Take five

End of a busy week, and a good opportunity to take some time out for a brief update on where we stand in the 787 factory. We’ve now returned to what you might call a steady level of production with the final assembly joining of the fifth flight test airplane in Everett.

This airplane, designated “ZA005,” happens to be the first that will fly with the GEnx engines, and it will soon be accompanied by the sixth and final flight test Dreamliner. ZA006 is in production at our partner sites. As a matter of fact, assembly work is underway on 30 Dreamliners right now around the world.


A pair of great views of the newly assembled ZA005 in the 787 factory – the fifth Dreamliner destined for flight test.

Major assemblies are now arriving from our partners - in close to the fully-completed state that we’re striving for during mature production. That’s a sign of real progress as we get ready to ramp up.

Speaking of progress, we’ve also turned power back on to Airplane #1 – the airplane that will conduct first flight. We’ve resumed testing on the airplane as well. Our work to correct fastener issues is completed on ZA001, and is progressing on our other 787s.

We get a lot of questions about whether the 787 program is on track or on schedule. Well, here’s how I’d answer that right now. Both the re-power on of Airplane #1 and the start of Airplane #5 assembly were scheduled for this week. And we hit them both.

Comments (6)

P.Sumantri (France):

Many analysts think the production delays at Boeing, which are the consequences of the strike and other industrial hiccups, is a blessing in disguise for suppliers, Boeing and airlines altogether. The latest IATA press release confirms again that the delays are not hurting the airline industry. "In the month of December global international cargo traffic plummeted by 22.6% compared to December 2007. The same comparison for international passenger traffic showed a 4.6% drop. The international load factor stood at 73.8%."

Economic indicators don't give any sign of improvement in the short term. Clearly, 2009 to 2010 is not the perfect time to deliver much capacity.

If Boeing, and its suppliers, execute the latest 787 schedule with strict discipline then deliveries will ramp up at the same crescendo as the economy will be improving. Let the music start!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

I can't wait to see the Dreamliner make it's first flight later this year, at least much of the delays with the 787 is mostly behind us and the plane will be able to fly after two years of delays. At least in this time of turmoil and layoffs their is now a bright spot in the 787 that people will be proud of and know that not all is bad.

Jason Yuhara (Everett, WA):

As a Boeing employee and a committed supporter of this program, I hope all involved have a better taste and appreciation of where we all stand in relation to the outside world and our own economy in recent and past events. This plane will deliver a turn of events that I hope and do believe will correspond with the economies growth as we venture forward.

Boeing will deliver to the aeronautical market a more efficient and quality engineered plane that other competitors can not by any means measure against. More importantly we need to keep in mind we are dealing with a global market and need to think costs, labor, and work ethics that must compete with outside standards, and not always just our own needs. If we cannot compete effectively in this market, our self serving needs may compromise long term goals and strategies for future success.

Let us all strive towards success for the program, each other, our families, and of course our community.

RaiDog (San Clemente, CA):

Pardon me for being negative, but if this is what Boeing considers a "steady level of production" then Boeing is a whole heap of trouble. I have been a big fan of the Dreamliner since its inception, but countless errors and miscalulations by Boeing's management have cost this plane, its employees, its customers, its partners, and its shareholders dearly! Let's see you get this bird where it belongs...in the air earning revenue for the airlines that bet the farm on your ability to deliver a world-class plane with superior economics and passenger comfort. Then...we'll all give the folks at Boeing a cheer for hitting a long overdue milestone.

Mike C (Renton, WA):

Waiting for the 787 to take to the skies where she deserves to be...

Gary Gerfen (Tukwila, Washington, USA):

In response to RaiDog's comments on the 787 being at a "steady level of production". I am not trying to answer for Randy, but in my perspective after the huge impact to production from the IAM strike, and the other technical issues we have overcome the 787 production line is entering a steady level of production. Regardless of the past problems!

As the flight test airplanes clear the production line and begin flying, the first deliverable airplanes will be assembled. This is the true beginning for our 787 production and will not cease for many, many years with hopefully several thousand airplanes delivered to our customers.

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