Boeing Dreamliner Near Assembly

The first 787 Dreamliner parts from Japan arrived Friday at Boeing Field aboard the converted 747 air freighter that Boeing has dubbed Dreamlifter.

The first load consisted of a forward fuselage section made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, plus a center wing box and wheel well, parts made by Fuji Heavy Industries and Kawasaki and joined by Fuji.

The load is ultimately bound for Charleston, S.C., where the entire midfuselage of the airplane will be assembled before delivery to Everett. On this initial delivery, the airplane stopped in Seattle to complete some flights with a load on board as part of the test program to certify the aircraft for regular service.

Boeing spokeswoman Mary Hanson said the transfer "went beautifully."

Certification of the Dreamlifter by the Federal Aviation Administration, originally expected in December, has been delayed until next month, Hanson said. That's due to "unexpected maintenance issues," she said, as well as extra work decided upon as a result of flight tests, including removal of the aircraft's winglets. In addition, some test flights were canceled due to recent bad weather.

Hanson said the delay will not affect the schedule for the first Dreamliner, which is due to roll out in Everett this summer.

In another sign that building of the 787 is drawing near, the second of three planned Dreamlifters rolled out of its modification hangar Jan. 7 in Taipei, Taiwan, this time sporting the distinctive new white and blue livery.

That airplane will take its first flight in the next several weeks and is scheduled to fly to Seattle next month.

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