This just in from Japan: The first set of wings for the first 787 to be pieced together in North Charleston have touched down at the Boeing Co. campus.
The two, highly flexible composite airfoils for the new Dreamliner jet arrived early Wednesday, company spokesman Rob Gross said.
The wings were delivered from a Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. factory in Nagoya City, Japan, on a specially modified 747 cargo plane Boeing uses to pick up 787 parts from suppliers around the world.
‘They’re in a pre-integration position on the factory floor,’ Gross said, but the company would not allow The Post and Courier to photograph them.
He said employees are performing some minor work on the wings to prepare them for the next big task: attaching them to a fuselage.
Production work on the first South Carolina-made Dreamliner will start probably within the month, after the other key components are delivered to North Charleston.
Two of the primary pieces of equipment won’t have to travel far. Boeing already manufactures the aft fuselage for the 787 at its Charleston International Airport property. Also, local workers install wiring, tubing and other equipment in large midsections made in Italy.
The cockpit and forward passenger cabin will be delivered from Spirit AeroSystems in Kansas, and either General Electric or Rolls Royce will supply the two engines. The landing gear will come from France’s Messier-Dowty.
The buyer of the first 787 to roll off the local assembly line has not been disclosed. Gross said the first delivery is still on track for early 2012.
Plagued by numerous startup delays, the 787 is about three years behind schedule. That was one of the reasons Boeing invested $750 million to set up a secondary assembly line in North Charleston.
More than 800 planes have been sold so far.
Boeing’s main commercial aircraft plant in Everett, Wash., already is making the Dreamliner and is gearing up to turn out seven of the jets a month.
The North Charleston factory will assemble three a month by 2013.
‘We’re going to take a crawl, then walk, then run approach,’ Gross said. ‘But we’re going to be pretty deliberate on this first airplane.’