Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Flightblogger: 787 Wing Fix Update

Flightblogger got another scoop on the 787 wing fix. It still boils down to the fact that Boeing is in the middle of designing the interim fix to allow certification of the 787 wing at the 150% load limit.

But a major consequence of the wing issue is the delay of final assembly of future 787s. Assembly has not stopped but has been slowed in order that Boeing has time to design, manufacture, test and implement the interim fix on the airplanes already in production without having to do too much of that work in Everett. Flightblogger is reporting that ZA101 which is the 2nd production aircraft will start final assembly before the end of July with production plane 9 starting final assembly around the fall time.

Flightblogger says that the interim fix could be installed in ZA001 as early as mid August and it would take about a month to for each airplane that has been assembled. A major concern is that the space on the assembled aircraft is already tight and will be difficult to access in order to install the fix. With about 40 airplanes throughout the supply chain that wold need the fix, Boeing and the suppliers need to figure out how best to implement the interim fix.

Also of importance is designing the permanent fix and figuring out when in the production cycle to implement that modification into the airplane. That will be important as Boeing and it's partners would not want to continue to do this remedial fix forever.

Flightblogger: 787 wing fix one month later

Now here's another interesting and somewhat related consequence of this structural issue. Roll Royce is designing a new low pressure turbine for the Trent 1000 engines in order to lower the sfc (Specific Fuel Consumption) of the engine which came in higher than expected.
It is now possible for the production standard 787 starting with ZA101 for ANA to be delivered with the improved Trents. In speaking with knowledgeable industry sources, they felt that Boeing and Rolls Royce can deliver the improved Trents starting with ZA101 (now in final assembly) and that ZA003 and ZA004 will also have the improved Trents for flight testing but not ZA001 or ZA002. Whether that actually comes to pass is anyone's guess but if the start of flight testing is delayed until early winter, it's a good bet on that happening.

No comments: