HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Boeing Co. has completed a key test of the long-expected 787 jetliner, which an analyst called an "important sign of progress" Tuesday.
The Chicago-based aerospace giant said Monday it completed the test, five months after it delayed the first test flight and said it needed to reinforce small areas near the connection of the wings and fuselage.
During the recent test, the wing and trailing edges of the airframe were subjected to its limit load -- the highest loads expected, Boeing said.
Boeing said June 23 it was necessary to reinforce an area at the side-of-body section of the 787. The modifications were completed on the first two flight-test airplanes and the full-scale static test airplane earlier this month, Boeing said Monday.
Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, said Boeing will confirm the test results after completing an analysis.
Analyst Howard Rubel of Jefferies & Co. Inc. said in a client note Tuesday that the test "is an important milestone for the program."
Although passing a limit load test verified by an analysis of data "is no guarantee of a successful first flight, or of the program, it is an important sign of progress," Rubel said.
The airframe still needs to be stressed to 150 percent of the limit load, or the ultimate load, Rubel said. This certification requirement by the Federal Aviation Administration will not be completed until sometime next spring, he said.
He rates Boeing shares "Buy."