Chicago (IL) – Boeing has delayed the maiden flight of its upcoming 787 Dreamliner jumbo jet for a few months. The company said poor documentation and out of sequence parts shipments were the main cause, but adds that the delay should not affect commercial availability of the plane.
The mostly composite Dreamliner was scheduled to have its first flight in August or September, but Boeing is now pushing that back to mid-November or December. Scott Carson, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said the first plane will still be delivered to All Nippon Airways in May.
Passenger jets must undergo extensive FAA certification tests before they can fly in the United States and this delay means Boeing will have very little buffer time to work out any unforeseen problems. The company hopes to get six test planes ready in December and will fly each one for 120 hours a month in order to meet FAA guidelines.
According to Carson, out of sequence part arrivals have delayed production. While many sections of the plane can be put together in parallel, some sections cannot be started if a critical part is missing. Another problem is the poor documentation used in part installation and removal. Boeing said many of its workers hand wrote changes onto notepads instead of using the company’s automated system. Part of the FAA certification process requires the parts in the actual plane to substantially match the initial blueprints submitted to the government.
The 787 Dreamliner so far has received 706 orders which makes the plane the fastest selling passenger jet in history. Airlines quickly piled on the orders after rival Airbus delayed its Airbus A380 jumbo jet by several months.