The much anticipated, but much delayed 787 Dreamliner has taken a crucial step forward in the company's goal of getting the plane off the ground.
On Monday, Boeing announced that its 787 Dreamliner had moved "to the flight line for testing," meaning it's going through final tests that will get it ready for its first flight.
This is a big step for Boeing, as the 787 is one of the most important airplanes in the company's portfolio, and it has suffered through a series of delays. When the plane was first rolled out before thousands of people at Boeing's Everett, Wash., manufacturing facility on July 8, 2007, the company said that the plane was expected to make its first flight in late 2007 and carry its first passenger in spring 2008. Those dates have been revised multiple times since.
But the delays, including a machinists' strike late last year, now mean the first flight won't happen until at least the second quarter of 2009, and the first plane won't be delivered until at least the first quarter of 2010.
Despite the delays, Boeing says it has orders for 886 Dreamliners from 57 carriers around the world.
Here, the initial 787 Dreamliner is moved from Boeing's Everett paint hangar to its fuel dock on May 3.
Boeing's initial 787 Dreamliner sits at the fuel dock at the company's giant Everett, Wash., manufacturing facility.
Recently, Boeing completed a series of tests on the 787 that it said included "build verification tests, structures and systems integration tests, landing gear swings and factory gauntlet, which is the full simulation of the first flight using the actual airplane." As part of this, Boeing chief pilot Mike Carriker conducted a simulation that tested each flight control, hardware, and software system. It also involved performing both automatic and manual landings, as well as "an extensive suite of subsequent ground tests."