SEATTLE--Just hours after it showed its 787 Dreamliner simulator and Customer Experience Center on Thursday, Boeing announced another delay for its newest airplane. According to press release issued Thursday night, delivery of the first aircraft will move from the end of this year to the first quarter of 2011.
"The delivery date revision follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall," the statement said. "While Boeing works closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability, flight testing across the test fleet continues as planned." The company also cited workmanship issues with horizontal stabilizers made by a supplier.
This latest delay marks yet another setback for the 787 program, which has been in development since 2004. As the first major airliner to be built of composite carbon fiber materials, the Dreamliner aims to set records in fuel efficiency, flight range, and passenger comfort. But a machinists strike, supplier shortages, and a problem with the joint between the wing and the fuselage delayed the first test flight more than two years to last December.
Thursday's news comes three weeks after supplier Rolls Royce experienced a failure with a Trent 1000 engine, which is the model that powers the Dreamliner. It's unknown, however, if the two events are directly related.
Thursday morning, CNET joined other journalists with a virtual flight in the simulator and toured Boeing's training center in Renton, Wash., where it trains pilots, cabin crew, and mechanics of airline customers. CNET also toured the company's nearby Customer Experience Center, where aircraft buyers can see cabin mock-ups of the 787, 737, and 747-8.