The story that Flightblogger broke yesterday is gaining traction and may herald another delay depending on what happened to the Trent 1000 engine that Rolls was testing earlier this month. The situation is made even murkier because according to Rolls Royce they said that they had implemented a fix which says that they knew of the potential of the IPT (intermediate pressure turbine) to fail though they also said that they are well on their way to understanding the issue. Nonetheless this is an issue that bear watching carefully. Guy Norris has a brilliant summary of the Rolls Royce issue in his latest blog post. Apparently, this issue has not kept the 787 on the ground as ZA001 is conducting wet runaway test (also called the Slip N' Slide) in Roswell, NM and ZA004 is flying a flight loads survey test right now. However, a statement that Boeing sent to Flightblogger use the ominous words "to date" when referring to the impact that the IPT failure to the flight test program. Both Guy's and Flightblogger's post are below.
Flightblogger: Boeing statement on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine failure
Guy Norris - 787 - More Danger of Delays?
The other issue that is being talked about is that of Alenia's workmanship on the parts they build for the 787. The horizontal stabilizer is the part that has gotten the most scrutiny of late but Alenia has had problems in the past with the manufacture of the fuselage sections that they are contracted to produce though it seems that the fuselage sections are being built with better quality. However the sum of all these issues has lead to some speculation that Boeing may buy out Alenia's share of the 787 program and bring the the manufacture of these parts back in house. Saj Ahmad has written an editorial backing such an action by Boeing and I also believe it makes sense but only if the economics of such a buyout keep the program in a forward profit position. Boeing has spoken of bringing more of the 787 program engineering back under their tent and they've done that with the 787-9 which is making great strides in the design nd engineering phase of its development and may prove to be the better of the two 787 models that is produced. Bringing in the manufacture of the parts that Alenia builds will ensure better workmanship and quality.
Saj Ahmad - Boeing needs to buy Alenia out of 787 production