Boeing’s preparations continue towards first flight of the stretched 787-9 at its Everett, Washington facility. Late last month, just before the final body join of ZB001, the first 787-9, I was among a group of journalists who was shown the aircraft along with the bustling main 787 assembly line. Here are images of the tour, which were embargoed until today. (all images Guy Norris)
The first vertical tail fin for the 787-9, complete with a production-configuration hybrid laminar flow control system embedded in the leading edge – a first for any commercial airliner.
The flight deck of the 787-9 arrived from Spirit in Wichita, Kansas, in a Section 41 fully ‘pre-stuffed’ with systems and a functioning nose-leg.
The rarely photographed wing root section shows the refined design of the upper wing skin stringer ends which form part of the side of body structural join with the center wing box. The attachment area was redesigned after the upper wing skin stringers delaminated in load testing in 2009. The issue caused first flight of the 787 to be delayed from June to December 2009.
Section 41 in position, with starboard wing positioned ready for final body join on the surge line in Building 40-24.
The extended center fuselage section includes five extra frames on each end compared with the 787-8. Five frames (equal to 120 inches) are added to the aft Section 46, and the forward Section 43. Both Sections 46 and the overwing Section 44 are made by Alenia Aermacchi at its Monteiasi-Grottaglie site near Taranto in southern Italy. The units are joined to the Kawasaki Heavy Industries (KHI)-made Section 43, Fuji Heavy Industries center wing box and KHI supplied Section 45 main landing gear wheel well section at Boeing’s Charleston site. The whole unit is then delivered on a 747 Dreamlifter to Everett.
The aft fuselage Section 47/48 of ZB001.
The fourth 787-8 for British Airways on the original 787 assembly line in Building 40-26.
The first aircraft for Jetstar/Qantas of Australia will enter service on domestic routes in November. Qantas is not expected to begin operating 787s under its own identity before 2016.
The seventh 787-8 for LAN.
Line number 111 – the second 787-8 for British Airways
Line number 92, first UK-registered 787, delivered to TUI Travel (Thomson) on May 31.