Final Assembly Begins on Third MD-95 Twinjet

Final assembly of the third MD-95 test airplane -- known as T-3 -- has begun at the Douglas Products Division of Boeing Commercial Airplane Group.

T-3's center fuselage barrel was lowered onto the wing and then laser aligned, marking the traditional start of airplane assembly. Workers have also loaded and aligned T-3's aft and forward barrel sections, as well as the empennage. After the nose is attached and aligned, the landing gear assemblies will be installed and then the airplane will be ready to go "on rubber."

The second MD-95 test airplane stood on its own wheels for the first time on Oct. 31; the first airplane was lowered onto its landing gear June 25.

The MD-95-30 twinjet was launched in October 1995. It was designed to replace thousands of 100-seat airplanes now in service and meet the needs of fleet expansion.

There are 14 global supplier-partners on the program. Alenia, in Naples, Italy, produces the airplane's fuselage sections. The Boeing facility in Toronto, Canada, is building the wings, but beginning in 1998 they will come from Hyundai Space and Aircraft Co. in Seosan, Korea.

The Boeing Co.'s Salt Lake City, Utah, plant has delivered empennages for the first three test airplanes. In Taiwan, the Aero Industry Development Center is producing empennages for the production models. The first nose came from Boeing's Huntington Beach, Calif., facility, while the others are being produced by Korean Aerospace in Pusan, Korea.

In Dahlewitz, Germany, BMW Rolls-Royce has completed BR715 engine cross-wind tests, as well as endurance and thrust reverser cycling testing.

The MD-95-30 is scheduled to be ready for first delivery in June 1999, after a year-long flight-test program and joint certification by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States and the Joint Airworthiness Authorities of Europe. AirTran Airlines is the launch customer with 50 firm orders and 50 options.