Boeing Delays Delivery of First 747-8 to Mid-2011

Low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions and an underperforming part adds another delay to troubled aircraft.

Aerospace giant Boeing said it was pushing back the delivery schedule for its new 747-8 cargo airplane to mid-2011 due to problems discovered during flight tests.

The first 747-8 Freighter had been scheduled for delivery to launch customer Cargolux, based in Luxembourg, in the fourth quarter of this year.

Boeing said in a statement on Sept. 30 that the postponement followed a thorough assessment of problems discovered in test flights, which include a low-frequency vibration in certain flight conditions and an underperforming aileron actuator, the movable airfoil at the trailing edge of an airplane wing.

While neither issue requires structural changes to the airplane, they have led to disruptions to certification testing, which the program was unable to offset within the prior schedule, the company said in a statement.

To support the new schedule, a fifth airplane will be added to the flight-test fleet, it said.

We recognize our customers are eager to add the 747-8 Freighter to their fleets, and we understand and regret any impact this schedule change may have on their plans to begin service with the airplane, said Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager, Airplane Programs, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The company said the new delivery schedule was not expected to have a material impact on its 2010 financial results.

Boeing launched the 747-8 Freighter on November 14, 2005, with firm orders for 18 of the fuel-efficient aircraft: 10 from Cargolux and eight from Nippon Cargo Airlines of Japan.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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