Friday, August 13, 2010

A retraction and a 787 update

First a retraction. In my previous post I had speculated that the 787 fuselage sections were offloaded from the 747 Dreamlifter because they needed to be inspected due to issues at Alenia. In fact Boeing had informed me that this was not the case but rather the parts were taken off so they unload a horizontal stabilizer that was in front of the fuselage section in the LCF.

These parts were offloaded so they can unload the horizontal stabs. They were reloaded later on. Here's is Boeing's statement:

The fuselage section captured in Matt Cawby's video happened to be on a Dreamlifter that also carried a horizontal stabilizer that needed to be delivered to the Everett factory first. (The h stab was in the back of the plane, the fuselage section in the front)

So we had to unload the fuselage section in order to unload the h stab. Once that was done, we loaded the fuselage section right back onto the Dreamlifter and delivered it to Charleston the very next day. This had nothing to do with the recent issues.

Ok that's all cleared up, thanks to the Boeing communications team for sending me the correction!

Obviously they had to get the horizontal stab out of the airplane. Speaking of which, there were a couple of articles out today addressing the horizontal stabilizer issue and the review that Boeing is doing at Alenia with regards to workmanship issues on the h stab. First Guy Norris has an article and a blog post about it. In the blog post Guy talks about the h stab becoming an irritant in Boeing because of the inspections it has to conduct on each one of the delivered stabilizers. On a brighter note it has allowed Boeing to hopefully add technology to reduce the drag by the 1%. The technology is called hybrid laminar flow control and wold allow the air passing over the stabilizer to be sucked in before the air turned turbulent while passing over the horizontal stabilizer. Read more:

Guy Norris: 787 - tail wagging the dog

In another article, Guy talks about the current issue with the horizontal stabilizer and the Boeing efforts to inspect and take corrective action. The issue may already be affecting test flights though it is unknown at this moment. The test flight fleet did fly for some 7 to 8 hours yesterday but they were not flying today. However, Boeing now has to inspect new areas of the horizontal stabilizer based up on their audit of Alenia production practices. This may become the long pole in the tent for the 787 program.

Guy Norris: Boeing Extends 787 Inspections To New Areas

Lastly, Scott Hamilton, got some very detailed information on the horizontal stabilizer issue and the fact that Boeing is finding multiple issues with the horizontal stabilizers. Scott goes on to say that the problem is with all the horizontal stabilizers that have been delivered into Everett. Undoubtedly Alenia will have to answer many hard and pointed questions about quality control and workmanship at their plant in Italy. Scott does go on to report that delivery of the first 787s can slip to as late as the 2nd quarter of 2011. Both Scott and Guy report that ZA006 may not fly until late September now though my source has said September 12th.

Scott Hamilton: More 787 problems: 2Q delivery delay coming?

1 comment:

Mike said...

Scott Hamilton, the Boeing doomsayer? He never has anything positive to say regarding Boeing. They must have upset him somehow years ago. Consequently, I always treat his Boeing comments with skepticism.