or the 787.

robert anderson (puget sound, washington):

We need TEX JOHNSON or his successor to barrel roll this 787!

william benton (wichita, kansas):

Very exciting stuff. In aviation Boeing leads the way

Tom (Seal Beach, California,United States):

The ultimate marriage of technology, planning and people producing the most revolutionary aircraft ever conceived. And we're all part of it - we can look back years from now and tell our families that we were there in the beginning.

The Ernest Troncelliti (Johnson City, NY):

Kudos to Boeing! Sometimes good things do take a little longer. Boeing technology advances in the 787 are inspirational. We can't imagine of an event that is more anticipated than our first 787 flight

Reece Lumsden (Everett, WA):

While I do think that the 787 exemplifies the 'first to market' on what is a new playing field, the downside of this is always that those who come on behind you can learn from the mistakes that were made and avoid them. You can be sure that Airbus is watching very closely so that they can learn as much as they can out of what's going on with 787, so they don't make the same mistakes. I wouldn't count them out at all.

Chris C (South Africa):

I am thrilled to read that the second super-efficient 787 Dreamliner test airplane is already in production. Moreover, it is very encouraging to read that there has been significant improvement in the ‘travelled-work’. Just think, in a matter of a few months, six Dreamliners will be gracing our skies!

G (France):

Boeing succeeded to saturate the 200-280 seat market in a very short time. Eight hundred and fifty seven (857) firm orders in only four years is simply awesome. Something striking is the fact that the 787-8 still does not have any direct competitor today.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

When I first saw this picture I thought how simplistic the whole process appeared to be. The 787 major sub-assemblies are joined together in what appears to be the same method employed in the other halls of the same Everett plant. It's still barrels to barrels. Obviously it took a fair amount of effort and time to achieve that final result.

My interest is what happens when Boeing has more experience with the materials and technologies employed on this baby. A lot is still new on this scale, but Raytheon has good experience with the Premier 1 and, Boeing itself with its part on Northrop Grumman's B-2 Spirit program and also recently on the 737-900ER with its flat aft-pressure bulkhead (I stand to corrected on the 737). Because of the nature of the 'new' material, many old problems on the Blended Wing Body designs, such as those associated with pressurisation, may now be solved.


I would have liked Boeing to have gone with GEnx engine exclusivity on this bird as it is the most technically advanced engine of the two and also the most fuel efficient.

Post a comment

We welcome your comments. However all comments are moderated and may not post immediately. Offensive or off-topic comments will not be posted. We will not treat any comments you submit as confidential information. Please do not submit comments that contain any confidential information belonging to anyone else.

By submitting a comment to Randy's Journal, you agree to our site terms and privacy policy, and to having your name displayed with your comment. All or part of your comment may be posted or cited in the blog. Your name and personal information will not be used for any other purpose, and we will not publish your e-mail address.


More posts