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December 21, 2011

That Was Fast: Boeing’s First South Carolina-Built 787 Rolls Down Assembly Line

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The first South Carolina-built 787 moves to Final Assembly Position 3 early in the morning of Dec. 18, shortly after achieving weight on wheels for the first time

Barely two years after construction began on a second Boeing 787 production facility in South Carolina, the first Dreamliner to be built there has reached its “weight on wheels” milestone.

The composite plane, set for delivery in the first half of 2012, rolled with the help of a tug to the next position on the assembly line. There, many of its electronic, hydraulic and mechanical systems will be installed, as well as the engines and the interior.

“Our Boeing South Carolina team has achieved another significant milestone, putting weight on wheels,” said Jack Jones, Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager. “This is a result of both great local talent and dedication and talent and knowledge assembled from across Boeing Commercial Airplanes.”

“To achieve weight on wheels just 24 months after breaking ground on this new facility is incredible,” said Marco Cavazzoni, Boeing South Carolina Final Assembly and Delivery vice president and general manager. “This is a great testament to what can be done when a well-trained, knowledgeable and highly motivated team focuses on a common goal.”

Boeing faced outcries from labor leaders for its decision to build the new plant in South Carolina, a right-to-work state, rather than in its union-friendly homebase of Washington. The National Labor Relations Board filed a suit against Boeing, claiming that the South Carolina facility was built in retaliation for strikes by its unionized employees in Washington. The NLRB recently dropped that action after Boeing’s machinists agreed to a new contract.

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