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Report: 787 first flight 'remains at least a month away'

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Late last night, Aviation Week's Guy Norris published a blog post discussing progress on the upcoming A330-200F first flight and the potential for 787 first flight by year's end:
Meanwhile up in Seattle, first flight of the 'other' new twin, the Boeing 787, still remains at least a month away with ZA001 and the other test aircraft in various states of storage and modification, and a re-activation pending structural test results from the side-of-body rework on static airframe ZY997.
Boeing says the installation of the wingfix on ZA001 is not yet complete, and sources say completion on ZA002 is now slightly ahead. There's conflicting information on the next point, which suggests some early steps are being taken to prepare ZA002 for flight ahead of ZA001 if it is ready first, but others indicate that ZA001 is still the prime candidate for 787 first flight.

Boeing continues to reaffirm that the 787 will fly before the end of 2009.

Additional program sources indicate that the installation of the wing fix on ZA001 is tentatively scheduled to be complete just before the middle part of the month. Once ZA001 and/or ZA002 are ready, ZY997 becomes the pacing item for the full-scale validation of the side of body modification.

Mr. Norris followed up with an additional post this afternoon that mapped out the remaining tasks for ZA001 before first flight. His assessment leads to a late-December target for ZA001's first flight. Once the static testing is complete and the fix is validated, Mr. Norris says, ZA001 will begin a three-week pre-flight process of gauntlet tests and other activity.

My sources and Guy's sources both agree: Either way there's a busy December in store for Everett.

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