Hour of power

Just last week we reported that we’d taken the first steps toward “power on” for the first 787 Dreamliner. Today I can tell you that we’ve successfully completed this very significant milestone – a major accomplishment for the entire 787 team.

As I mentioned here in the blog, Power On is a series of tasks and tests – not a single flipping of a switch. Well, we’ve now finished the full testing sequence to bring electrical power onto the airplane and get the electrical systems working.

There’s a lot of work left, but there’s no doubt this is an important achievement in keeping to our new schedule as we progress toward first flight.

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Running Power On tests in the 787 flight deck are (from left) James Townsend, aviation manufacturing technician inspector; Allen Smith, test technician; Jon Stephenson, production test manufacturing engineer; and Riger Vazquez Jr., production test team leader.

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The Power On test sequence lasted for just over a week and proved the functionality and installation of the airplane’s electric systems.

“Power on” actually began early this month with what we call pre-test continuity checks. These checks determine whether the airplane wiring is connected properly. Next, starting with flight deck displays, we slowly began to bring full power into the airplane systems. Once we had that power going, the team was able to use the pilot’s controls to direct the power to new systems, one area at a time.

At each step we verified that the power arrived, and that it was converted, controlled, and utilized as expected.

It’s a methodical process. But with approximately 60 miles of wiring throughout the airplane, thousands of line-replaceable units, and millions of lines of computer code, it’s important that we do it this way - so that any issues can be isolated, examined and resolved quickly.

This also helps us make sure that the airplane’s electrical power system is installed properly, and that it functions the way we designed it to. By that I mean we were able to determine that the systems do indeed function in a real airplane environment – just as they did in our laboratory tests.

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Boeing test technician David Haskell plugs an external power cart into the first 787 Dreamliner as part of the Power On testing sequence.

We made the strategic decision early on to introduce new “systems architecture” to the Dreamliner – providing a more efficient electrical power system. So this is really the culmination and validation of five and a half years of designing and testing the innovative Dreamliner electrical systems.

Now the work continues – with a goal of first flight later this year.

And as I mentioned last week, check back here on Monday for some links to an interactive Website focused on Power On testing for the 787.

Comments (8)

Saj (London, UK):

This is course excellent news and more than just a milestone for the 787 and for Boeing.

The work that's been going on will be a testament to the success of the Dreamliner amongst the 50-plus customers already eagerly awaiting this revolutionary machine.

Chris C (South Africa):

Congratulations Boeing on achieving the all-important POWER ON milestone for the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner!! That’s stupendous news, and further, it’s very pleasing and encouraging to read that the POWER ON sequence went better than expected!!

As testing continues on this wonderful Boeing airplane, I firmly predict we’ll be seeing a load more “better than expected” comments around Boeing: Better than expected fuel burn/payload and range capabilities, noise levels, etc.”

Again, well done on powering up the flagship airplane of the 21st Century!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Very nice - always appreciate new Boeing planes that perform as or better than expected. As production woes subside, we'll begin to see the promise that this new invention will deliver to us - a world of Dreamers.

Bring on the flight tests - let's see validation.

I hope that this journal and other affiliates cover not only the 787's tests, but also the 777F's, as this bird is about to begin flight tests soon.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Congrats to Boeing and it's engineers on the
power-on of the 787, the cockpit is really starting
to take shape.

There is certainly no other airliner like the 787
in the world, it is certainly the most advanced,
that and it's timely appearance brings in the large amount of customers.


Rob (L.B.C ( Long Beach, Cal )):

It's about time........ Great job guys!!!!!

G (France):

Weight a minit. Only one week to complete the power-on for the first airplane? That's not too bad.

Les Greene (El Segundo, CA):

Congrats on a successful power-on! I can imagine the complexity of the electrical system on the 787!

J.Chan (Hong Kong):

I'm pleased to know that 787 has progressed through such a critical step.I hope to see her roar in the skies as soon as possible!

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