Aft Components Heading To Everett
More and more pieces of Boeing's upcoming 787 are coming
together. On Tuesday, Vought Aircraft Industries delivered its
first composite sections for the Dreamliner, representing 23
percent of the airplane's entire fuselage structure.
"Today marks a historic milestone for Vought," said Vice
President of Vought's 787 Division Ted Perdue. "We've designed and
produced a major portion of the world's first all-composite aft
fuselage for a commercial airliner. Vought has once again
demonstrated its expertise as a leader in the development and
production of large advanced composite structures. Today is a
testament to the capability and excellence of our entire team, and
we are extremely proud to be a partner on the 787 program."
The two aft fuselage sections were initiated as "one piece
barrels," which were wound in Vought's composites facility in
Charleston, SC using advanced fiber placement technology. The
barrels were then "stuffed" with further structure and systems
components, and joined together with the aft pressure bulkhead to
make the end portion of the cabin and the structure that supports
Aft fuselage section 47 measures 19 feet in diameter, and 23
feet long. It is the last passenger section of the 787. Section 48,
measuring 14 feet in diameter and 15 feet long, includes the
pressure bulkhead and is the first cargo hold section of the
A custom-made transporter will carry the sections about 200
yards across the parking lot from Vought's facility to Global
Aeronautica, Vought's joint venture with Alenia North America.
There, the completed section will be wrapped and prepared for
shipping before being loaded onto the Boeing 747 Dreamlifter and
flown to Everett, WA.
The delivery is the culmination of work that is traced back to
2002 when Vought was named to Boeing's development team to help
provide advanced materials technologies for its next-generation
aircraft. A year later, Boeing announced Vought as a structural
partner for the Dreamliner, responsible for designing and building
aft fuselage sections 47 and 48.
Vought's production activities began last June, on the heels of
opening its new 342,000-square-foot manufacturing facility adjacent
to the Charleston International Airport. Vought has fabricated
seven aft fuselage production units and one developmental unit
since production began in South Carolina last year.
While the 787 is the first commercial airplane to be made
primarily of composites, the carbon fiber materials have been
widely used in military aircraft -- including the B-2, which Vought
helped design and manufacture. Other composite structures that
Vought builds include the Global Hawk UAV wing, the C-17 horizontal
stabilizer and nacelle, and the V-22 fuselage.