Vought Aircraft Industries, a partner on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, is on track to deliver its first production ship set next month.
The delivery will include aft fuselage section 47, which measures 19 feet in diameter and 23 feet long, and fuselage section 48, measuring 14 feet in diameter and 15 feet long. The combined section represents 23 percent of the 787’s entire fuselage structure.
“”Progress is well underway on the 787 program,”” said Vice President of Vought’s 787 Division Ted Perdue. “”It’s really exciting to see the efforts of our highly skilled workforce come together for this game-changing aircraft. The quality of the work performed by our 787 Division team in Charleston and at other locations around the world is exceptional. I am very proud of our team’s dedication and technical expertise, and I’m confident in Vought’s ability to help ‘Deliver the Dream.'””
Vought has completed five aft fuselage production units and one developmental unit since production began in South Carolina last year.
All of Vought’s one-piece fuselage sections, called barrels, have successfully completed nondestructive inspections (NDI), using high-frequency ultrasonic sound waves to scan for imperfections or voids in the skin material.
Assembly activities are now being completed on the Vought sections before they leave South Carolina. When completed, the two sections will be joined together and transported next door to Global Aeronautica, the company’s joint venture with Alenia North America. The aft fuselage will then be loaded into a Boeing Dreamlifter and flown to Everett, Wash., for final assembly. Boeing is using a fleet of converted 747-400 cargo jets to ferry components to and from partner locations in Japan, Italy and the United States.
Fabrication of the barrels is accomplished using computerized lay-down of composite tape on a large barrel-shaped mould made from interlocking mandrels. The laminate is then placed in Vought’s autoclave, at 76 feet in length and 30 feet in diameter, the world’s largest by volume.
A number of suppliers around the globe support Vought’s 787 production work. Vought received the aft pressure bulkhead from European Aeronautic Defence & Space (EADS) business unit Military Aircraft from Augsburg, Germany. The one-piece dome, inserted between sections 47 and 48, is made using a vacuum-assisted resin transfer mold (VaRTM) process and is approximately 14 by 15 feet in size. It is the first composite aft pressure bulkhead ever to be used on a Boeing aircraft.
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