As reported earlier in the week, the second Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ZA002) is currently in Japan undergoing Service Readiness Validation. Even though words about what is going on in Japan is interesting, photos are even better. Boeing has been doing a pretty great job posting photos on their Flickr account, but they also have some slick hi-resolution photos on their media page that I wanted to share. All the photos below were taken by Boeing and have the description from Boeing below each one. Click on any photo for a much larger version. Enjoy!
Photo by Boeing. Click for larger.
The Boeing 787 flight test airplane ZA002 readied for departure from Boeing Field to Japan on Saturday, July 2. Over the coming days, Boeing and 787 launch customer ANA will conduct an important validation of their readiness for the 787 Dreamliner’s entry into service.
Boeing 787 Dreamliners for ANA, JAL and China Southern sit waiting for parts at Paine Field.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is about to start a new round of testing to prepare for its first customer, All Nippon Airways (ANA), during the third quarter of 2011. During the week of July 4th, the second Dreamliner, ZA002 is expected to start service readiness testing in Japan.
Both companies will help to simulate in-service operations at several airports throughout Japan. ANA’s maintenance crews will also have the ability to service the 787 during the testing, including fit checks for airplane jacks, towing and refueling the aircraft. The testing is expected to take place during the week of July 4th. This will also mark the first time that the 787 has flown to and with-in Japan.
At this point, ANA is expecting their first 787 Dreamliner sometime between August and September. Boeing is not officially talking about who will receive the next few 787s. However, Boeing President Jim McNerney announced that China Southern should receive their first Dreamliner during the fourth quarter this year.
Japan Airlines (JAL) has recently announced they will operate the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on a route from Narita Japan to Boston, starting in April 2012, but a JAL spokes person confirmed to me via email that this will not be the first 787 they will receive. “The first 787 will not be on the [Tokyo to Boston] route, but this route is the first one named by JAL to use the 787.” The spokesperson explained. “We haven’t announced where the first 787 will be deployed to.” JAL hopes to receive their first 787 by the end of 2011 and receive five Dreamliners by the end of the 2011 fiscal year.
It is not exactly clear if China Southern or JAL will receive the second 787, but this timeline suggests that ANA will not be flying the 787 exclusively for very long. With ANA’s pride in being the first customer for the 787 and all their advertising featuring the aircraft and even operating a site dedicated to the aircraft called “ANA We Fly 1st,” I can only imagine that the airline was hoping to be the only airline flying the Dreamliner for a bit longer than a few months at most.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner wing inside the Boeing factory.
Jon Ostrower on his FlightBlogger site posted a story late last night on how thousands of improperly coated fasteners inside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s wing need to be replaced to help protect against lightning strikes.
The FAA requires that all joints and fasteners not produce sparks around fuel after a lightening strike. Since the majority of the aircraft is made of composites, it is vunerable to arcing from one metal part to another. Boeing flies their test fleet of Boeing 787s with special anti-static additives. When the first Dreamliner, ZA001, was hit with lightening, it received no damage. 35 Boeing 787’s that have already been built which will require the re-work, which will take weeks per Dreamliner.
Boeing 787 Dreamliner undergoes fatigue testing at Paine Field. Photo from Boeing
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has started it’s fatigue testing. The fatigue test frame might look like a crazy construction rig, but think of it more like a time machine.
The fatigue rig will put the Boeing 787 through 100,000 simulated flights, which is equivalent to about three times an expect life of the Dreamliner. The best part? It never has to leave the ground.
The fatigue test rig simulates every part of the flight. From the push back at the airport to the arrival at its destination. This process is called a ground-air-ground (GAG) cycle. Boeing has five different GAG cycles that put the aircraft through different simulations, ranging in duration and flight severity.
While the structural test program already has validated the strength of the airframe, fatigue testing looks at long-term, continued use. It allows Boeing engineers to see what will give over time and create inspection techniques for airlines.
“Every kid’s dream is to build something and then try to break it, right?,” asks Peter Brownlow, the fatigue testing conductor for the 787 program. “In essence, that’s what we’re doing. We take an airplane and we try to put it through its paces and try to break it at the end.”
To create this havoc, 100 mechanical devices have been connected to the exterior of the Dreamliner. Engineers in a control room use the devices to mimic actions the 787 will go through.
Boeing told me that they expect the fatigue testing to take about three years. Not bad. Too bad someone can’t earn any frequent flier miles for all those flights!
Yesterday, ZA004 took to the skies over Washington state (and looks like she might have dipped down into Oregon a little bit) on her first flight. Randy Tinseth, Vice President of Marketing for Boeing points out in his blog that ZA004 is sporting the Boeing “light” livery. This livery just paints the aircraft in solid white, with a line going down the fuselage. This saves Boeing time and money, versus the full livery) and I think it looks pretty slick.
Each of the Boeing test planes have a lead pilot. Captain Heather Ross is the one in charge of ZA004 and was at the controls yesterday. She is one of ten lucky pilots who have been able to fly the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Tinseth is expecting all six of the test planes should be airborne by the end of the second quarter.
Above is a video from KING5 showing the landing of ZA004 yesterday at Boeing Field.