Dreamliner test engine breaks apart


EVERETT, WA – The Boeing Company made an announcement today saying that it now expects delivery of the first 787 in the middle of the first quarter 2011.

According to Boeing, the delivery date revision follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall. While Boeing works closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability, flight testing across the test fleet continues as planned.

However, the LA Times has reported that the new delay is largely because of the failure of a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 test engine, which broke apart internally while being run on a ground-test stand at the engine maker’s plant in Derby, England, this month.

The failure was first reported on the website of Flight International trade magazine last week, and both Boeing and Rolls-Royce Group have declined to comment.

Boeing spokesman Jim Proulx said Thursday night that only Rolls-Royce would provide details of the engine failure. Rolls-Royce did not return phone calls inquiring about the problem’s extent.

Boeing said last month that the cumulative impact of a series of issues, including supplier workmanship issues related to the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, could push first delivery of the 787 a few weeks into 2011. The delay in engine availability has extended that estimate to mid-first quarter 2011.