Boeing has achieved another major milestone in the build process for their 787 Dreamliner, powering up all the electrical systems on the plane. The power-up process has been running for the past 10 days, with the cockpit activated first and additional sections of the plane subsequently turned on one by one. It seems that everything powered up OK, so Boeing will be able to move forward with their timeline as planned, at least for now.
This is a pretty big deal for Boeing and the 58 airlines who are looking to fly the 787s. I’m sure that some of the US-based carriers are OK with delaying paying for the planes while they try to stay in business, but the more solvent carriers actually need these planes to be able to continue their international growth, so the delays have been less than stellar for them.
The next major step will be first flight, expected in Q4. In the mean time, Boeing will be running the computer systems through a gamut of tests to make sure it really knows how to fly and also will be getting one of the frames ready for fatigue testing. In the fatigue testing bit they’ll actually bend the wings of an aircraft to ensure that it can meet the stresses of flight. They usually bend them to failure. There used to be a video of the 777 fatigue testing online but it seems to have disappeared for now; it is pretty awesome to watch if you can find it.
Anyway, big news for Boeing and their customers. Things continue to move forward and the planes are expected to begin customer deliveries in 2009.