787 "mod" underway

Based on the comments and. questions posted to recent entries here in the Journal, it seems our side-of-body modifications to the 787 are certainly capturing your interest.

So to answer one of the big questions, when will the “mod” begin, I can tell you that we’ve made some good progress in that regard. Modifications are indeed underway. We’ve begun installing the reinforcements on the area within the side-of-body section on Airplane #1 and on the static airframe.

We’re mounting new fittings at stringer attachment locations within the joint where the wing attaches to the fuselage.  


The 787 static airframe.

So, here’s the rundown on locations for modifications on the 787 flight-test fleet: ZA001 is in our Boeing paint hangar, ZA002 is in the temporary structure on the Boeing Flight Line, ZA003 and ZA005 are using open space in the factory and ZA004 and ZA006 are at ATS.

Work will get underway in the coming days on additional flight test airplanes.


Last week we moved the sixth and final flight-test airplane, ZA006, to Boeing’s temporary facility at Aviation Technical Services (ATS) in Everett. A Dreamlifter is seen touching down in the background.

In a message to employees today, our Commercial Airplanes president and CEO Jim Albaugh reminded us of something, and I think it’s worthwhile to share it here. He said it’s important to remember that the 787 is truly the first new airplane of the 21st century. It’s a game-changer. And as such, it’s a departure from all commercial airplanes produced since Boeing launched the commercial jet age with the 707. 

Let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Dreamliner - from its aerodynamic design, and all-composite structure to its next-generation propulsion system - will provide great efficiencies and value to our customers. For the passenger, the interior features of the 787 will provide unprecedented comfort.


ZA006 backing into the ATS hangar last week. The windows, you may notice, were wearing protective coverings.

Yes, we’re pushing the envelope with this all-new airplane. Anytime you work with new technologies you run some risks. As Jim pointed out, we haven’t performed on the 787 program as well as we would have liked. But our team understands what needs to be done, from now through first flight and on into flight test and deliveries.

Comments (20)

Ankih Fre (Seattle,WA):

Good. When would it be finished, and is it true that the 787 and 747-8F could fly on the same day? I hope this is the last modification and the last delay.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

I am glad the modifications to the 787's are going well, I hope it is done right and the 787 continues on track for the first flight.

Jerry1t (New York, N.Y.):

Thanks for the update. We are all keeping our fingers crossed that this will go well and on schedule.

These are excititng times for Boeing with the first flights of two models approaching as well as the RFP for the Tanker competition expected this week

Whatever slips and mistakes of the past can be made up for now and a new and proud Company can emerge with two new birds in the air and a challenge to provide a replacement for the USAF Tanker replacement met well and efficiently.

Good Luck!

David (Mizoram (Asia)):

Great to hear that all the Test Planes are currently going under modification process. Hope they will be finished soon. How about a little info on all the the status of the 747-8 test planes like you did with 787 in this post, Randy?

Beck Nader (Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil):

Hope all goes well and hope the 787 gets to the air and customers ASAP since it will also contribute to a better world environment.

All the best!

Ron Bresher (Everett. Washington):

No more slips, trips, fumbles or stumbles! In the future I know we can do better on new Airplane development programs. We have learned some tough lessons of late along with the embarrassments associated with them. Let's get the 787-8 and the 747-8 up in the air where they belong. Get some more orders for these airplanes. Get the ball rolling good on the 787-9 and even a 787-10 derivative as well as modernizing the 777 to effectively compete against the A350-900, & A350-1000 in the 2013 time frame. Let's fully support Dave Bowman and Rick Lemaster and go out and win the next round on the Tanker and not be afraid to let everyone know how Airbus has benefitted from illegal launch aid subsidies, preferred loans, and highly favorable credit terms from banks to develop all of their Airplanes. Without all of this illegal launch aid Airbus would not be where they are today. Let's get through the dark clouds and skies and regain some of our reputation and capture a good chunk of Aviation's no doubt bright future.

P.Sumantri (France):

Please give us an update as soon as you have completed the static test on the aircraft with "mod". Thank you.

My blog: http: //verovenia.wordpress.com

Richard Olson (Seattle, WA):

I'm still proud of our company. It's great to see the teriffic progress on both the 787 and 747-8.

Sheridan Rose (everett, wa.):

I am truly proud to be a part of this great company. The future of aviation, as we know it, will be forever changed. There have definitely been some ups and downs, but when you consider the advanced nature of this bird I am grateful for the extra efforts being taken. Building the safest aircraft for our pilots, our customers, their passengers, the Boeing company, and the future of aviation is essential. We can be and will be proud of all the hard work done by everyone involved.

Frank Leathley (Mill Creek, WA):

The comments re the 21st Century design bring to mind the similar step forward back in the 1930's with the Model 202 Monomail and the 247. A similar big step from the biplanes with struts and wires, fabric covered wings and fuselages and for the first time retractable landing gear. (the 247D is Mike Carrikers other favorite twin engine airplane)

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

Once again, thanks for sharing the pictures with us.

Some negative media reports on the delays even suggested that the 787 poject is a total loss.
The modern society has become so stock market oriented that many people seem to think about everything in terms of 'buy, hold, or sell' strategy. If building a jetliner with new technology was ever that simple, a small start up company might have already designed and marketed one.

Gregory Schmitz (Anchorage, AK):

Its not the technology that's failed, it was the stupid decision to change both technology and the so called manufacturing method at the same time.

Of course there were going to be problems with the new technology, and the leap had to be made.

Boeing should have done it in house, not scattered it out across the globe, and then completely fail to have a system in place to manage it. That is the crux of the failure.

If it had been done in Everett like it should have the bird would have flow a year ago.

Alessandro (Sweden):

Strange things has happened during this programme, read that Arik a fairly new airline in Nigeria (africas largest country population wise) which is a big market couldn´t find any B777 when they got slots at Heathrow got hold of new A435s on a defaulting customer from India and now got 3 of them,
they got both B787 and B748i on order but the 4 year extra wait (at least) has made them look at the A380.
I wonder if C-series from Bombardier will compete hard against the B787, time will tell.

David (Snohomish, WA):

Thank you for the updates. I can't wait to see her fly.

Andrew Boydston (Caldwell, ID):

Thank you for your briefing on the 787 progress. It is exciting to consider the differences that Boeing offers with its barrel design compared to the panel offering of your competitor. Many have wondered if Boeing's vision on these new technologies is a "bridge too far" into the future.

However, I believe Boeing is well past that question and once these technologies are proven by actual service it will expose the quantum leap that it has made, while answering all those detractors, who have focused on every arising issue. Most companies do not roll out or expose a new product until it has cleared the test track, test market or some intermediary phase before selling its virtue to the market place. Boeing has placed itself into the target of the market place before even building its first test model. The risk is high but the reward is greater once first flight is achieved. Future models will be built on this design, which will further separate you from your competitors in a beneficial way creating a technology gap of years over your competitors.

Todd (Philadelphia):

Love the plane and feel the pain of the delays, but will you please stop people from using the term "game changer"? Its old and has lost its luster and it almost sounds like you all "don't get it"...which you do!

Chris C (South Africa):

Excellent news! Before long, we'll all be watching in great excitement as the super-efficient 787 Dreamliner takes to the air and graces the skies with efficiency and grace. "The efficiency age has begun" should be the slogan for the 787 as "the spacious age has begun" were for the phenomenal 747 at the time of first-flight!

In response to an earlier comment regarding the possibility of first flight of both the 787 and 747-8 on the same day, it's certainly possible. Both the 737-400 and 747-400 rolled out on 26th January 1988, and both flight tested in the same window period, so I certainly can see both a 787 and 747-8 first flight on the same day! :)


787 is beautiful but SSJ better. SSJ The most successful regional jet ever built!

L. Logan (IDS St. Louis, Mo.):

Hope first flight is this month(October).When the stock soars into the stratosphere, then Boeing can do a stock split to raise capital to fund the airlines purchase of our aircraft! Lotsa luck performing to the plan.

Kile Dewey:

If Boeing do not get its act together and start looking at getting rid of some senior managers and other managers who failed the company in making bad decisions to out source the work for 787 this company could wind up just like another GM in about 10 years looking at Government bail out and having to realign some programs in order to stay afloat. This is a good company but badly managed.

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