Note: I was going to publish this last week but I got distracted by a few other things. A few more updates will appear tonight including my personal 787’s (Yes – I have an armarda of them). Sorry!
Well Seattle. We have a little problem. What was going to be a glorious first flight has resulted in yet another delay for the 787 ZA001’s first flight.
Exhibit 1: Ok . Not a real Dreamliner. I lied a bit.
So what’s happened this time?
In very basic terms, an issue with the centre wingbox and wingsbox seem to at the crux of the matter – requiring enforcement. At the moment, it could be considered safe to fly – but with no meaningful results so once again, the poor bird is sitting on the ground awaiting more work.
For the unitated… the wing box…. oh its where the wing joins the body. As in this badly PS’d picture.
Jon at FlightBlogger has a very nice techinical explanation:
The fallout from this could be pretty big.
- ANA is seeking further clarification (least of all as the launch carrier)
- Qatar has already made its thoughts clear regarding the 787 programme (sort it or we’ll pull our orders).
- Qantas has dropped 15 of its current orders citing the current downturn for it’s Jetstar unit (whilst retaining the options it has for later – so instead of 787-8’s they are heading straight to 787-9’s)
- Lufthansa is pretty much resigned to a delay in the 747-8 passenger version
- Already there is a lot of companies who don’t want to touch the first 20 787-8’s due to the weight issues (in simple terms these aircraft are over-heavy in desgin – which reduce the range an aircraft can fly.)
- And I’d wager there’s more to come as companies look for easy get outs during this downturn, some more 787 cancellations or “deferals” will occur
Whilst the 787 will probably go on to be a great aircraft, it’s having a troublesome and difficult birth to the skies.