Monday, August 31, 2009

Breaking: Scott Carson retiring from Boeing on 12/31/09, James Albaugh to take over BCA

As I reported on this blog last week I heard rumors that Scott Carson may retire from Boeing. Well the rumors were correct and Boeing announced Carson's retirement effective at the end of this year. Boeing IDS (Integrated Defense Systems) Head James Albaugh will take over Scott Carson's role as head of BCA effective September 1, 2009. Dennis Muilenburg will take over Jim Albaugh's role as head of IDS also effective as of September 1, 2009

Given the delays to the 787 program this is not much of a surprise and it may not be the last reshuffling of BCA management. I expect more turnover both within BCA and the 787 program. However, much of this probably won't happen until after the 747-8 and the 787 both have started their test flight programs.

Read Boeing's announcement below:

Boeing Executive Scott Carson Announces Retirement; Albaugh Named Commercial Airplanes Leader, Muilenburg to Head Integrated Defense Systems

CHICAGO, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing Commercial Airplanes President and CEO Scott Carson announced today that he will retire from the company at the end of the year.

Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney has named Jim Albaugh, 59, to Carson's leadership role at Boeing Commercial Airplanes (BCA), and Dennis Muilenburg, 45, to succeed Albaugh as president and CEO of Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS). Both appointments are effective Sept. 1.

Carson, 63, has led BCA since 2006 after two years heading up the unit's sales organization, where he was credited with reinvigorating sales of Boeing commercial airplanes and related services to airline customers and leasing companies around the world. He previously served as BCA's executive vice president and chief financial officer, where he led the finance and business strategy organizations, as well as information systems and services. He also held leadership positions in the company's defense business and was the first president of Connexion by Boeing.

"The Boeing board of directors and I appreciate Scott's long record of accomplishment across many disciplines, functions and businesses, and the enduring contributions he has made to Boeing through 38 years of service," said McNerney. "Thanks to his leadership and operational experience, Boeing Commercial Airplanes has performed extremely well in a tough business environment and remains positioned solidly for continued market success."

McNerney said that Carson and Albaugh will work together to ensure a smooth transition of customer and other business relationships, and that Carson will also assist on special projects for the company through year end. He will continue to lead the United Way of King County's 2009-2010 fund-raising campaign, even after his retirement.

Albaugh, a 34-year company veteran with extensive experience in development programs and manufacturing, has led Boeing's defense, space and associated services businesses since 2002. Under his leadership IDS revenue has grown from $25 billion to an expected $34 billion in 2009, and now accounts for roughly half of Boeing's annual sales. Prior to his most recent assignment, he led Boeing's growth in space and communications, including network-centric operations, global missile defense, combat systems, and system-of-systems technologies. He began his career with Rockwell's aerospace and defense businesses, which Boeing acquired in 1996.

"Jim is a seasoned and effective aerospace executive with substantial experience leading and integrating technically complex businesses and programs from initial development through full production and delivery. His program management and engineering focus will help ensure the success of BCA's key development and production programs," McNerney said. "On top of that, as a Washington state native and the leader of more than 9,000 IDS employees working in the Puget Sound region, he is familiar with the people, issues and programs in the area. He is the ideal leader for BCA at this time," he added.

Muilenburg moves to his new position from Integrated Defense System's Global Services & Support unit, where he served as president of the $8 billion business that provides global after-delivery support for military platforms and systems, as well as a broad array of defense and government services. Prior assignments include leadership of the Combat Systems Division and Future Combat Systems, the company's development program for the U.S. Army. He also led the overall engineering development of Boeing's program to modernize global air traffic management systems.

"Dennis is ready to step up and lead the IDS team," said McNerney. "His experience in technology integration; track record delivering large-scale programs on time and budget; and work with customers in new, developing markets will help us generate new momentum and long-term growth," he added.

Albaugh holds bachelor's degrees in mathematics and physics from Willamette University, and a master's degree in civil engineering from Columbia University. He will relocate soon to the Seattle area.

Born in Iowa, Muilenburg earned a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University and a master's degree in aeronautics and astronautics from the University of Washington. He will continue to be based in St. Louis and spend substantial time in the Washington, D.C. area.

A replacement for Muilenburg will be named at a later date.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boeing releases updated schedule and conference call

UPDATE (9:30PM): Flightblogger posted a nice summary of today's events concerning the 787:

Flightblogger's 787 Update

Also I enquired with Boeing as to the disposition of the first three 787s. The Boeing response is below:

No decision has been made on those airplanes. There are a number of ways they could be used, including for testing on other programs.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with these three airplanes after the flight test program is done. Perhaps they could donate one to the Smithsonian and get a tax write off on that airplane? It would look great next to the 707 at the NASM Annex at Dulles!

UPDATE (1:15PM): In response to how long it would take to install the fix on the 787 I got the following response from Boeing:

For the airplanes already assembled, it will take approximately three months to complete the modification on each airplane. That includes the initial preparation time. That said, the static airframe, ZA001, ZA003, ZA004 and ZA005 are currently being prepared for the modification. In the future, when airplanes entering assembly, the retrofit will occur during the final body join process.

With regard to ZA002, ZA006, ZY998, ZA100 and ZA101:

Preparations on these airplanes will begin very soon but we are not going to provide a specific schedule on an airplane-by-airplane basis.
Boeing has released their schedule for the 787 though it's purposely devoid of exact dates it generally conforms to what was reported earlier by Flightblogger.

Press Release Summary:
1) 787 first flight to take place by the end of the year 2009
2) 787 first delivery to take place by 4th quarter 2010
3) Airplanes 1 through 3 are commercially valueless and will be reclassified from current inventory to R&D - Boeing will take a $2.5bn pre-tax non cash charge against earnings in the third quarter
4) Side of body fix has completed initial testing and is finishing up detailed design
5) Test aircraft are being prepared for installation of the fix
6) Installation of the fix should begin in the next few weeks.
7) Boeing 787 program not in a forward loss position meaning that it will be a profitable program

Takeaways from the conference call:
1) With the new schedule, Boeing has one year to test, fix and certify the 787 for commercial service. They had added extra margin to preserve this new schedule.
2) Modifications to aircraft LN 1 through LN 15 (plus ZY997 and ZY998) will take place at Everett and after that the modifications will take place a supplier facilities.
3) Boeing currently talking to customers on the 787 schedule and getting their input and feedback
4) Production at the 10/month rate won't be achieved until late 2013; 2nd production line will support the 10/month rate but the single line will only achieve the 7/month rate. Suppliers have the current capacity to supply 10/month. Interestingly enough he only talked about Charleston and Everett. No other locations for the 2nd line.
5) 787-9 first delivery pushed back to late 2013 (I wonder if the 2nd line will be dedicated to the 787-9?) - Answer - According to Guy Norris this will be the case, the 2nd line will be dedicated for 787-9 production.
6) The side of body stress condition is now accurately modelled and the fix is modelled as well. The fix entails adding 4 to 5 reinforcements to each stringer. The pacing items for the fix is the limited accessibility to the areas that the reinforcements and the number of technicians that can be inside installing the fix.
7) With the exception of the side of body issue, Boeing is pleased with the way testing has gone, especially gauntlet testing. Airplanes 1 and 2 are ready for flight pending the installation of the reinforcements.
8) There are no takers for the first three 787 (LN 1 through LN 3) due to the extensive modifications and rework that they had to go through, thus they are not commercially valuable and their expenses and value will be charged to R&D and taken off current inventory. Airplanes 4 though 6 does have commercial value (though less than $2.5bn) and will be sold to VIP customers after refurbishment. The program on the whole is not in a loss making position and the charge off is a one time event that will taken against 3rd quarter earnings.

HEre are other articles that have been posted since the call and they all have some information on stuff that I might have missed:

Fleetbuzz Editorial-787 schedule
787 Podcast from IAG
Guy Norris' August 27, 2009 Update

Boeing Announces New 787 Schedule and Third-Quarter Charge

Boeing Press Release is below. There will be a conference call at 10AM today and will listen to it and try and get as much information as I can. The schedule jives with what Flightblogger had posted earlier.

CHICAGO, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Boeing Company (NYSE: BA) today announced that the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner is expected by the end of 2009 and first delivery is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2010.

The new schedule reflects the previously announced need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft, along with the addition of several weeks of schedule margin to reduce flight test and certification risk. The company projects achieving a production rate of 10 airplanes per month in late 2013.

"This new schedule provides us the time needed to complete the remaining work necessary to put the 787's game-changing capability in the hands of our customers," said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney. "The design details and implementation plan are nearly complete, and the team is preparing airplanes for modification and testing."

Based on the revised schedule and other assumption updates, the company has determined that the 787 program is not in a forward-loss position.

However, separate from the updated program profitability assessment, the company has concluded that the initial flight-test airplanes have no commercial market value beyond the development effort due to the inordinate amount of rework and unique and extensive modifications made to those aircraft. Therefore, costs previously
recorded for the first three flight-test airplanes will be reclassified from program inventory to research and development expense, resulting in an estimated non-cash charge of $2.5 billion pre-tax, or $2.21 per share, against third-quarter results. This charge will have no impact on the company's cash outlook going forward.

The 787 team working the side-of-body reinforcement has completed initial testing and is finalizing design details of new fittings that are expected to ensure full structural integrity of the joint. The static test procedure that uncovered the issue will be repeated and the results fully analyzed before first flight is conducted. Fatigue testing also will be performed on stringer components to validate the long-term durability of the modification.

The first 787 test airplane and static test unit have been prepared for the new fittings. Installation is expected to begin within the next few weeks.

Boeing will discuss this announcement during a webcast starting at 10:00 a.m. EDT today. That webcast is accessible through The company will update its 2009 financial guidance in October when it reports third-quarter results.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

End of August and the 787 summertime blues

Well we're quickly approaching the end of August, the end of summer and hopefully the end of a period that Boeing would like to forget. If it weren't for the side of body issue the 787 would be flying around Boeing Field now for about two months. Now we have to wait about another three month for that happen (if Flightblogger is correct) and another month from now to hear Boeing's revised schedule. Too much is now riding on this for them to get it wrong. So with that in mind let's try and look ahead to what's yet to come.

As some of you may know, Boeing big wigs flew into Everett last week from Chicago and I believe the big topic of conversation was the 787. But I am hearing that Scott Carson might be retiring at the end of this year. Coincidence or not we'll see but right now it's just a rumor. I wonder if it's another coincidence that Boeing filed building permits today for the North Charleston site. Me thinks not! Boeing needs the second line to recover the lost ground in 787 production so the second line is inevitable (I said so a year ago) and I think Boeing will add additional autoclave capabilities to the 2nd line. The question will be where will the 2nd line go? At this point, if I'm a betting man it will be North Charleston but that will hinge on the vote by Boeing Charleston workers weather to decertify its union on Sept. 10th. If it is decertified then I think North Charleston is a shoo in despite what concessions Washington State and the IAM would give to Boeing. Boeing needs to have uninterrupted production if they are to catch up with deliveries. IAM going out on strike every 3 to 4 years will only get in the way of that.

Now articles are out that Air Berlin is considering cancelling it's order for 25 787-8s whether this is a bluff to wring out more concessions from Boeing is unclear though it sounds like Air Berlin is making an issue of the delays as a cornerstone of their arguments. That's a little surprising as they would be grateful for the delays as Air Berlin has a lot of capacity right now and they would probably need to add capacity in the future after the world economy recovers and air travel with it.

Now let's see what's happening on the tarmac at Everett. Well not too much there there is a big pup tent in the middle of the Boeing flight line where several of the 787 that will be in line for the fix will receive it. Out on the flight line there are 4 787s: LN2 (in ANA livery), ZY998 the fatigue air frame, LN6 and another test flight 787 in the Boeing 787 livery which I suspect may be LN 5. I think LN 4 is probably in 40-26 and LN 3 is still in 40-22 and LN 1 in the paint shop. That means that LN 7 and LN 8 probably have made or will make a line move soon to clear way to start final assembly on LN 9. The parts of this aircraft are in Everett.

Guy Norris also reported that tests are still going on on LN 2 on the Boeing flightline. He also has a great article on Boeing's moves in Charleston as well.

Guy's August 25 787 update
Guy's Boeing-Charleston Article
Air Berlin Mulls 787 Cancellation

Lastly, is Wall Street turning bullish on Boeing and specifically the 787? According to Scott Hamilton at Leeham & Co. a couple of Wall Street analyst now have a brighter outlook on the 787.

Scott's article on 787 forward loss.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Boeing may take first steps to locate 2nd 787 line in Charleston, SC.

According to KING5 (local TV station in the Seattle area). Boeing will file building permit applications as early as tomorrow to expand the Charleston, SC plant which they had just purchased from Vought a month ago.

While there has been no definitive decision about the location of a 2nd production line, the move maybe a precursor to an announcement that Boeing intends to locate the 2nd line in South Carolina. The 2nd production line will be sorely needed if Boeing is to catch up to promised deliveries of the 787 that were delayed due to the on going issues within the program.

Another scenario (in my mind) is that it would be used as leverage to win concessions from the unions, Washington State and the City of Everett. In other words a bluff. While I may not be the best at Texas Hold 'Em, I would say that Boeing is has a pretty good hand for the time being. This story is far from over and I would not expect the Boeing announcement on the 2nd line until after flight testing on the 787 is under way.

Boeing to file building permits.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Does flying on an A380 mean lower fares for passengers?

When Airbus started marketing the A380, the argument made by some is that because you're packing so many people into a more efficient aircraft (for it's size) that air fares should go down. Well I wanted to to see if that was true. When Emirates started running it's A380 from Dubai to JFK direct it was was hard to compare air fares as there wasn't any competition on that non stop route (unsurprisingly Emirates reallocated that flight to the Dubai-Toronto route).

Now that Air France is on the verge of starting a Paris-New York flight on an A380, it does give this blogger an opportunity to comparison shop the airfares.

For my comparison I kept a few things static across the different carriers I looked at: Flying out December 15th and returning December 22nd. Air fare is the lowest for a single adult.

The comparison would be against AFoo7 (outbound to CDG) and AF006 (inbound to JFK). Both these flights are on the A380.

The total air fare for this flight (from the Air France Web Site) is $824.10.

I compared that against the following Air France flights between JFK and CDG:
AF007/AF006 (A380-800) - $824.10

AF023/AF022 (777-200ER) - $781.10

AF011/AF010 (777-200ER) - $886.10

AF009/AF008 (777-200ER) - $762.10

The following American Airlines Flight between JFK and CDG:

AA044/AA045 (767-300ER) - $679.00

The following Air France flights between Newark Liberty (EWR) and CDG:

AF019/AF018 (A330-200) - $885.10

The following Continental Airlines Flights between EWR and CDG:

CO056/CO057 (767-400ER) - $680.00

CO054/CO055 (757-200) - $680.00

Now a couple of things. This does not necessarily mean that the A380 flight is more expensive to operate on the New York - Paris route just that the air fares that the paying public pay is more expensive compared to most of the other flight options flown on older equipment. Indeed the A380 flights is the third most expensive in the New York-Paris market out of the 8 daily non stops. One explanation is that the other two Air France flights AF011 - 9:45PM and AF019 - 7PM are prime time flight as is AF007 - 7:10PM. CO54 leaves at 8:45PM also prime time while AA044 leaves at around 5:50PM a little before the prime time flight hours to Europe. Also I did not include Delta as they code share their Paris flights on Air France and the air fares are the same.

What about across the Pacific?

Ok to make sure that I wasn't seeing things, I did a similar comparison between Sydney, Australia and LAX. I compared the fares on QANTAS flight using the A380 (QF012/QF011) vs flight offered by QANTAS (on a 747-400) and it's competitor. I assumed in all cases that departure date from LAX on Nov. 25, 2009 and returning from Sydney on Dec 2, 2009. The airfare is for a single adult roundtrip on non stop service. Here are the results:

QANTAS Flights:

QF012/QF011 (A380-800) - $1913

QF108/QF107 (747-400) - $1404

NOTE: QF012 departs LAX at 10:30 PM and QF108 departs LAX at 11:45PM, a difference of only 1h hour and 15 minutes but a difference in price of over $500!!

VAustralia Flight:

VA002/VA001 (777-300ER) - $844.10

This flight departs LAX at 8:10PM.

United Flight:

UA839/UA840 (747-400) - $894.10

This flight departs LAX at 10:17PM

Delta Flight:

DL17/DL16 (777-200LR) - $2635

This flight departs LAX at 10:50PM

Of the five round trip flights analyzed here, the A380 flights is the 2nd most expensive with the Delta flights flown on a 777-200LR being very expensive (by over $700). But very interestingly is that a QANTAS flight that leave an hour and fifteen minutes later is over $500 less in air fare! If I were going to Australia and trying to save some dough well the choice is clear and I would take the QF108 flight (if I am so intent on flying the Qantas product).

In summary the hype of the A380 for the paying passenger really doesn't live up to the reality on the competitive routes. Qantas even beats it's own pricing on one of its most lucrative routes as does Air France when you compare the A380 fares vs the non A380 fares in the same market. The A380 doesn't deliver value to the flying public.

Flightblogger: Boeing preparing revised 787 plan

On the heels of ZA002 performing it's slow and medium speed taxi tests (last such tests for a few months), Flightblogger revealed today that Boeing is in the final stages of preparing a document called Z18 (18 for the 18th revision) which outlines construction and schedule of each 787 in the pipeline for Boeing and each one of it's partners.

Flightblogger reveals that first flight for ZA001 may take place between late November and early December. This would equate to a five month delay to the 787 program on top of the other delays. First delivery to ANA would be 4th quarter of 2010. Boeing has yet to reveal it's schedule and should do so in about 5 weeks or so.

The Z18 document is intended to make sure that everyone (Boeing, suppliers, and even customers) are on the same page with regards to assembly production and delivery of each of the 787s that Boeing is committed to delivering including all financial considerations.

The wrinkles are not going to put a wrinkle in Boeing's 787 plan.

With regards to the wrinkle issue, Flightblogger says Boeing is applying the fix to the affected airframes while it has stopped winding fuselage barrels for airplane 30 on out. The permanent fix has yet to be developed though in my communications with Boeing it seems that they would need add additional plies to the affected areas when applying the composite tape before autoclaving the structure. The affected area is the stringer edge step. Until the permanent fix is determined, the resources in Grottaglie will be reallocated to preparing the 13 sections at that worksite for shipping to Global Aeronautica. This will accelerate the preparation of the existing barrels and when Boeing and Alenia are ready to start winding barrels for airplane 30 on out, those resources will be shifted back again to get that work flowing again. It looks like that there won't be any schedule disruptions due to the wrinkle issue.

Flightblogger also says that starting with airplanes 11, 12 or 13 Boeing and it's partners will implement NC 5 (for Net Change 5). This is a standardization of the structural, wiring and systems design across all the suppliers so that travelled work is kept to a minimum and commonality is maxed out when the parts arrive in Everett for final assembly.

It is here where Boeing is hoping (I believe) that there will be no more travelled work in the production system going into Everett and this would form the basis of the production ramp up. Flightblogger says that parts for airplane 10 (LN10) should start arriving at the end of this month. I would expect that airplane 4 and 5 which are in 40-26 would be moved soon to another location so that LN 7 and LN 8 can move down the line and LN 9 can start final assembly though this is be slowed until the side of body fix in installed and tested. Boeing still wants to modify as few planes as possible after the wing-body join.

Flightblogger: What is Z18?

Monday, August 17, 2009

747-8 is alive with power and 787 update

Boeing's first 747-8F came alive with power on on last Friday morning in Everett. The new est member of the 747 family will also be the longest airplane in the world at over 250ft (beating the A340-600 by over a yard - take that Airbus!). The aircraft still has to run through a host of check out and assembly activities before being pulled outside to the Boeing flightline. There a whole host of information put out including Randy Tinseth's blog (Randy's Journal). So far it's looking like the 747-8F is having a smoother assembly and testing flow compared to its smaller cousin the 787. Boeing was expected to conduct taxi tests on ZA002 but had postponed it to an unspecified issue. The flight test team will probably try again tomorrow or Wednesday.

Big Time (Randy's Journal)
Guy Norris' 747 power on post
Guy's 747 follow up
Flightblogger RC501 Power On

Power on for this airplane is a big deal as Boeing can now start to retire technical risks associated with the design.


Now onto the 787. As mentioned earlier, Boeing had postponed the taxi test for ZA002 with no explanation given. I suspect that there was some issue that is expected to be resolved as the flight test team will have another crack at it tomorrow according to Guy Norris.

Guy Norris: August 14 787 Update
Guy Norris: Taxi test postponed
Flightblogger: Brakes put on taxi test

On the heals of Flightblogger's story about the stop work order on sections 44/46 at Alenia, Randy Tinseth also posted a fairly detailed explanation of the issues and Boeing's response to it.


In his blog entry, Randy Tinseth reassures that the issue is not going to cost the 787 in terms of financial implications or schedule and as I reported earlier, there won't be any weight or aerodynamic penalties either. He also goes to say that the issue has not cropped up on the 6 test flight aircraft that have already been assembled and would not have caused a delay in first flight.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Another moment to groan...another 787 structural flaw

My good friend, Flightblogger, aka Jon Ostrower has done it again. He broke the news that Boeing had issued a stop work to Alenia manufactured fuselage barrels due to wrinkles that formed in the stringers of the fuselage barrels for airplanes 7 through 29. Flightblogger cited a Boeing memo (on Boeing letterhead) that was obtained and dated June 23rd. The flaws are traced back to the manufacturing process of the two barrels (section 44 and 46) in Grottaglie, Italy. According to Boeing, a fix has been identified and the patched should be applied soon. The patched would be applied to the the outside of the fuselage to provide structural strength in the areas supported by the stringers.

Boeing told me that the patch fix is permanent to airplanes 7 through 29 and with airplane 30 the fix is incorporated by adding additional plies of composite tape to the skin prior to going into the autoclave during the manufacturing process. The patch won't incur any weight or aerodynamic penalties. Boeing said they have no timetable for the resumption of manufacturing at Alenia.

What is a little disconcerting is that the stop work order was issued on June 23rd which is the same day that Boeing announced the postponement of first flight due to the side of body structural flaw. While Boeing announced the side of body issue, there was no mention of the wrinkling issue found in the fuselage barrels. Now according to an article in Bloomberg by Susanna Ray, Boeing spokeswoman said that “It didn’t have any material impact on the program in schedule or cost, so there was no reason to discuss it publicly.” Clearly Boeing has been burdened by bad news after bad news on this program and is trying to limit the amount of negative publicity on the 787 program. However with news like this coming out the way it did, Boeing's credibility has dropped another notch.

Flightblogger Report

Bloomberg 787 report

Other 787 News

Guy Norris is reporting that taxi test for ZA002 can conduct it's ground taxi tests as early as this weekend pending a safety walk down. Guy also said that this will be the last taxi tests conducted by any 787 until the side of body fix is installed on ZA001. Other than that the next major event to happen will be the installation and testing of the side of body fix on the static air frame (ZY997). The parts are supposedly on the way to Everett if not already there.

Guy's August 13th/14th update

Earlier this week Flightblogger outlined the location of the the aircraft in at Everett:

ZA001 - In the paint shop where it will undergo the installation of the parts to fix the structural issues.
ZA002 - Boeing flight line where it will conduct ground taxi tests and then will be prepped for installation of the fix.
ZA003 - In building 40-23 (747 assembly line) waiting for side of body fix
ZA004 - In building 40-26 (787 line) waiting for side of body fix
ZA005 - In building 40-26 behind ZA006 waiting for side of body fix
ZA006 - Boeing flight line waiting for side of body fix
ZA100 - In building 40-26 behind ZA005 continuing final assembly activities and waiting for side of body fix
ZA101 - In building 40-26 behind ZA100 starting final assembly activities
ZA102 - Wings, horizontal and vertical stabilizers and rear fuselage in back of building 40-26.
ZY997 - In building 40-22 undergoing repairs and waiting for side of body fix
ZY998 - In building 40-23 (747 assembly line) waiting for side of body fix

Read Getting Oriented

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Boeing is "weeks away" from issuing a new schedule; Preparing test fleet for fix

According the Chris Musoke, Boeing's 787 chief engineer, they're weeks away from issuing a new schedule for first flight and delivery of the 787. He was speaking at the meeting of the Organization of Black Airline Pilots in Atlanta.

As proof that there is progress towards testing and implementing a fix on the side of body join, Flightblogger says that ZA001 has been moved inside to prepare for installation of the parts and that ZY997, the static test airframe, has scaffolding surrounding the aircraft in preparation of installation and testing of the fix. The parts needed have already been manufactured and shipped to Boeing for ZY997 and ZA001. If this fix does the trick, the parts will be manufactured and installed in all the other aircraft in the supply pipeline as well as those already assembled.

Access to the areas to be fixed will be very tight and will require technicians to get to the areas through an access door into the center fuel tank and several access holes. The first two flight ready 787, ZA001 and ZA002 have already have had these areas closed out and cleaned for testing which means that they would probably have to go though a close out procedure again and have the tanks washed out. The other four airplanes won't have that issue but this should be all minor compared to the problem that has to be fixed.

Flightblogger also reports that assembly activities are continuing on production standard 787 though some assembly activities will be put on hold until the fix is verified and the parts are installed. Airplane 8 has already started final assembly and parts for airplane 9 will start arriving later this week starting with the wings. Also reported that starting with airplane 15, the fuselage part (section 11) of the fix will be installed at Global Aeronautica in Charleston with the wing box part (section 12) of the fix being installed at Everett when the fuselage and wing box are joined in final assembly.

Flightblogger also reported that ZA004 has completed gear swing tests inside building 40-26. ZA003 is probably still inside the 747 assembly building and either ZA005 or ZA006 is outside on the flightline.

Flightblogger: Prepartations start for wing-body fix