Monday, June 29, 2009
Mecham also said that for now Boeing along with Fuji and Mitsubishi may design and interim fix followed by a more permanent fix for the production models which might entail rework of the composite molds used to form the various structures of the aircraft.
I do believe it will be quite sometime before ZA001 is in the air, quite possibly not for another two to three months.
Design Issues Starting To Plague 787
Friday, June 26, 2009
Analyst do feel that this may be the start of a cycle of cancellations and deferrals for the 787 which is already in a precarious position with the new delay. Even though QANTAS denies the order adjustment has nothing to do with the newly announced delay, the timing is suspicious.
Flightblogger posted an analysis of QANTAS' 787 fleet changes where he talks about the competitive factors that lead to QANTAS' change in plans. He does note that QANTAS still holds firm orders for 50 787 with another 50 options.
Flightblogger's QANTAS article
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Aviation Week cites sources as saying that the second line announcement can come very soon and that North Charleston, SC has been chosen as the sight of the 2nd final assembly line. North Charleston does have the advantage of being nonunion as well as the locale for current 787 assembly activities done by Global Aeronautica (main fuselage integration) and Vought (rear fuselage fabrication and integration) as well established logistics capabilities and plenty of land to build a final assembly building near the current Vought and GA facilities. Boeing would have to only fly in the forward fuselage from Wichita and the wings from Japan (not counting the structures from Alenia in Italy and the structures from Fuji and Kawasaki in Japan that will go into the GA site as it currently does).
Predictably the Boeing Unions in Everett (SPEEA and IAM 751) are not happy at the prospect and they may have even more reason to worry in my opinion. If Boeing goes ahead with a South Carolina assembly plant, they could add enough space at that plant to possibly shift all 787 final assembly from Everett and there would be nothing that IAM or SPEEA could do about it especially if the new final assembly line is more efficient than the Everett line.
Aviation Week's 787 Second Line Article
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Finally he notes that the Airbus A380 wing failed one of it's certification tests and was required to have a reinforcement fixed also installed but this was after the plane had started it test flight and certification program.
Flightblogger: Understanding the 787 structural reinforcement
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
In a test where the wing was deflected, the strain gauge measurements were not following the predictive modeling that Boeing had developed for certain areas of the sider body join. Jon Ostrower had confirmed that the area in question are 18 small areas on each side of the aircraft at section 11 (center wingbox) and section 12 (main wingbox) are joined (upper wing root). There appeared to be some damage during this test that confirmed what the strain gauges had recorded. Unconfirmed report that there was some delamination of the skin at those areas.
In a conference call today Pat Shanahan and Scott Francher said that there are several areas each about 1 to 2 sq. inches that need to be reinforced.
At this point Boeing is understanding the root cause of the problem and and are concurrently working on several different designs to fix the problem. However they still cannot give guidance at this point for first flight and first delivery.
They still have to finalize a design then proceed with detailed design of the fix. Manufacture the parts and install them on ZY997 in order to be tested. If testing verifies the design then Boeing will retrofit all the 787 whether assembled, in final assembly, or within the supply chain with the required parts. Boeing said in the conference call that the parts will add a negligible amount of weight and should not effect aerodynamic performance of the aircraft. At one point Boeing was considering a temporary solution but decided on a permanent fix over a temporary one. Additionally, they said that ZA001 could have flown without any type of fix but did not want to risk it.
Testing and Production
Of great concern is how does this new issue effect further testing and production. ZA001 was on the verge of starting final gauntlet testing followed by taxi tests. Boeing stressed that those activities will continue in the coming days though I'm not sure if they would do the rejected take off (RTO) tests until after the reinforcements have been installed.
In terms of production Boeing said that the other 5 test flight airplanes will continue with their final assembly and testing activities as this issues affects none of those activities. ZA002 is out on the flight line and will soon turn on its engines and will continue with it's pre-flight ground tests as will the other test flight aircraft. They will pull them out of the assembly building when they are done to proceed with their test activities on the ground.
Additionally all production activities will continue uninterrupted whether that is at Everett final assembly or at any of the partner production sites. When the fix is finalized and in production, all airplanes will be retrofitted with these parts in the supply chain or on the tarmac.
Now this all leaves the 787 schedule up in the air. Scott Francher said that he will give a revised schedule outlook in a few weeks regarding first flight, certification and first delivery. Saj at fleetbuzzeditorial.com said he expects a two to three month delay pushing the entry into service to 2nd quarter of 2010. Lastly, with an unknown amount of time because of this new delay I wonder how Boeing will fill this time in order to retire risk and/or retire certification paperwork yet to be done but doesn't need actual flight time to complete it?
This story is part of the continuing saga of the 787 and I plan on continuing to be on top of it. You can read what my fellow bloggers have also written:
Fleetbuzzeditorial.com's 787 5th delay post
Flightblogger's 787 delay post
Mike Mecham's 787 article
Boeing Press Release:
Boeing Postpones 787 First Flight
EVERETT, Wash., June 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today announced that first flight of the 787 Dreamliner will be postponed due to a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft.
The need was identified during the recent regularly scheduled tests on the full-scale static test airplane. Preliminary analysis indicated that flight test could proceed this month as planned. However, after further testing and consideration of possible modified flight test plans, the decision was made late last week that first flight should instead be postponed until productive flight testing could occur.
First flight and first delivery will be rescheduled following the final determination of the required modification and testing plan. It will be several weeks before the new schedule is available. The 787 team will continue with other aspects of testing on Airplane #1, including final gauntlet testing and low-speed taxiing. Work will also continue on the other five flight test aircraft and the subsequent aircraft in the production system.
Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes said a team of experts has already identified several potential solutions.
"Consideration was given to a temporary solution that would allow us to fly as scheduled, but we ultimately concluded that the right thing was to develop, design, test and incorporate a permanent modification to the localized area requiring reinforcement. Structural modifications like these are not uncommon in the development of new airplanes, and this is not an issue related to our choice of materials or the assembly and installation work of our team," Carson said.
Boeing's financial guidance will be updated to reflect any impact of these changes when the company issues its second quarter 2009 earnings report in July.
Boeing will hold a conference call with Carson, Pat Shanahan, vice president and general manager of Airplane Programs, and Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, to discuss the 787 program today at 10:00 a.m. EDT, 7:00 a.m., PDT. A webcast of that call will be accessible at http://www.boeing.com/.
Yvonne Leach, Communications, 206-854-5027
Lori Gunter, Communications, 206-931-5919
Rob Young, Investor Relations, 312-544-2140
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Friday, June 19th to Sunday, June 21st : A series of 6 major ground tests. Initially this set of tests were supposed to be completed by Saturday but now has been pushed back to Sunday. Additionally, Pat Shanahan is supposed to have a flight readiness review on Saturday, June 20th.
Monday, June 22nd to Wednesday, June 24th - Final gauntlet testing lasting 48 hours. This testing meant to get a final check of all the 787's systems using a new release of the software that was modified after factory and intermediate gauntlet testing was completed and the necessary changes identified and written into the code.
Thursday, June 25th to Friday June 26th - This is the analysis of the data gathered by all the testing and final top to bottom and front to back inspection of the 787.
Saturday, June 27th - Taxi tests, this is an all day affair which will start with low speed taxi tests gradually building up to high speed taxi test and ending with rejected take off tests where the airplane will be bought to rotation speed or Vr and the nose wheel is lifted off the runway but the aircraft will not leave the ground.
Sunday, June 28th - If all goes well with the testing and analysis of the previous 9 days, this would be the day that ZA001 takes to the air. Mike Mecham reports that the plan is to fly the 787 for about five and a half hours but the first flight may last much loner than that. ZA001 will land at Boeing Field in downtown Seattle where it will be based for the remainder of the test program and where the test flight team is based.
Mike Mecham's 787 Report
Boeing will produce about 2 787s per month through this year and into 2010 (how far into 2010 is unknown). This is to make sure that any modifications and changes can flow up the supply chain without disrupting production in a significant way.
However Boeing is looking at ways to meet the demand and fulfill the current backlog. They can do this not only by increasing the production on the current line but also starting a 2nd final assembly line. Analyst predict that this 2nd assembly line won't be located in Everett but most likely in the South like South Carolina or Texas where labor won't be a problem to fulfilling the backlog. Pat Shanahan, in speaking to Jon Ostrower made that very clear that customers want an "assurance of delivery." In my opinion the IAM shot itself in the foot when they went on strike in September 2008. The ramifications of the strike will be realized in the next few months.
Now with a 2nd line also give Boeing an opportunity to bring some supplier work in house. In my opinion Boeing doesn't have to give work packages to suppliers in order to supply inventory to the 2nd production line. Instead they could set up a production facility with autoclaves to produce and pre-stuff the fuselage barrels for aircraft produced on the 2nd line. They probably won't do all the sections but I could see Boeing taking over the manufacture of the main fuselage sections and the rear fuselage sections from their current suppliers.
Already some of the suppliers are talking about the difficulties of ramping up production especially when they need more investment in order to do so. If Boeing hopes to produce 10/month or more by 2012 they would not only need to make sure that all production changes are incorporated successfully but that each supplier has all the necessary tooling and work force for the necessary production output which ultimately means more money needed by the suppliers.
Jon Ostrower's interview with Pat Shanahan
Seattle Time's article about production ramp up
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Matt Cawby's Blog entry
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
News Release Issued: June 17, 2009 6:32 PM EDT
Final Assembly Begins on First Boeing 787 Dreamliner for ANA
EVERETT, Wash., June 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Final assembly has begun on the first Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner destined for delivery to launch customer ANA (All Nippon Airways) of Japan.
ANA and Boeing launched the 787 program with a firm order for 50 of the all-new composite jetliner. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the first quarter of 2010.
Boeing and ANA celebrated the occasion with a traditional "Kagami wari" ceremony, the breaking open of a wooden "Taru" (sake barrel) lid with wooden mallets.
"This is a great day for the 787 team," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 Dreamliner program. "In 2004, ANA demonstrated great faith in Boeing and the 787 by placing the largest launch order for any new airplane in Boeing history. Since then, the ANA team has been an integral part of developing the 787 family of airplanes.
"Speaking for our entire global 787 team, including our partners, I'd like to say we are honored by ANA's commitment to the Dreamliner," Fancher said. "We look forward to our continued partnership as we prepare the 787 to enter commercial service."
"Congratulations to Boeing on the start of the historic assembly of the first 787 Dreamliner for commercial flight," said ANA President & CEO Shinichiro Ito. "As the launch customer, we are delighted and excited to see the achievement of this milestone and to have worked closely together to reach this day. We look forward to the start of the 787 flight test program and delivery into our fleet next year."
The 787 Dreamliner has 865 orders from 56 airlines, making it the fastest-selling all-new jetliner in aviation history.
Pictured from left to right are: Kinichiro Suetsugu, manager - ANA U.S. Engineering; Takeo Kikuchi, general manager - ANA U.S. Engineering; Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager - 787 program and Mike Fleming, director of Services and Support - 787 program.
More information: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/787family/
Web site: http://www.boeing.com/
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Wow lots of news coming out about the 787 today so where to start?
Let's start with ZA001's road to first flight. I got a lot of the information from Guy Norris two 787 reports today.
Pat Shanahan gave an update on the status of Boeing's Commercial Product Development today in Paris. In the briefing he indicated that first flight could be a lot closer than the end of the month. Currently ZA001 is undergoing engineering tests that should lead up to a flight readiness review and then to final gauntlet which would after the review. Pat Shanahan also warned that there is no margin left in the testing and certification schedule so if there are problems that are uncovered during flight testing then that moves the entry into service to the right. Pat Shanahan also said that Global Aeronautica continues to be the weak link in the supply chain with the main issues being the travelled work as well as incorporation of the design changes.
So far ZA001 has completed flight control checks on June 16th and today are going through hydraulic systems checks today. Additionally, ZA002 which was rolled out to the flightline on Sunday has already completed its first fueling tests.
Guy's 29th 787 Update
Guy's 30th 787 Update
Aviation Week - ZA002 roll out
Highlighting the readiness of ZA001 to fly, Scott Carson told Bloomberg that ZA001could fly today if they wanted to. They won't fly it of course until they have gone through further tests but this illustrates the confidence that Boeing has in the 787 and the maturity of the systems that are loaded on the aircraft. He stated that the aircraft did much better than anticipated during the recently completed gauntlet tests.
Bloomberg's 787 article
From Flightglobal, Jon Ostrower confirmed what I had suspected a few days ago...the LCF flew in the main fuselage section for ZA100. This is the first production aircraft for ANA and was apparently delivered with a banner that read "Building with pride, the first 787 for ANA." The wings for this aircraft has been moved into position and should be soon followed by the three fuselage sections according to Jon.
However, not all the news from Paris was positive for the 787. Qatar Airways is upset over the delays and Boeing's treatment of them. He threatened to pull the 60 plane order for the 787 if Boeing doesn't start to address their concerns. My opinion...Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airway's CEO has been more impartial to Airbus thus he would always see Boeing in a harsher light. I consider him a wind bag who has to say outrageous things in order for him to stay relevant but unfortunately for a Boeing, he is someone that they would have to take seriously if they want to preserve their order.
Flight's Qatar Airways 787 story
Monday, June 15, 2009
News Release Issued: June 15, 2009 1:28 PM EDT
Second Boeing 787 Dreamliner Moves to Flight Line
EVERETT, Wash., June 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The second Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner has moved to the flight line to begin fuel testing. This is the second of six 787s being used in the all-new airplane's flight-test program.
"Momentum continues to build with each milestone achieved," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 Dreamliner program.
Each of the six flight-test airplanes will be used for a specific set of tests during the flight-test program. This airplane, designated ZA002, will focus on systems performance. Like its predecessor, ZA001, this airplane has successfully completed a rigorous series of tests while still in the factory. Fuel testing began immediately upon the airplane entering the fuel dock.
ZA002 features the livery of the Dreamliner's launch customer, ANA (All Nippon Airways) of Japan.
"ANA will be the first to fly the 787 Dreamliner in commercial service," Fancher noted. "We are honored to fly in ANA livery throughout the flight-test program as a tribute to our partnership in bringing this all-new airplane to market."
The 787 Dreamliner has 865 orders from 56 airlines.
787 Dreamliner Communications
Well Boeing gave some more information into when the Dreamliner will finally leave the ground through it was hardly earth shattering news. First the first flight was not going to be event driven (ie not fly during the air show) but rather fly when it's ready to fly. This has been Boeing's mantra since August 2007.
Secondly, Scott Carson did say that it'll fly on June 30th which is the end of the 2nd quarter. Again not earth shattering news from Boeing. Jon Ostrower did post that it is possible that the schedule can be bought forward from June 30th, he cited program sources.
Now according to Jon's post (also from program sources), the way things are laid out over the next two weeks are as follow:
Now until through this weekend: preps for final gauntlet testing
Early next week: final gauntlet testing (about 2 days in length)
Middle of next week to the end of the week (June 25 or 26th): Inspections of 787 prior to start of taxi tests
Late next week through the weekend of June 27th-28th): taxi tests (787 moves under it's own power)
June 3oth: In the air
Now this is a zero margin schedule and as Jon said, it could move to the left depending on how further testing goes.
Jon also reported that Boeing and the partners in the supply chain agreed that all travelled work would be eliminated by airplane 14 which should be in final assembly by the end of this year. Alenia North America chief Giuseppe Giordo also said in Paris that it still takes Global Aeronautica about 300 days to finish the main fuselage section of the 787 but they are working on reducing that number. This probably accounts for all the sections flowing into the GA assembly sight in Charleston.
Guy Norris also put out an update on the 787 this morning. The first flight fuel verification testing that was supposed to take place today was actually completed on Sunday thus allowing for Boeing to proceed to the testing of the flight control system today (June 15th) with a focus on the tail and full deflection testing of the horizontal stabilizers (tail feathers). Guy also said that a few tests were completed on ZA002 in advance of it being rolled out of the hanger and to the fuel dock. According to my information, that was to have happened last night but I have not received verification of that yet.
Jon's 787 Update from Paris
Guy's 28th 787 Update
First of all, and not entirely unexpected, Boeing will be offering up both the 767 and the 777 (presumably the 777F) for the USAF tanker competition against the EADS KC-330 tanker. Thus the tanker saga which has been years in the making continues to get interesting. It'll get it's own Lifetime TV movie by the time it's all done.
Next, Boeing's Commercial Airplanes Chief, Scott Carson, commented on the 777 future and said that Boeing might look at re-winging the popular twin in order to get more range in order to remain competitive with the A350 (specifically the A350-900 and A350-1000). Now it all comes to costs of redesigning the wing vs an all new design to supplant the 777 and remain competitive with the A350. Carson also did not rule out a larger 787 (the 787-10) which would seat about 310 people in a three class configuration. This aircraft would compete with the A350-900 while a re-winged 777-300ER would compete against the A350-1000. Before any of this can happen though, Boeing has to get the 787-8 into the air and into flight testing which will be the subject of another post.
Sunday, June 14, 2009
All this and the progress of ZA001 before the start of the Paris Air Show would give Boeing a lot to talk about during the press briefings on Monday and Tuesday.
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Guy's 27th 787 update
Friday, June 12, 2009
Matt Cawby's photograph
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
787 flight is imminent by Jon Ostrower
Sources have told me that first flight for 787 is being targeted for June 24th. I am trying to confirm. This is all contingent upon Boeing finishing up all needed ground testing and no unexpected problems crop up as a result.
Please remember that this date is a moving target and not set in stone.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Randy Tinseth give Boeing's perspective on the 787s intermediate gauntlet testing in his blog. What's very interesting is that when the test crew is buttoned up inside the 787 doing the gauntlet tests they're served meals and have full use of the airplanes' lavatories!
Lastly, Boeing released three videos of the gauntlet testing which are very fascinating to watch and give an idea of what the flight test team is doing to prepare for first flight.
Guy's 26th 787 Update Report
Randy's Journal - Learning to Fly
Getting to Gauntlet
Video Courtesy of Boeing
Going Through Gauntlet
Video Courtesy of Boeing
Men and Women of Gauntlet
Video Courtesy of Boeing
Monday, June 8, 2009
Jon also reported that ZA002 completed tests of its navigation system. ZA002 could be on the fuel dock as early as Tuesday for its fueling tests and calibration as well as spooling up its APU for the first time.
Flightblogger: Intermediate gauntlet complete
Sunday, June 7, 2009
Realising the 787 dream
The process now moves to a systems test monitoring evaluation which Guy says should pave the way for the start on final gauntlet testing.
Guy's 25th 787 Update.
Friday, June 5, 2009
ZA002 will be testing part of the navigation system called the earth reference system (ERS). Hopefully this airplane should be towed out to the fuel dock to go through fueling tests. I believe that ZA002 is still slated to fly about 3 weeks after ZA001. This could put ZA002's first flight around the first week of July.
ZA003 flight crew is undertaking more simulation training in the ITV, specifically on handling smoky situations arising from the forward and aft cargo bulk holds.
Guy's 787 Update #24
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
Both Guy and Jon are reporting that Boeing is on block 14 and block 15 which covers environmental controls and more common core systems (CCS) testing today. On Thursday will see electrical systems tests, as well as pilot conditions tests and a final CCS test which will go into early Friday morning.
ZA002 is progressing through it's factory gauntlet and should be out by the fuel dock to go through the similar fueling tests that ZA001.
Additionally, Jon is reporting that the main fuselage section for ZA100, the first production aircraft for ANA, is being kept at Charleston, SC to finish off work and to ensure that there isn't any travelled work.
Flightblogger June 3rd Report
Guy's 23rd 787 Report
Here's a video from Liz Matzelle of Dreamliner 1 undergoing gauntlet tests on the Boeing ramp:
They say that they are capable of making 7/month right now but they'll be doing 2/month for the 2nd half of 2009 and for 2010 or until Boeing give them a go for increasing beyond the 2/month rate. The last section they'll deliver this year will be for LN17.
So that automatically says that Boeing expects to produce 2 787s per month until the end of 2010 it seems though if they could up that rate before the end of 2010 I'm sure they'll do that. To me that doesn't sound very promising for their earnings in 2010.
Spirit does plan to up production to 7/month later on but didn't give a time frame as to when that will happen. Boeing has said that it expects to hit 10/month production rate sometime in 2012.
Jon posted an update to his blog:
Jon's Spirit Update
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
I do expect that ZA002 will go through gauntlet testing as will ZA005 which is the first GEnx airplane. I'm not sure about the other test airplanes but they will eventually go through some period of pre-flight testing before their first flights. I'm still maintaining my prediction for first flight after the Paris Air Show and specifically around June 19th (note: I erroneously put the 9th, duhhh).
Boeing will make it June 18th just to spite me. Just kidding Boeing!
Guy's 22nd 787 post.
Monday, June 1, 2009
Boeing also confirmed the start of the tests on Randy Tinseth's blog that was posted last night. In his blog, Randy says that they won't expect to put out any more progress reports over the next few days as they're busy getting and analyzing data during this testing. Randy also linked to a great video of the first engine run on ZA001.
Flightblogger posting confirming start of intermediate gauntlet testing.
Randy's Blog: The Gauntlet Begins