Boeing Construction Milestone On 787 Final Assembly Plant

 

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Boeing Construction Milestone On 787 Final Assembly Plant

By Bill Goldston
 

September 27, 2010 - Boeing on Friday marked completion of the steel framework for its new 787 Dreamliner Final Assembly building with a special topping-out ceremony. The event was held in conjunction with BE&K/Turner, the design-builder of the facility. 

The final piece of steel was put into place on the 1.1 million-square-foot (102,193 square meters) structure less than a year after the November 2009 groundbreaking.

Approximately 18,000 tons of steel are used in the building. Construction on the new facility is on schedule, with airplane production due to begin in July 2011 and first delivery in first-quarter 2012.

 

"By this time next year, the Final Assembly building will be complete, and we will have begun production of the first South Carolina-built 787 Dreamliner. That is tremendous from green-field site to airplane production in about 18 months," said Marco Cavazzoni, vice president and general manager, 787 Final Assembly and Delivery.  

"The support we've received and continue to receive from our South Carolina partners and suppliers, as well as the state and local community is amazing and is one of the main reasons we've been able to reach these significant milestones in such a short timeframe."   

At full production rate, Boeing will assemble and deliver three 787s per month from South Carolina to customers around the world. The South Carolina Final Assembly facility will be one of only three in the world producing twin-aisle commercial jetliners. 

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long range, mid-sized, wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It seats 210 to 330 passengers, depending on variant. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction. The 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized Boeing 767. Its development and production has involved a large-scale collaboration with numerous suppliers.

 

The aircraft's initial designation 7E7 was changed to 787 in January 2005. The first 787 was unveiled in a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007 at Boeing's Everett assembly factory, by which time it had become the fastest-selling wide-body airliner in history with 677 orders. By September 2010, 847 Boeing 787s had been ordered by 56 customers. As of 2010, launch customer All Nippon Airways has the largest number of 787s on order. 

Originally scheduled to enter service in May 2008, the aircraft's maiden flight took place on December 15, 2009 in the Seattle area and is currently undergoing flight testing with a goal of receiving its type certificate in late 2010, and to enter service in 2011.  

Flight systems on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will include Honeywell and Rockwell-Collins flight control, guidance, and other avionics systems, including standard dual head up guidance systems, while Thales supplies the integrated standby flight display and electrical power conversion system. A version of Ethernet (Avionics Full-Duplex Switched Ethernet (AFDX) / ARINC 664) will be used to transmit data between the flight deck and aircraft systems. The flight deck features LCD multi-function displays, all of which will use an industry standard GUI widget toolkit (Cockpit Display System Interfaces to User Systems / ARINC 661). The Lockheed Martin Orion spacecraft will use a glass cockpit derived from Honeywell International's 787 flight deck.  

The 787 flight deck includes two head-up displays (HUDs) as a standard feature. Like other Boeing airliners, the 787 will use a yoke instead of a side-stick. The future integration of forward looking infrared into the HUD system for thermal sensing so the pilots can "see" through the clouds is under consideration.  

The most notable contribution to efficiency is the new electrical architecture which replaces bleed air and hydraulic power sources with electrically powered compressors and pumps, as well as completely eliminating pneumatics and hydraulics from some subsystems (e.g., engine starters or brakes).  

The 787's engines use all-electrical bleedless systems, eliminating the superheated air conduits normally used for aircraft power, de-icing, and other functions. Another new system is a wing ice protection system that uses electro-thermal heater mats on the wing slats instead of hot bleed air that has been traditionally used. 

An active gust alleviation system, similar to the system used on the B-2 bomber, improves ride quality during turbulence. Boeing, as part of its "Quiet Technology Demonstrator 2" project, is experimenting with several engine noise-reducing technologies for the 787. Among these are a redesigned air inlet containing sound-absorbing materials and redesigned exhaust duct covers whose rims are tipped in a toothed pattern to allow for quieter mixing of exhaust and outside air. Boeing expects these developments to make the 787 significantly quieter both inside and out.

 

 
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