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The composite wings and final major assembly for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner were delivered to Everett last week.
The wings, manufactured by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries at its facility in Nagoya, Japan, are each 98 feet long. Standing on edge in custom-made tooling, the wings were delivered together to Boeing via the Dreamlifter, a specially modified 747-400 used to transport 787 major assemblies. The 787 is the first commercial aircraft to use composite materials as its primary structure. It is also the first Boeing aircraft featuring an all-composite wing.
“”A composite wing of this size has never been built before,”” said Scott Strode, 787 vice president of Airplane Definition and Production. “”This is a tribute to our fantastic team. We believe the Dreamliner sets a new standard for how commercial airplanes will be made in the future.””
The wings were immediately delivered to the 787 final assembly factory. Additional work — including attaching the wingtip and movable surfaces — will be completed by Boeing. The total wingspan of a 787 is 197 feet.
The integrated midbody fuselage was also delivered, consisting of section 43, a forward fuselage section made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries; section 11/45, the centre wheel well and centre wing tank, made by KHI and Fuji Heavy Industries and joined at FHI; and sections 44 and 46, centre fuselage sections made by Alenia Aeronautica. It was joined at Global Aeronautica in Charleston, South Carolina. The fuselage measures 84 feet long and 19 feet in diameter. It was also flown to Everett in the Dreamlifter.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) shipped the first composite-material wing box on May 14 from the Oye Plant of MHI’s Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works in Nagoya Prefecture.
To produce the wing boxes for Boeing, MHI constructed two new factories at its Nagoya Aerospace Systems Works: a composite-material fabrication factory to undertake forming of composite-material parts for the wing boxes, and an assembly factory to build the wing boxes. The new facilities were launched in June and September 2006, respectively. The fabrication factory features one of the world’s largest autoclaves. MHI also completed construction, in April 2006, of a factory to manufacture composite-material skin stringers, one of the reinforcement components for the 787 wing boxes, at its Shimonoseki Shipyard and Machinery Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Japanese companies’ share in airframe production under the program has now reached 35%, the highest ratio ever in commercial airplane production programs between Boeing and Japanese firms. MHI is responsible for manufacture of the composite-material wing boxes. This is the first time a major aircraft manufacturer has selected a partner to produce its wing boxes.
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