Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Flightblogger 787 Update

Well now that we've reached the end of the third quarter, Flightblogger Jon Ostrower has but up a 787 update reviewing some of the happenings in the 787 program. Here's a bulleted synopsis:

  • James Albaugh visited Boeing Charleston. There is talk of Boeing applying for permits to start clearing land for the 2nd assembly line facility. This comes right on top of Washington's State proposal to Boeing to keep the 2nd line in Everett. Also there seems to be some surveying and construction equipment at the Charleston site.
  • Flightblogger made a correction regarding when the first 787-9 while be produced. Earlier he said it would be the 109th airframe to come off the line (LN 109). It will actually be the 139th airframe according to the latest production schedule.
  • Well the 787 backlog is shrinking but because customers are cancelling. The latest is TUI which cancelled 10 787-8 but took purchase rights on 13 air frames. Whoop Dee Doo. Flightblogger also lists out the threats to the 787 backlog from other airlines considering cancelling their orders. It's a very dangerous time for the 787. They need to get it the air real soon.
  • Production - Dreamliner 11 sections should all be in be earlier next week allowing the 787 line to move forward. The wings for Dreamliner 12 will be bought in early next week and ZA100 (LN7) will be moved out to the paint hangar to get an aqueous wash and paint job. It will not have the side of body fix installed. That will be done later but there is access to the areas of the wing and fuselage in order to install the fix. Dreamliner 11 will start final assembly later next week.

Flightblogger 787 News

Friday, September 25, 2009

Flightblogger's Trip to Spirit Aerosystems Part Two

Flightblogger posted the second part of his report on his trip to Spirit Aerosystems. Here he details Boeing's (and Spirit's) plans for further weight reductions as well as initiatives that Spirit is undertaking in their facility to cut down on time and manpower including the use of AGV (automated guided vehicles) that take fuselage barrels from one facility to another.

Flightblogger also said that there will be a major weight saving measure that would be implemented with LN 34 and the 787-9 will be LN 109. The interesting thing is that the forward fuselage (section 41) for the -9 should be the same as that being built for the -8 version with most of the strengthening and stretching being done on the other sections of the 787.

Flightblogger : Inside the South Hangar, Spirit Road to 10/month Part 2

Flightblogger's Trip to Spirit Aerosystems

Flightblogger took a trip earlier this month to Wichita, KS and met with Spirit Aerosystems execs. What he posted is quite an eye opening insight into the 787 program. In his posting he outlines the progress that Spirit, the best performing 787 partner thus far, has made on building the 787 forward fuselage section along with a few other parts for the aircraft. Flightblogger also reviews the challenges that await Spirit and the other partners as Boeing looks to ramp up production of the 787 over the next 4 years.

One item of great interest is Flightblogger's report on the fuselage section for LN 13, the thirteenth flying 787. With this aircraft Boeing is hope to achieve stability in the production of the 787 across the supply chain. It also incorporate some design changes with the aim of achieving weight savings in the 787. The changes that are being implemented with this airplane is known in the program as NC (Net Change) 5. Ultimately the net effect of implementing NC 5 is to reduce travelled work, stabilize the production and help with weight reduction. There will be further design changes that would have to be incorporated in the supply chain but for now Boeing is on its way of stabilizing the production but there will more changes resulting from flight testing.

Flightblogger : Inside the South Hangar, Spirit Road to 10/month Part 1

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Boeing: 787 Side of Body Fix underway

According to a blog posting by Randy Tinseth, Boeing has started the modifications to the side of body joint on ZY997 (static test air frame) and ZA001. He stated in the post that the other aircraft will start the modifications in the coming days.

My estimate is that the actual installation of the fix and closeouts of the 787 should take about 4 to 5 weeks. This should bring Boeing to the end of October in terms of the schedule. They would need a few weeks to test the fix on the static airframe and to analyze the data to make sure that full strength has been returned to the side of body.

787 "mod" underway

Lastly, Randy said that ZA001 is still located in the paint hangar while ZA002 is in the temporary structure on the flight line, ZA003 is in the factory, ZA004 is in the rented hangar at ATS, ZA005 is in the factory and ZA006 is next to ZA004 at ATS. ZY998 is out on the flightline presumably waiting for ZA002 to vacate the temporary structure so then it can receive it's mods.

Flightblogger is also reporting the same information and has a few more details.

Flightblogger 787 fix post

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flightblogger: Fix installation to start next week

Flightblogger is citing program sources as saying that Boeing will start installing the side of body reinforcement fix for ZY997 and ZA001 next week. The fix should take about a month to complete meaning that ZA001 should reemerge from the Boeing paint hangar around mid to late October. Modifying each aircraft takes about three months but that time includes the time needed to prep each aircraft to receive the modification and to remove the necessary panels and gain access to the areas where the work crews will install the parts. The actual parts installation should take about a month.

ZY997 is receiving the fix concurrently with ZA001 will undergo the same wing stress test that had revealed the problem in the first place. This is to ensure that the modifications work as modelled on Boeing's 787 FEM. Once the fix is validated then ZA001 should be cleared to undertake high speed taxi tests and rejected take off tests prior to first flight.

Lastly, Flightblogger says that Boeing is about to start final assembly on ZA104 (LN10) which is the 4th production 787. The 787 line in building 40-26 should pulse today clearing the way for ZA104 to be moved into position 1 on the assembly line. That means that ZA100 will be in position 4, ZA101 will be moved to position 3 and ZA102 will be moved to position 2.

Look for the other test flight 787s to also have the modification installed in them over the next couple of months. Timing is still yet unknown.

Flightblogger: 787 fix installation to start next week

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Flightblogger: Where in the world are the 787s?

Flightblogger posted a great article today showing how close Boeing is to starting the installation of the side of body fix on several of the test flight 787s.

In his post, Flightblogger detailed the locations of the 6 test 787s plus the static and fatigue frames and the 3 production frames. Here's a synopsis of the locations of these airplanes:
ZY997 - building 40-23 - all prepped for installation of fix, awaiting parts installation
ZY998 - Boeing Everett flightline
ZA001 (LN1) - paint hangar 45-04 - all prepped for installation of fix, awaiting parts installation
ZA002 (LN2) - temporary hangar on Boeing flight- prepping for side of body fix
ZA003 (LN3) - building 40-24 (767 line)
ZA004 (LN4) - ATS hangar - prepping for side of body fix
ZA005 (LN5) - building 40-24 (767 line)
ZA006 (LN6) - stored on Boeing Everett flightline to be towed to ATS hangar to be prepped for side of body fix
ZA100 (LN7) - building 40-26 position 3
ZA101 (LN8) - building 40-26 position 2
ZA102 (LN9) - building 40-26 position 1

Additionally ZA104 (LN10) has some parts already in building 40-26. There should be line move occurring very soon which allow the reaming parts to be flown in and final assembly start on this aircraft.

Getting Oriented: Where's the 787 fleet? Part Two

Also some great stuff from Randy Tinseth at Boeing:

Mod Squad

Undercover Airplane

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

787 production continuing

Well after a restful (somewhat) Labor Day weekend here's some 787 news. Production is continuing on production standard aircraft and now there is more room in 40-26 to build those production aircraft. ZA004 is due to move out soon if it has been moved out already from the final assembly line to hangar space that Boeing has leased from ATS at Paine Field. ATS is Aviation Technical Services and does heavy checks and other maintenance services to airlines and cargo operators. I think Boeing would put two of the 787s in the ATS hangars in order to perform the side of body fix without effecting current production of the 787. ZA006 should be moving out later this week either to the flight line or to another hangar spot (not sure if it would be a Boeing or ATS hangar). Also of note is that some of the aircraft do not have their engines on. This is to make the installation of the modification easier though the engines are still on ZA002 and ZA004, they were not on ZA005 and ZA006.

This would leave Boeing with three 787 in production at their final assembly line in Everett: ZA100 (LN7) in position 3, ZA101 (LN8) in position 2 and ZA102 (LN9) in position 1. Some parts for ZA104 (LN10) such as the wings and tail section have already arrived but when all the parts are delivered, that airplane will be quickly moved into position 1.

Boeing's LCFs have been busy conducting flights across the supply chain. Now some of these flight could be training flights and/or repositioning of shipping fixtures but undoubtedly there is also some movement of the fuselage sections between suppliers in Europe and Japan and GA in Charleston, SC.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

GEnx hanging off 747-8F

Photo Courtesy of the Boeing Co.

Update: See posting of pictures of the first 747-8 with it's engines:

747-8F with engine pics

Boeing said today that they have installed the GEnx-2B engines off the 747-8F. This airplanes is moving through it's assembly and testing activities pretty fast. In fact the GEnx will most likely fly on the 747-8 before it flies on the 787 which is the airplane it was meant for (forget about the engines that are flying on the GE 747 test bed).

Speaking of which it sounds like the 747-8 will fly before the 787 perhaps around early to mid November and the 787 will follow a week or two later.

Boeing's Press Release is below:

News Release Issued: September 2, 2009 8:00 AM EDT

Boeing Hangs GEnx-2B Engines on the 747-8 Freighter

EVERETT, Wash., Sept. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) continues to make progress on the assembly of the 747-8 Freighter, as mechanics completed the installation of the new GEnx-2B engines on airplane No. 1 in final assembly at the factory in Everett, Wash.

"We are another step closer to bringing the 747-8 Freighter to market," said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager of the 747 program. "This production milestone is a reflection of the strong working together relationship among Boeing, GE Aviation, Middle River Aircraft Systems and Spirit AeroSystems."

The GEnx-2B continues its progress through its engine certification testing. It recently completed the first phase of flight testing on GE's 747 flying testbed.

"The GEnx-2B engine has performed very well during more than 1,500 hours of ground certification tests and 100 hours of flight testing," said Tom Brisken, general manager of GE Aviation's GEnx program. "We look forward to watching the GEnx-powered 747-8 Freighter take its first flight, ushering in a new era of improved aircraft efficiency."

The GEnx-2B is based on the GEnx-1B engine launched with the 787 Dreamliner. The GEnx-2B engine has been designed for the 747-8 and rated at 66,500 pounds of thrust.

"The 747-8 and the GEnx-2B are a perfect match," said Keith Leverkuhn, vice president and general manager of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Propulsion Systems. "The combination of these two technologies will provide our customers with improved fuel efficiency and reduced emissions and noise as well as lower cost of ownership."

With the GEnx-2B engines, the 747-8 Freighter will be 17 percent more fuel efficient than the 747-400 Freighter, resulting in a 17-percent reduction in carbon emissions. It also will have a noise footprint that is 30 percent smaller than its predecessor, making it a QC2-compliant airplane on both departure and arrival.

The 747-8 Freighter is expected to make its first flight in the fourth quarter of this year, with first delivery scheduled for the third quarter of 2010. 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 firm orders for the airplane.