Boeing Commercial Airplanes has started the process of “change incorporation” for its 787 Dreamliner fleet, at its Global Services & Support site in San Antonio, Tex. The jet builder explains that change incorporation is procedure by which the completed airplanes that are not part of its flight test program are configured to match the updated design and performance standards established as part of type certification efforts, including flight tests, which are still underway.
The first of six planes scheduled for refurbishment was flown from Boeing’s manufacturing operations in Everett, Wash., on Friday, March 4. Six 787s are involved in the flight test program for the Dreamliner, and three of those airplanes also will be refurbished after the flight test activities are complete. However, Boeing has said this plan is flexible and could accommodate additional 787 production needs as the flight test program is completed and airplanes are prepared for delivery.
Some of the work being done includes installing electronic and mechanical equipment; completing software upgrades; testing functional systems; and removing and reworking wiring or equipment that needs to be updated to current configuration requirements.
Boeing said the work will begin this month and continue through 2013. Approximately 450 temporary workers will be hired for the project, and will join 1,700 workers at the San Antonio site for the 787 change incorporation.
The 787 “Dreamliner” is a wide-body twin-engine aircraft with long range and carrying capacity for 210 to 330 passengers. Boeing has said it will be its most fuel-efficient commercial jet. However, the production program is more than a three years behind its original schedule following six separate delays in the expected delivery date. Among the reasons for delays have been design issues, parts shortages, and labor problems.
Boeing reportedly has 850 orders from airliners for the jets, and Boeing maintains that the first deliveries will be made this year.
"The 787 team is thrilled to have the expertise and enthusiasm of the San Antonio team focused on getting these airplanes ready for delivery to our customers," stated 787 program vice president and general manager Scott Fancher.