Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30 787 Update

Now that we're at the end of July I thought that it would be a good time to look at some articles that have recently come out regarding the 787 since the earnings call last week. Many people were disappointed that Boeing doesn't have any new schedule ready as of now. They said that the new schedule will be ready during the third quarter (of this year I think) so we'll see by September 30th what will happen.

Start things off, Flightblogger reported that because of the need to modify the brake control monitoring software due to overheating of some of the braking elements during a high energy (trying to stop a heavy and fast aircraft), there is a conflict between Boeing and Crane who wrote the code over who should pay for it. Crane claims that they delivered into Boeing the software they needed and that their production costs already exceeded their initial projects without and of the needed redesigns. There are a lot of revealing comments in Flightbloggers posting.

Flightblogger: Boeing and Crane

Next up, Guy Norris reports that despite the wing issues, Boeing is still doing some ground testing on the 787. Guy reported that Boeing is continuously testing upgrades to the 787 software during a Wedge Regression Test (don't ask me what that is).

Guy's July 24th 787 Update

Third, Mike Mecham, Joe Anselmo and Guy Norris talked about Boeing's lack of a schedule for the 787 and the implications (financial and otherwise). they cite skeptical analyst who believe that the schedule will move further to the right as well as the possible implications regarding costs associated with the fix and testing that has to be done.

Aviation Week's 787 Schedule Elusiveness

Batting clean up, is Dominic Gates and the Seattle Times with further analysis of the side of body issue and the seriousness of the problem (which appears to be more severe then initially revealed). In the article, Dominic Gates says that there was damaged done not just to the wing boxes (the main wing structure) but also to the center wing box which is in the fuselage. Damage occurred not at ultimate load (150%) but at a load much lower than that which explains why Boeing decided (for good reason) not to proceed with flight testing. The flight envelope would have been so limiting that it would have been useless to fly any test flights since the data collected would have been minimal. It seems from reading the article that Boeing would have to reinforce not only the wing side but the fuselage side of the side of body.

Seattle Times: 787 Wing flaw extends to inside of plane

Fifth, Boeing had moved ZA001 to the paint hanger for preliminary work before the installing the reinforcement fix. Flightblogger had said that Boeing did plan to move ZA001 into the paint hanger for the fix and that the fix may be installed as early as mid August. Aircraft ZA001 has since been moved back out to the flightline. Parts for ZA102 (third production 787) has already arrived save for the rear fuselage (as far as I know). Final assembly should be getting underway soon. My last note is that the large cargo freighters (LCF) have been making a lot of runs as of late though as I said before, it's hard to know what's, if anything, is being transported unless you have someone there photographing the loading and unloading of the aircraft.

Lastly, Boeing just completed the transfer of Vought's 787 operations today and will now be known as Boeing Charleston.

News Release Issued: July 30, 2009 2:00 PM EDT

Boeing Completes Acquisition of Vought Operations in South Carolina

SEATTLE, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced today the completion of the acquisition of the business and operations conducted by Vought Aircraft Industries at its South Carolina facility, where a key structure for the 787 Dreamliner is built. The acquisition agreement was announced originally on July 7.
The newly acquired facility, located in North Charleston, will be called Boeing Charleston. Boeing Charleston will be managed by the 787 program as a wholly owned subsidiary. Boeing Charleston will continue to perform fabrication, assembly and systems installation for 787 aft fuselage sections, which are made primarily of composite materials.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

ZA101 to start final assembly soon

The second production 787 ZA101 bound for ANA will soon enter final assembly at Boeing's Everett plant. The forward fuselage section for this aircraft was delivered on Friday, July 24th and the main fuselage section was delivered this afternoon, Sunday, July 26th. This sections join the wings along with the tail/rudder and the horizontal stabilizer that are already in building 40-26. The rear fuselage has yet to be delivered but should be soon. Final assembly activities should get underway soon. Flightblgger had earlier reported on this as well as saying that parts for the ninth 787 won't arrive until sometime in August and parts for the tenth plane won't arrive until sometime in October. The slow down is attributable to the side of body structural issue that Boeing revealed on June 23, 2009.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Seattle Times: 787 May Not Fly This Year

In an article that echoed Flightblogger's post yesterday, Dominic Gates of the Seattle Times reported that the 787 may not be ready to fly this year due to the required fix needed to the side of body join. I reported earlier that the detail design of the fix itself would take two months followed by manufacture and testing of the fix. Adding to the complication is accessibility to install the new parts. The design of the parts can also complicate the ramp up to full production of the 787 because of the time needed to retrofit the parts in airplanes already assembled as well as those still back in the supply chain. Boeing wants to avoid retrofitting too many assembled aircraft.

However, looking at the LCF flights that Boeing and Evergreen have been flying, there seems to be quite a bit of activity. Granted some of these flight might be training flights and/or repositioning of transport fixtures for the various parts, the activity could also mean an increase in activity especially with regards to build up of the main fuselage section which is still an issue in terms of the build up time.

Seattle Times: 787 May Not Fly This Year

787 Tid Bits from Boeing

With today 2nd quarter earnings release from Boeing we also got a little bit more information on the status of the 787.

1) Boeing will release a revised schedule sometime during the 3rd quarter (of this year).
2) Boeing has identified a fix and have conducted some very initial testing
3) The fix they have chosen is straight forward
4) Boeing is looking at ways to carefully implement the fix in the aircraft. This confirms Flightblogger's earlier post that the accessibility to the area needed to install the fix is going to be difficult. Boeing says that they won't sacrifice quality of the 787 for speed though.
5) The new delays will be putting pressure on the 787 profitability (though I'm not sure if that's overall profitability or short term profitability).
6) McNerney says that the787 issue is a local issue with a localized fix needed. This is not an issue with the overall wing design.
7) Boeing says that certification work is still ongoing.
8) Positive news - ZA003 and ZA004 have had power on

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.

747 and 787

UPDATE 2: Boeing sent out a press release about Z005. This is a scheme that will be painted on the other three test flight airplanes as well to save time and money. Also ZA005's GEnx engines are back with GE so they can add modifications to the engines.

EVERETT, Wash., July 21, 2009 -- The fifth Boeing [NYSE:BA] 787 Dreamliner flight test airplane has been unveiled sporting a special Boeing livery.

Painted white with blue accents, the new livery incorporates visual and color elements from the distinctive blue-and-white Boeing Commercial Airplanes livery seen on the first 787 flight test airplane and other new commercial models. The simplified paint scheme will be applied to the three remaining unpainted flight test airplanes (Nos. 3, 4 and 6). Airplane No. 2 has been painted in the colors of launch customer ANA of Japan.

The modified livery, which saves time and expense compared to the full Boeing livery, will remain on the airplane until the flight test program is completed and it is refurbished and delivered to a customer.

The airplane’s two GEnx engines have been temporarily removed and returned to GE Aviation so that planned minor improvements can be made.
# # #
Neg. K64750-03 and K64750-02
Marc Birtel

787 Communications+1 425-266-5822

UPDATE: Flightblogger just updated his site with information on ZA005 which is the first 787 with GE engines. It was painted in a modified Dreamliner scheme however the aircraft doesn't have it's engines on and will be returned to building 40-26.

Flightblogger ZA005 post

Well some more news out of Boeing today. The first 747-8 is in position to start the final body join with the forward section, center section and wings and the aft section. In the picture released by Boeing, you can see the length of the newest member of the 747 family. Also note the landing gear in the foreground of the photograph.

My guess for the 747-8F first flight is around September-October time frame.

Here's Boeing's Press Release:

News Release Issued: July 21, 2009 8:00 AM EDT
First Boeing 747-8 Freighter
Takes Shape
EVERETT, Wash., July 21 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) took a major step closer this week toward completing the assembly of the first 747-8 Freighter as mechanics at the factory in Everett, Wash. loaded the forward and aft fuselage sections to join with the wing and center section.
"It is exciting to see this airplane taking shape," said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 Program. "The 747-8 is the largest commercial jet airplane we have assembled. This final body join provides us the first real look at the size of the 747-8 Freighter."
The 747-8 Freighter is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long, which is 18 feet and 4 inches(5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared to its predecessor. That translates to four additional main-deck pallets and three additional lower-hold pallets. The 747-8 Freighter is the new high-capacity 747 that will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. Boeing has secured 78 orders from leading cargo operators for the new 747-8 Freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have placed orders for the airplane.
Peter Conte
Everett Programs
+1 425-294-6102
and caption are available here:
SOURCE: Boeing
Web site:


Matt Cawby got a picture of what appears to be ZA005 out at the fuel dock at Everett. The aircraft is sandwich between a DHL 767F and a Korean Air 777-300ER. Flightblogger had earlier reported that ZA005 had gone to the paint shop (ZA006 is on the 767 building) so this aircraft must be ZA005 which is the first 787 with GE engines. Interesting to note the paint scheme which is not any customer airline livery like ZA002 and not the Dreamliner scheme that is on ZA001 but it seems to be a generic Boeing the "787" on the tail. Wish that DHL 767 can move out of the way!!!

Matt Cawby's pic of ZA005

Matt also got a picture of the fatigue test airframe (ZY998) outside of building 40-51 on Sunday. Testing on this ariframe probably won't start until the side of body fix is installed but it is outside as it left the 747 line.

Matt Cawby's pic of ZY998

Lastly, I got unconfirmed word last night that design of the side of body fix would take about 2 months not including time to manufacture and test the fix on ZY997 (static test airframe). It does seem that first flight may not take place until late this year and first delivery may not occur until the third quarter of 2010 though we're all still waiting for Boeing's official word on that.

Monday, July 20, 2009

One Small Step....

Today marks the 40th anniversary of a mind boggling milestone. 50 years ago people would not believe that humans had the capability and the drive to send human to the moon and return them safely back to Earth. But it was feat that was done and repeated 5 more times not counting the two flights to the moon that preceded Apollo 11. This is an important milestone not only for the US but for the human race. It reminds us that anything is possible and the the realm of the impossible can be actually overcome by human endurance, persistence, ingenuity and intelligence. It redefined our view of not only ourselves and our capabilities but also our view of the universe.

Today the US and other nations are looking at the moon again and further out to Mars but it won't be any easier or less expensive compared to the feat 40 years ago despite advances in computer technology, safety systems and materials. NASA is aiming to return US astronauts to the moon by 2020 though they have a very long way to go and numerous technical challenges yet to overcome with the Ares I, Ares V, Orion CEV and the LSAM vehicles that will get them there. It now all depends on our willingness to expend time, material and, more importantly, money if we want to get there. The President and Congress has the fate of this endeavor in their hands just as they did back in the 60's. I hope we have the perseverance to see it through.

On a personal note, 20 years ago in March 1989, Neil Armstrong paid a visit to Columbia University's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. It was special moment for me as an a student and someone who has held a lifelong fascination and interest not just in aviation but space. Meeting and talking to Neil Armstrong is something that I still replay in my mind. What is fascinating the most was his ease at speaking to us and the fact that he wanted to share in experiences. It was as if he felt at home and comfortable surrounded by aspiring engineers at the school. The discussions not only focused on Apollo 11 but also what he did before and after NASA (like the Rodger's Commission to investigate the Challenger Accident). One particular memorable story didn't even have anything to do with Apollo 11 but about his time as a test pilot at Edwards Air Force Base. He was flying in the front seat of a two seat jet aircraft (forgot the type) with none other than Chuck Yeager in the rear seat. Well they had to land because of an unspecified emergency and after they landed found themselves stuck. Neil Armstrong remembers Chuck Yeager laughing in the back seat because Armstrong got themselves stuck in the mud and couldn't get free no matter how much thrust he throttled. A great story by a man who is not embarrassed to talk about it. It also bought home how involved he was with other great of aviation and how he himself helped advance aviation and spacecraft design himself.

787 round up - July 20

I've been out of commission for a week or so but I with the 787 essentially out of commission as well until the side of body structural issue is resolved there won't be too much information coming out. I am hoping that Boeing will have more information on the 787 this Wednesday when they release 2nd quarter earnings and have their quarterly conference call.

Flightblogger reported a major line move with ZA005 going to the paint hangar and ZA006 going to the 767 final assembly line in building 40-24. ZA003 still appears to be on the 747 line in building 40-23. Curiously ZA004 is still in 40-26 in position 4 on the 787 line and ZA100 is still in position 1. At this point ZA100 should have been structurally assembled so I'm wondering if Boeing is holding ZA100 in position 1 until the structural reinforcements are manufactured and installed. Lastly Flightblogger also reported that the wings for ZA101, the second production 787 are in Everett. No word on when final assembly will begin on that airplane though there are now two open positions in the 787 final assembly line.

Flightblogger: Factory Shuffle

Guy Norris is back with a few updates too! To date Boeing has conducted tests on the Crew Alerting System on the ZA001 (EICAS) and the multifunction displays (MFD). These tests were conducted around Ju;y 9th.

Guy's July 9th 787 Update

Soon after those tests, Guy noted in a July 13th report that ground testing has slowed down considerably but tests were conducted on the stall warning system, electronic engine control interface connections, navigation radios, and verification of the airspeed indication system. All this took place on ZA001 while ZA002 had more engines and systems tests done on her.

Guy's July 13th 787 Update

Finally on July 16th Guy reported that testing seemed to have picked up a bit on both ZA001 and ZA002. ZA001 will check the speed of stowing the aircraft's movable surfaces as well as their position when they're moved. There was fuel system ground verification testing as well as flight control systems checks and functional check outs done last week. ZA002 saw high lift testing being done using the APU and later engine power.

Guy's July 16th 787 Update

Lastly, Flightglobal has a nice article related to the upcoming fight for the 2nd 787 production line. My feeling is that unless IAM, SPEEA, and the State of Washington all do something dramatic, this line will be in Charleston, SC. There will be some great advantages like being able to supply European, Middle Eastern and African customers from the East Coast while South Asian, Far East Asia, and Australia will be supplied from Everett. Another twist is that 787-9 could be in Charleston though with a smaller backlog compared to the 787-8 I don't see this as being cost efficient for Boeing.

Flightglobal article on the 2nd 787 assembly line

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Flightblogger: More video and pics from yesterday's 787 taxi tests

Flightblogger, Jon Ostrower, obtained more pics and video from yesterday's taxi tests of ZA001.

More video and photos of the taxi test.

Also check out Randy Tinseth's blog where there are more photos and a great video. You tell how quiet the 787 is as it's doing the RTO going past the camera!!

Right Down The Line

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Editorial: 7/7/09: A good day for the 787

Two year ago Boeing rolled out the 787 on 7/8/07 in a huge media event emceed by Tom Brokaw. Boeing was very proud of what they had accomplished to that point. The two years that followed was not something they wanted to crow about. Neither was the announcement in late June about another delay to the 787 that heard collective groans from airline executives, Wall Street, shareholders, Boeing employees and aviation enthusiasts around the world waiting for this plane to finally soar.

This last delay seemed more insulting, the cherry on the top of all the other delays (that's optimistic being after the cherry you can't add another layer) since it came so close to first flight and only a week after Scott Carson pronounced his confidence that ZA001 would fly by June 20, 2009. It was like Boeing was the gang that couldn't shoot straight. However the public perception, people have to understand that designing, building and testing airplanes, especially one with as much new cutting edge technology that the 787 has, is no easy feat.

Yesterday was a good day for the 787 program coming two years after rollout. It was a good day for two reasons:

1) The 787 finally moved on its own power in a series of low speed taxi tests which included low speed RTO (rejected takeoff) tests. These tests continued into Tuesday evening around 10 PM. These taxi tests followed the successful conclusion of final gauntlet testing which concluded on the evening of July 2nd before the 4th of July weekend. You can read Boeing's discussion of the final gauntlet testing here.

2) By far the biggest news and, in my opinion, the best news came from Charleston, SC when Boeing and Vought announced the sale of Vought's 787 work share and assets to Boeing. This makes Boeing more responsible for the fabrication and integration of 787 assemblies compared to what they originally envisioned in 2003 when they launched the 787 program. A lot of the 787 program is experimental and new. This not only includes the technology but the production system that Boeing had decided upon. Now this is where risk management comes in. Boeing's purchase of Vought's 787 unit and their purchase of Vought's share of Global Aeronautica is an exercise in risk management. They recognize the weakest link in their supply chain and in the end effected the necessary actions by which they could more directly control the situation. To be clear, Vought had made great improvements at the facility in Charleston as demonstrated by improved build quality and greater completion (less traveled work) of the 787 rear fuselage being sent to Everett. However, where the risk lay was in Vought's precarious financial situation and doubts about them being able to effectively and efficiently ramp up production. Vought had its doubts, Boeing had it doubts and the result was today's announcement.

Today's action by Boeing demonstrates that Boeing will not let this program fail. The projected costs of purchasing Vought's 787 site is estimated to be about $1 billion ($580 million paid to them directly plus the release of Vought from repaying advances that Boeing had given Vought for its 787 work). Clearly this kind of cash outlay represents Boeing determination to make the 787 program the cornerstone of the company for the foreseeable future. They cannot let this program fail. Now some will point to the assumption of Vought's 787 operations as proof positive that the 787 production model of outsourcing and systems integration is drastically flawed. Boeing purchase of Vought's share of Global Aeronautica is another example of Boeing proactive risk management.

But then how can they explain that other suppliers are doing well within this new production framework? MHI, FHI and KHI continue to build and deliver their work packages and are reducing traveled work. Spirit has been the brightest spot amongst the supplier partners with no more traveled work in the forward fuselage sections that are sent to Everett. And Alenia which had some quality problems very early on is performing very well. This indicates that, after the teething problems and the learning curve ramp up, Boeing's supplier partners are doing well and is vindicating the production model for the 787. Boeing did fail initially in overestimating the capabilities of the supplier base to quickly design test and build the composite structures and other breakthrough technologies for this aircraft and this is what put them in the hole. They had redeploy assets to get the supply base back in line thus from a risk management perspective the reacted accordingly and I believe they will continue to do so. I don’t think they’ll bring in more of the manufacturing work in house save for Global Aeronautica if they don’t show substantial progress ahead of the production ramp up.

Lastly, there continues to be speculation if this move will lead to the 2nd production line (it’s a matter of when not if) being located anywhere but Everett. (Scott Hamilton wrote a piece yesterday regarding the 2nd line). There is a lot of compelling arguments for locating the 2nd line Charleston which has been wrote about ad nauseum and thus I won't repeat it here but I do beleive that Boeing will decide later this year to locate the 2nd line in Charleston for the those reasons. Once the 2nd line is established and producing 787s, Boeing 787 backlog would be eased considerably, though that will all depend on the supplier's ability to produce enough throughput to supply both lines at the same time. If successful, it all started with Boeing taking control of the situation in Charleston with Vought.

787 finally moves on its own power

Another UPDATE (7:00 pm EDT): Boeing confirmed to me that they did low speed RTO (rejected takeoff) tests but they did not do any high speed runs today.
Video from KOMO News in Seattle:

BREAKING: Flightblogger just tweeted that ZA001 also performed high speed taxi tests today and RTO test without the nose wheel leaving ground. This is unexpected.

I just got confirmation that ZA001 has started taxi tests and is now driving around Paine Airport on its own power.

Flightblogger also has pics on his blog which also confirms that start of taxi tests. When these tests are complete, ZA001 will have to wait until the side of body join fix is designed and manufactured before it can go on to high speed taxi tests and RTO (Rejected Take Off) tests and then first flight. Still no word on that front.

Flightblogger: First 787 Taxi Pics

Boeing: Boeing Announces Agreement to Acquire Vought Operations in South Carolina

Just hot off the press from Boeing:

Boeing Announces Agreement to Acquire Vought Operations in South

-- Accelerates productivity and efficiency within 787 supply chain
--Bolsters Boeing capability to develop and produce large composite structures
-- Vought continues relationship with Boeing on range of programs

SEATTLE, July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced today that it has agreed to acquire the business and operations conducted by Vought Aircraft Industries at its South Carolina facility, where Vought builds a key structure for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner airplane.

The Vought facility, located in North Charleston, performs fabrication and assembly of structures and systems installation of 787 aft fuselage sections, which are made primarily of composite materials. After the transaction, Vought will continue its work on many Boeing programs, including other components of the 787, as well as structures and components on the 737, 747, 767, 777, C-17 and V-22 through operations located elsewhere.

"Integrating this facility and its talented employees into Boeing will strengthen the 787 program by enabling us to accelerate productivity and efficiency improvements as we move toward production ramp-up," said Scott Carson, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "In addition, it will bolster our capability to develop and produce large composite structures that will contribute to the advancement of this critical technology."

"We take great pride knowing that we have been able to satisfy the technological and physical demands of the 787 program alongside much larger companies," said Elmer Doty, president and CEO of Vought Aircraft Industries. "However, the financial demands of this program are clearly growing beyond what a company our size can support. We are pleased that we will continue our 787 involvement at a component manufacturing level, as well as provide ongoing technical capabilities that have helped make Charleston a world-class composite facility."

Through the agreement, Boeing will acquire the North Charleston facility, its assets and inventory and will assume operation of the site, and the parties will resolve all matters related to Vought's prior work on the 787 program. The cash consideration to be paid to Vought at closing is approximately $580 million. In addition, Boeing will release Vought from its obligations to repay amounts previously advanced by Boeing. Separately, Boeing entered into new agreements with Vought for work packages on the 737, 777 and 787.

This transaction is anticipated to close in the third quarter following satisfaction of customary closing conditions, including consent from Vought's lenders.

Once acquired, the North Charleston facility will be managed by the 787 program. "We look forward to welcoming the South Carolina team to Boeing and continuing our relationship with Vought to bring the most value to the 787 and our other programs," said Carson.

Forward-Looking Information Is Subject to Risk and Uncertainty
Certain statements in this report may be "forward-looking" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "expects," "intends," "plans," "projects," "believes," "estimates," "targets," and similar expressions are used to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions about future events that may not prove to be accurate. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions that are difficult to predict. Actual outcomes and results may differ materially from what is expressed or forecasted in these forward-looking statements. As a result, these statements speak to events only as of the date they are made and neither Boeing nor Vought undertake any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by federal securities laws. Specific factors that could cause Boeing's and/or Vought's actual results to differ materially from forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those set forth below and other important factors disclosed previously and from time to time in each company's respective filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission: the failure of conditions precedent to the closing of the transaction or the failure of the transaction to close for any other reason; the failure of the parties to experience the expected benefits of the transaction; the effect of economic conditions in the United States and globally; the impact on accounts receivable, customer financing portfolios and allowance for losses of customer defaults and changes in customer credit ratings, credit default rates and collateral values; the impact on revenues and operating results of changes to indices included in indexed price escalation clauses included in contracts with commercial airplane and defense customers; the successful execution of Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Integrated Defense Systems backlog; the effects of customers cancelling, modifying and/or rescheduling contractual orders; the timing and effects of any decisions to increase or decrease the rate of commercial airplane production; the timing and effects of decisions to complete or launch a Commercial Airplanes program at Boeing; Boeing's ability to successfully develop and timely produce the 787 and 747-8 aircraft; the ability of suppliers and, as applicable, subcontractors to successfully and timely perform their obligations; the effect of political and legal processes; changing defense priorities; and associated budget reductions by U.S. and international government customers affecting defense programs; relationship with union-represented workforce and the negotiation of collective bargaining agreements; the continuation of long-term trends in passenger and cargo traffic and revenue yields in the airline industry; the impact of volatile fuel prices and the airline industry's response; the effect of declines in aircraft valuation; the impact of airline bankruptcies; the extent to which Boeing and/or Vought are called upon to fund outstanding financing commitments or satisfy other financing requests, and the ability to satisfy those requirements; the continuation of historical costs for fleet support services; the receipt of estimated award and incentive fees on U.S. government contracts; the future demand for commercial satellites and projections of future order flow; the potential for technical or quality issues on development programs, including the Airborne Early Warning and Control program, International KC-767 Tanker, other fixed-price development programs, or commercial satellite programs, to affect schedule and cost estimates, or cause Boeing and/or Vought to incur a material charge or experience a termination for default; the outcome of any litigation and/or government investigation in which either company is a party, and other contingencies; returns on pension fund assets, impacts of future interes t rate changes on pension obligations and rising healthcare costs; ability to access external capital resources to fund operations; the amounts and effects of underinsured operations, including satellite launches; and the scope, nature or impact of acquisition or disposition activity and investment in any joint ventures/strategic alliances, including Boeing's Sea Launch and United Launch Alliance, and indemnifications and guarantees related thereto.

Jim Proulx, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Communications, +1 206-850-2102
Russ Young, Boeing Commercial Airplanes Communications, +1 425-246-6661
Lisa Quirindongo, Vought Communications, +1 203-430-3550
Lynne Warne, Vought Communications, +1 615-974-6003
More information:
SOURCE: Boeing
Web site:

787 Update - July 7, 2009

A quick round up of the latest goings on:

1) ZA001 finished final gauntlet testing. Boeing wrapped that up on the evening of July 2nd.
2) Boeing will perform low speed taxi tests and that may occur as early as today though Flightblogger said that it may have occurred last night. Nevertheless, low speed taxi tests are right around the corner. The high speed taxi and RTO won't occur until after the side of body fix is installed onto ZA001. After the low speed taxi tests Boeing will continue ground tests on the 787 fleet to mature the systems so they just won't be closed up and doing nothing while they implement the fix.
3) Flightblogger said that a formal Boeing-Vought announcement on the Boeing purchase of Vought's 787 operations could come as early as this morning.
4) Flightblogger found out the registration forthe next two 787s: ZA003 will be registered as N787BX and ZA004 will be registered as N7874

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Boeing: Final Gauntlet Testing started on ZA001

Boeing has confirmed to me that final gauntlet testing has begun on ZA001 and is currently on going. Boeing will have a better idea of when taxi tests will start after the completion of the gauntlet tests. Since tomorrow is a holiday for the US due to the July 4th holiday the test team may elect to continue testing on Friday if it's warranted.

Matt Cawby: Dreamliner 2 starts its engines

Matt Cawby got pictures of ZA002 (Dreamliner 2) initial engine runs that took place yesterday.

ZA002 initial engine runs

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Flightblogger: Boeing to buy Vought's 787 Operations

Flightblogger got a major scoop today by saying that Vought (owned by the Carlyle Group) has agreed to sell Boeing the 787 operations in Charleston, SC where the rear fuselage section is constructed. Now this deal has not been made public but will be done so in a short amount of time. Jon said that sources have indicated that this acquisition can give Boeing the momentum to start a 2nd 787 production line in Charleston which has been hinted at in the past and should allow them to get production running to 10/month by 2012 according to Boeing's plans.
This deal will bring Boeing back into a much more involved role as manufacturer of the 787 then their initial plans when the program was launched in 2003.

With this Boeing would not be directly responsible for the manufacture and integration of the complete rear fuselage section (47/48) as well as the vertical stabilizer (tail). They're also heavily involved in Global Aeronautica, owning a 50% stake in that venture which they also purchased from Vought.

Now if Boeing decides (as I believe they will) to start a 2nd line in Charleston, one issue people are going to bring up is the lack of skilled aeronautical workers in the area. It should be noted that when Boeing started the 787 final assembly line in Everett many of the MT (manufacturing techs) were new hires who did not have direct aerospace manufacturing experience but who had skill sets that would be of use on the final assembly line after undergoing an intensive period of training and testing before being hired to work on the 787 final assembly line. I do think that Boeing will set up a similar education and training facility to train 787 MTs in South Carolina for the 2nd assembly line similar to what they did for the 787 line in Everett.

Boeing buys Vought 787 facility