The 787-9 is one giant step closer to reality. Major assembly on the first airplane is now underway. Things kicked off on time when Boeing partner Kawasaki Heavy Industries began installing passenger door frames in the forward midbody fuselage.
When complete, that section will hitch a ride on the Dreamlifter to North Charleston where the Boeing South Carolina team will integrate it with other 787 structures. Final assembly will take place in Everett in 2013. First flight of the 787-9 is still set for 2013 and first delivery in 2014.
The 787-9 is the second member of the 787 family. At 20 feet longer than the 787-8, the 787-9 will carry 16 percent more passengers up to 8,500 nautical miles (15,750 km).
Reaching this milestone is a significant step for the program—and making it happen on schedule is even more impressive. I can’t wait to see this airplane in the skies very soon.