Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flightblogger talks 787 production and horizontal stabilizers

Now that Alenia has effectively shut down 787 production for another 2 weeks....flightblogger revealed in a new post that the Italian company actually may have shut it down for much longer. The reasoning.....there hasn't been a 787 line move since October 3. There were to have been two more line moves in the month of October whch did not occur. The reason is the needed rework of the horizontal tail assemblies that Alenia is responsible for. Boeing has a whole slew of people in Italy trying to get them back on track but it seems that Alenia's troubles probably run very deep.

With all the issues surrounding the horizontal stabilizer, Boeing chose to mocve the line which left ZA231 without a the tailplane. It was being reworked when the line moved and is now installed on airplane 27 (ZA178).

This has thrown 787 final assembly into a tailspin (pun intended) as the horizontal stabs for airplanes 26 to 29 are being reworked as well as those that are already on the fully assembled production airplanes. Stabilizers meant for certain palnes are being installed on others. This won't be a problem as it is a common part, of course, but it does illustrate what the problems at Alenia has caused downstream in the production process.

Here's how things are laid out in building 40-26 in terms of HTP-airframe

Airplane 25 --> HTP #25
Airplane 26 --> HTP #29
Airplane 27 --> HTP #26
Airplane 28 --> HTP #27
Airplane 29 --> HTP #28
Airplane 30 --> HTP #30 --- this is where Boeing will be back to a normal assembly routine.

As evidenced by the number of 787s on the Boeing flightline where the HTP has been disassembled, it is evident that the problem is quite serious with many of them requiring rework prior to delivery. Boeing has set up a tool to allow easy access to the areas of the HTP that need rework but it's clear that the first 23 production airplanes will have quite a bit of work ahead of them before they are delivered next year. Flightblogger's article is a great read and does raise some flags with respect to Alenia. My sense is that if there is way Boeing can extract it self from Alenia it will. They have already indicated that the HTP for the 787-9 will probably come back in house and I think this is a certainty.

Flightblogger: A Closer Look: Inside the 787 delivery hold and horizontal stabilizer issues


Blog Owner said...

Picture of the Dreamliner I took taxiing for a test flight on 3/24/2010 at Boeing Field in Seattle. I have some others I'll try and get posted - A 787 taxied out after a Blue Angels practice in August and I took some pics (and possibly video if I remember correctly)

You can use the picture(and others I post later) if you like although I would appreciate a link to my blog.

Rajib said...

As I said, another 6 months of delay to first delivery...