Monday, June 28, 2010

Is the 787 survivable in a crash

Dominic Gates put out an extensive article detailing Boeing's struggles with making sure that the passengers on a 787 can survive a serious crash of the aircraft. Boeing engineers were raising red flags as early as 2005 about some serious issues including the survivability in crash. The survivability results for the 787 were compared to that of the 777 and in early simulations showed that the 777 was more survivable.

Boeing has since made changes to make the 787 more survivable in an impact. You can read more in Dominic's article:

Dominic Gates : How will 787's new materials fare in a crash landing?

787s resume test flights

Boeing resumed 787 test flights yesterday with ZA002 and ZA003 both flying. ZA003 flew from Pinal Airpark in Marana, Az to Boeing Field while ZA002 conducted what appears to be a regular test flight between Boeing Field and Moses Lake, Wa.

Because these two airplanes has resumed flight doesn't necessarily mean that they don't need rework. Boeing may have cleared the aircraft to fly but under certain operating restrictions that would not add stress to the horizontal stabilizer. I'm still awaiting word on weather any of the test flight airplanes need rework or not.

Dominic Gates broke the story on Saturday of the return to flight of the two 787s.

Dominic Gates : Two grounded 787s could take off again Sunday

Friday, June 25, 2010

Horizontal tab problems show up on the 787 and other news

Dominc Gates' article on June 24th that revealed Boeing is temporarily halting test flights because of workmanship issues with the horizontal stabilizer's shims and fastener torquing came as a complete shock to those following the program. The problem was bought to attention of Boeing managers on the previous day and Boeing ordered that all 25 assembled horizontal stabs (also known as the tail feathers) be checked of the issue. Boeing acknowledged that some of the parts on the tail feathers may have to be replaced so that the fatigue life of the horizontal stabs is not shortened due to the improperly installed shims and the over torquing on the fasteners. Boeing will inspect each of the test flight 787s starting with ZA002 and ZA003 since these two airplanes are performing their flight tests when the stop flying order was issued. ZA001, ZA004, and ZA005 are in the middle of planned layups and they will be the next to be inspected. Each inspection should last a day or two which means that ZA002 and ZA003 should already be inspected by now. If they are found to need fix, the 8 days that these airplanes will out of service should not effect Boeing test flight plans terribly. I have no word on the results of the inspections as of yet.

If problems are found on any of these aircraft they still may fly though under a reduced flight envelope so as not to strain and fatigue the horizontal stab. It will take Boeing about 8 days to repair each horizontal stab if problems are found. For the production aircraft this won't affect their delivery since these airplanes are not flying and can be easily repaired before delivery. Boeing will focus on fixing any of the issues with ZA001 through ZA006 as these are the test flight airplanes and getting them fixed and returned to flight test will be a priority.

I don't think there will be much effect on the flight test program and their is some margin in the test flight schedule. Boeing main issue to discover who this problem got past quality control and develop methodologies to make sure manufacturing errors like this don't occur. The issue also is why Alenia is having so many manufacturing issues with their product that they deliver to Boeing.

Boeing also says that they're going to go ahead with plans to bring ZA003 to Farnborough next month though they have not finalized those plans as of yet. If they do bring it it will go a log way to repairing Boeing's image vis a vis the 787.

Boeing also announced a production related change. There will production slow down in September due to resequencing of part deliveries into Everett for final assembly. This is due to customers taking different delivery dates. This will allow Boeing suppliers to catch up and to improve the supply chain health. Boeing is planning to implement the resequencing after airplane 27 (ZA178, LN 27) is delivered. Boeing indicated that the resequencing of deliveries shouldn't impact deliveries in 2010 and 2011 to customers.

In some other 787 news, Vietnam Airlines announced that they are switching their order from the 787-8 to the 787-9. The reason being is that the airline believes that the -9 will be a better performer than the -8. This came on the heels of Boeing announcing 3 more 787s orders from an unidentified customer.

Lastly, ZA006 which will be the last test flight 787 to take flight won't fly on July 13th as previously reported but now has been pushed back to July 26th. This is before the horizontal stab issue came to light. I don't know if the new problem will further push back ZA006's first flight or not but this airplane has to be inspected first.

Dominic Gates : Boeing Halts Flights for 787 Inspection

Dominic Gates : Dreamliner Chief Says Production Will Slow In September

Flightblogger : Gaps in horizontal stabilizer prompt another Alenia 787 quality issue

Flightblogger : Boeing plans additional re-sequencing of 787 parts deliveries

Flightblogger : Boeing starts 787 horizontal stabiliser inspections

Guy Norris : Boeing 787 Test Flights Halted

Aubrey Cohen : Boeing finds glitch in 787 horizontal stabilizers

Aubrey Cohen : Boeing inspecting 787s, plans to slow production in September

Flightglobal : Vietnam Airlines switches 787 order to -9s

Bloomberg : Boeing Says 787s May Need New Tail Parts After Inspections

Randy Tinseth : 787 inspections prioritized

Geoffrey Thomas : Boeing to bring 787 to Farnborough, happy with flight testing progress

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Boeing preparing customers for the 787

Great story out of Boeing. The short article details Boeing's efforts to hand over a mature product when deliveries start late this year. With the delays allowing Boeing to mature many of the systems and processes to support the aircraft before and after delivery to the customers. Boeing's aim is to make the entry into service of the 787 as seamless as possible for the customers and the passengers who will be flying on it.

Dream supporters : getting the 787 ready for passengers

Friday, June 18, 2010

Guy Norris Updates 787 Test Flight

Guy Norris of Aviation Week put out a great article describing the short term flight test program, particularly for ZA005 now that this aircraft has entered the test flight program. According to Guy, ZA005 will undertake an abbreviated version of the initial air worthiness testing including flutter testing and stability and control testing among other test points that will be examined with the GEnx-1B engines. This aircraft has essentially the same instrumentation that ZA001 has for it's testing earlier this year.

Guy also talks about the progress on increasing the fuel efficiency of the GEnx-1B engines and GE's desire to get the engines to spec with the PIP (product improvement package) 1 that would be delivered to customers around May of 2011. There are further improvements planned for the GEnx-1B to increase fuel efficiency even further but those improvements won't show up until 2012.

Guy Norris: GE-Powered 787 Enters Test Flight

Thursday, June 17, 2010

787 Test Flight Update from Boeing

Boeing Photo

Boeing Press Release:

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Passes 1,000 Hours of Flying

EVERETT, Wash., June 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --The Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner flight test fleet passed 1,000 hours of testing yesterday. The program estimates that it is about 40 percent through the test conditions required to certify the first version of the all-new jetliner.

"More work remains but we are seeing excellent progress in flight test," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Even more important than the hours we've logged are the test conditions we have completed. The team is being very efficient in getting the data we need."

"It's also important to note that we are making solid progress on the ground testing required on the flight test fleet as well," Fancher said.

Follow the progress of 787 flight test at

Bloomberg: ZA001 survives lightning strike

One big issue raised by people skeptical of Boeing's extensive use of composites for the fuselage of the 787 is the aircraft's ability to survive lightning strikes. Scott Fancher revealed to Bloomberg that ZA001 was struck by lightning during a test flight over Puget Sound. The strike was inadvertent but the aircraft and its systems survived the strike with no issues found after the aircraft had landed. Boeing has invested much to make sure that the all electric jet is well protected from lightning.

Additionally, Fancher revealed that Boeing flight test pilots have completed 40% of certification test points over the 1000 plus test flight hours that the test fleet has flown. Given this progress it may take Boeing much less than the stated 3,100 hours of flight test to complete the flight test program. Fancher says that test flight results are matching up to model predictions quite accurately thus adding to confidence in the program. If this trend continues I think that there will be a spike in 787 orders in the coming months as Boeing and it's customers get comfortable with the results coming out of the test flight program.

Bloomberg: Boeing 787 Withstands First Lightning Strike as Tests Advance

Boeing's Statement on ZA005 First Flight

Boeing Photo
UPDATE: Now that ZA005's first flight is in the bag, sources have told me that the aircraft will go though post first flight inspections as well as some ground tests. The next time this aircraft will fly is June 28th.
From Boeing:

News Release Issued: June 16, 2010 11:04 PM EDT

Boeing Completes First Flight of GE-Powered 787

EVERETT, Wash., June 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The first Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner with General Electric (GE) engines, the airplane referred to as ZA005, completed its first flight at 6:29 p.m. (Pacific time) today, following a 3-hour-and-48-minute flight over the state of Washington.

GE executives and Boeing employees were on hand to welcome Captains Mike Bryan and Mike Carriker to Boeing Field in Seattle following completion of the flight.

"The airplane handled just like I expected," said Bryan, who captained the flight. "It was just like every other 787 flight that I've flown in the last several months –smooth, per plan and excellent."

"We're pleased to introduce the fifth Dreamliner to the flight-test fleet and to start flight testing with GE engines," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program for Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "It's taken the collective resources and dedication of our teams to get to this day. There's just nothing like a first flight to validate that it has been worth the sacrifices we have all seen our teams make in the past several years."

ZA005 will be used to test the General Electric engine package and demonstrate that the changes made with the new engine do not change the airplane's handling characteristics.

The sixth, and final, 787 to join the flight test program is expected to fly before the end of July.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

787 Test Fleet Surpasses 1000 flight hours flown

With a 1 hour and 50 minute test flight on June 16th, the 787 test flight fleet surpassed the 1000 flight test hour mark. ZA003 landed at 7:50PM PT and the total, according to my accounting is 1000 hours and 30 minutes. This time might be refined when Boeing updates it's flight test web site on May 17th.

First GE powered 787 flies

Photo Courtesy of Liz Matzelle
The first 787 to be powered by GE's GEnx-1B engines finally took o the skies today. In keeping with the 787 tradition, this take off was delayed though this time due to low ceiling clouds and rain showers. It finally lifted off from the Everett runway at around 2:40 PM PT flew around the Seattle area before heading to Moses Lake. An observer told me that the sound of the GEnx engines on the 787 are very conventional sounding compared to the Trent 1000 which have a low pitched buzz saw sound to them. It flew back from Moses Lake and touched down at Boeing Field at about 6:22 PM PT. This now kicks off Boeing-GE certification test flights of the GEnx powered 787. ZA005 joins the Rolls Royce powered test fleet that has been flying for the past 6 months starting with ZA001. Test flights should last another 5 months and the last GE powered aircraft, ZA006, should be flying by July 13th...about 4 weeks from now.

Video courtesy of Liz Matzelle:

ZA005 First Flight from Liz Matzelle on Vimeo.

David Parker Brown of also got a lot of video and photos of today's first flight:

Video and pictures of ZA005 first flight by David Parker Brown

Photos of ZA005 first flight by David Parker Brown

Photos of ZA005 first flight by Liz Matzelle

Flightblogger, Jon Ostrower is writing a in depth article about this particular 787 and its test flight responsibilities.

Flightblogger: Better Know A Dreamliner - Part Five - ZA005

Guy Norris is also writing up a post which should be posted very soon but he does have a couple of pieces up:

Guy Norris: GE powered 787 flies
747-8 and 787 ready for test expansion

Matt Cawby got some amazing video of ZA005 first flight and I highly recommend it:

Matt Cawby: N787FT First Flight

And some video from King5, a Seattle TV station with a unique angle of the take off:

Video Courtesy of King 5

Lastly, ZA003 is flying tonight and when it lands it will push the 787 flight test hours to 1000 flight hours. Stay tuned for information on that.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Dreamliner 5 taxi tests on video

Matt Cawby got some great pictures and video of ZA005 performing its taxi tests around Everett Field. Things are looking good for the aircraft to conduct its first flight tomorrow. No time has been given but the last four 787s were given 10 AM PT target times for their first flights. Check out Matt Cawby's post:

Matt Cawby: 787 Update - June 15

Six Months In...787 Flight Test Update

As Boeing is prepares to add the fifth 787 to the test flight program, the current Rolls Royce test fleet is accumulating test flight hours though at a lower pace compared to a month ago. ZA004 and ZA001 have been out of the test flight picture with ZA001 receiving new engines and just recently returning to the sky and ZA004 receiving some needed instrumentation for the upcoming flight loads testing. ZA004 should return to the air by the end of the month.
Six months after ZA001 took to the air, the combined test flight hours stand at a shade under 983 hours. The average per flight hours is 4 hours and 12 minutes but thus far in June, the test flight fleet has flown 22 missions for almost 105 and half hours making the average flight last 4 hours and 47 minutes. Over the past three months the average hours per flight has steadily increased with Boeing flying longer missions on each of the airplanes and accomplishing more tasks on each flight.

Later this week it is expected that the total 787 test flight hours flown will break the 1000 hour mark and by early next week Boeing would be 1/3 of the way through its flight test program.
In order to achieve the 3,100 test flight hours by mid November of this year (22 weeks), the test flight fleet would have to fly 96 hours and 13 minutes per week. With the addition of ZA005 to the test flight program tomorrow and the anticipated first flight of ZA006 on July 13th, Boeing should be able to achieve its certification goals by mid-November.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Big Day for the 747 Program

Lots of happenings at Boeing for the 747 program. A lot of positive news about this program coming out from Boeing and other places. In short they are:
  1. The 747-8F has received it TIA (Type Inspection Authorization) so now FAA engineers and inspectors will ride along to certify the 747-8F.
  2. Boeing started fuselage assembly of the first 747-8I.
  3. A 747-8F for Korean Air Cargo made its appearance on the Everett ramp today in full Korean Air livery joining the 747-8F for Cargolux.
Boeing Photo

The start of fuselage assembly represents a major milestone in the 747-8I program. Boeing has already been working on the wings but as you can see from the Boeing photo, the iconic shape of the 747 is starting to become reality for the newest version of the aircraft. It will be amazing to see the full aircraft, with it stretched upper deck, completed sometime this fall and prepared for its first flight scheduled to take place late this year or early next year. Here's Boeing's press release:

Boeing Begins Fuselage Assembly for First 747-8 Intercontinental

EVERETT, Wash., June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) began fuselage assembly of the first 747-8 Intercontinental at the factory in Everett, Wash. Mechanics loaded panels for the 31-foot, 8-inch (9.6 m) long front section of the new airplane into the assembly tool. The panels are part of section 41, the area of the fuselage that houses the flight deck on the upper deck and the forward passenger cabin on the main deck, an area that most airlines typically configure with first class seating.

The 747-8 Intercontinental is the new, high-capacity 747 that offers airlines the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane while providing enhanced environmental performance. Boeing has 109 orders for the 747-8 -- 33 for the 747-8 Intercontinental and 76 for the 747-8 Freighter. The first 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled to deliver in late 2011.

Randy Tinseth put up a few more great pictures of the assembly of the first section 41 for the 747-8I on his blog. First Look - 747-8 Intercontinental.

Later in the day Boeing announced that the 747-8F achieved a major milestone in receiving the Type Inspection Authorization from the FAA. This now means that Boeing will conduct certification flight tests with the FAA on board as the organizations deems the aircraft safe enough to allow its personnel on board for test flights. The 747-8F program has gotten off to a rocky starts but now seems to be gathering momentum. It still remains to be seen if Boeing can deliver the aircraft to Cargolux on time by the end of this year. Here's Boeing's press release:
Boeing 747-8 Freighter Receives Expanded Type Inspection Authorization

EVERETT, Wash., June 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) received expanded type inspection authorization (TIA) from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the 747-8 Freighter on June 11. This authorization clears the way for FAA personnel to participate in test flights and collect required data.

"This is a major step in our effort to test and certify the 747-8 Freighter for our customers," said Mo Yahyavi, vice president and general manager for the 747 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The airplane is performing well in the tests. We have demonstrated the airplane's readiness to move onto the next stage in the flight-test program through tests at a variety of speeds, altitudes and configurations."

With the issuance of TIA, the 747 program is beginning expanded certification testing. During this phase of testing, the extremes of the flight envelope are explored. Testing conditions include operations in hot and cold weather as well as takeoffs and landings at high-altitude airports. In addition, over-speed conditions, hard landings and engine-out conditions are tested.

"The airplane is handling beautifully," said Mark Feuerstein, 747 program chief pilot, Boeing Test and Evaluation. "It is a joy to fly."

The entire flight-test program calls for a total of about 3,700 hours of ground and air testing. The first 747-8 Freighter delivery is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.

Photo courtesy of David Parker Brown

Lastly, Dave Parker Brown of, got some terrific pictures of the third 747-8F to come out of the final assembly hall at Everett. The aircraft is destined for Korean Air Cargo when the certification program is complete. You can see the other pictures by Dave by clicking here.

Flightblogger has a couple of posts about todays 747 events:

Flightblogger: FAA grants expanded type inspection authorisation to 747-8F

Flightblogger: Korean Air Cargo first 747-8F revealed as program earns TIA

Saturday, June 12, 2010

787 News

Last night Boeing moved both ZA006 and ZA531 (LN 16) for LAN out of building 40-24. ZA531 was moved to stall 105 on the Boeing flightline and ZA006 was moved to the paint hangar 45-04.

Also yesterday, the main fuselage for ZA177 (LN 23) and the wings for ZA116 (LN 24) arrived into Everett. All the major parts are now in building 40-26 and will be moved into position late Sunday night/early Monday morning. There will be a line move tomorrow where ZA100 (LN 7) will be moved out to building 40-24 (Later ZA1001 will be moved into the same building).

There is an unconfirmed rumor that I'm working to verify that ZA005 will fly as early as Monday, June 14th. Stay tuned ad I hope to have more information on this soon.

Lastly, Matt Cawby got pictures and video of G-STBA, the first 777-300ER for British Airways coming out of the Boeing paint hangar.

Matt Cawby's Blog Posting - June 11, 2010

Matt Cawby's BLog Posting June 12, 2010

Thursday, June 10, 2010

787 Production Movement

Boeing is preparing to restart final assembly on the 787s by June 14th but until then there will be movement of currently assembled airframes around Paine Field.

To start ZA006 the last test flight aircraft and the second to be equipped with the GEnx-1B engines will be pulled out of building 40-24 tomorrow night and taken out to the Boeing flightline to be prepared for its first flight expected around July 13th.

ZA100 (LN 7) will be moved out of building 40-26 on Sunday June 13th and will be placed inside 40-24.

After the line move ZA101 will occupy position 4, ZA102 will occupy position 3 and ZA115 (LN 22) will be moved to position 2 all inside building 40-26. This will make room at position 1 for ZA177 (LN 23) to start final assembly on June 14th.

ZA005 will conduct its first flight on June 16th and will create on empty spot on the flightline (their going to need it)

After a couple of weeks, there will be another line move with ZA101 being moved to 40-24 on June 27th. The aircraft that are in 40-26 will be moved one position to make room for ZA116 (LN 24) to start final assembly on June 28th.

After about another two weeks there will be another move with ZA102 being moved out directly to the flightline on July 12th. On July 13th ZA230 (LN 25) will start final assembly.

Interestingly when Boeing put the temporary halt into effect ZA175 and ZA176 were moved into the ATS Hangar and they will remain there. The aircraft are not finished and I think Boeing will probably finish them at ATS.

Lastly, all the completed 787s and 747-8 are going out to the flightline without engines and interiors. This is so Boeing will not have to pay the suppliers for these items until they're needed to be installed which is closer to their first flight dates.

ZA003 taking a jaunt around the western US

Most the 787 test flights involved flying circuits around Washington State (when they at Boeing Field) or over the Pacific (when at Victorville). Well today ZA003 is taking a a leisurely jaunt around the country according to The track takes the 787 eastward over Washington, Idaho and Montana then heads southeast over Wyoming, Colorado, nips a part of Kansas then over Oklahoma into Texas. It takes a right turn over Texas then flies a north westerly route over southern New Mexico and southern Arizona going into California close to the California-Mexico border and flies along that border at which point near San Diego it will turn north and fly over LA and San Francisco. It then takes a direct northerly route from there going over northern California, through Oregon and into Washington State and ending at Boeing Field in Seattle. This flight test should last a little over 8 hours.

Check out the Flightaware live flight tracking for this flight.

787 and 747 News - June 10, 2010

Flightblogger and Guy Norris reported just yesterday that the FAA has moved one step closer to giving Boeing approval for type commonality for crew qualifications between the 787 and the 777 aircraft. Boeing wants to have this approval to allow 777 pilots to be qualified to fly the 787 after only 5 days of training. In doing so this would allow airlines to have one pool of pilots that would be able to fly both aircraft with minimal costs. The savings would be huge and bolsters the 787s economic case.

According to Guy Norris, the approval needs to be completed in three steps. The first is systems which has been completed. The second is handling qualities...both aircraft should have similar handling qualities. It is this second step that has been completed and approved. The last step is validation of the training course for pilots which includes the 787 check rides with the FAA. There is no word on when the third step will be completed but I have to assume that Boeing would like to have it done prior to first delivery to ANA who is a large 777 operator.

ZA001 is still in layup after having its engines changed out and should fly again towards the end of the month. Boeing is also adding artificial ice shapes to the leading edges for tests and then the airplane should be at Edwards Air Force Base later this summer for Vmu (velocity minimum unstick) testing. Here ZA001 will basically drag its tail on the ground and see what the slowest speed the 787 can take off at. ZA004 is also expected to be back in the air by the end of June for flight loads testing. It is currently getting additional instrumentation in order for them to conduct the testing. ZA002 and ZA003 are currently flying with the Boeing test fleet accumulating over 938 hours.

Guy Norris : 787 closer to 777 commonality approval

Flightblogger : Carriker: 787 designed with 777 handling in mind

Flight testing appears to be going very well for the 787. So much so that Boeing is closer to deciding to send the 787 to Farnborough. As I had reported earlier, Boeing will most likely not make a decision until early July but odds are that they will send ZA003 to Farnborough. Flightblogger reported yesterday that Boeing is planning to send both ZA003 (787) and RC503 (747-8F painted in Cargolux livery) to Farnborough. Later Boeing tweeted that they're "planning on the 787" but "the 747-8 is looking less likely." This is pretty much true in my opinion as Boeing is behind in flight testing of the 747-8F. I don't think they could spare the aircraft or the time to send the aircraft to Europe.

Flightblogger : Boeing's Farnborough Outlook ZA003 and RC503

Boeing Photo

Lastly, Boeing showed solid proof of the progress of the 747-8I. The first fuselage panels of the aircraft are now in Everett. The first airplane should be rolled out towards the end of this year with first flight early next year.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Airbus gain at the ILA but A350 issues loom

This past week Airbus got a much needed shot in the arm for the failing A380 program when Emirates Airlines ordered 32 more of the super jumbos. This will bring the airlines A380 fleet to 90 airplanes when the last aircraft is delivered in 2017. This deal meets Airbus' goal of selling 20 or more A380 this year but of the 234 total orders for this airplane, over 40% of this number is from one airline. A huge exposure for Airbus if the airline's fortune's go south. Another issue that sticks out is that the airplane has not attracted any new customers at the present time.

Airbus is still struggling to execute its production plan and it remains to be seen if they could achieve their goal of 20+ A380 deliveries this year.. The program continues to be a cash drain on EADS/Airbus' earnings overall and even with the 32 air frame order, the company is far from breakeven on this program.

More ominously, dark clouds are looming for Airbus' other major widebody program, the A350. Saj Ahmad has been poking around and this morning said that the A350 program could find its schedule pushed back by as much as one year from the current mid-2013 delivery of the first A350 to Qatar Airways. Airbus is still struggling with weight issues on the aircraft with some estimates that the airplane could be overweight by as much as 6+ tons overweight and fuel burn impacted by as much as 1% or more according to Saj. Airbus has produced a few composite fuselage panels but because they have to attach the panels to a skeletal structure the fittings used to attach the panels are turning out to be heavier than anticipated. Airbus has acknowledged that they have used up almost all their schedule margin in the program and delays on this airplane along with resources needed to tackle the problems in the A380 and A400M program will undoubtedly present a huge schedule an monetary risk to Airbus as it attempts to pay suppliers, finalize the designs and ramp up production of the A350. Even though Saj is saying up to a one year delay is in the personal feeling is that it would be 18 to 24 months.

Saj Ahmad: Airbus A350XWB “Delays Inevitable”

Flightblogger: The curious case of 90 A380s

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Boeing restarts 787 part deliveries into Everett

As I had reported last week, Boeing will restart 787 final assembly on Monday, June 14th. This is reinforced with the restart of LCF flights bringing the required fuselage sections into Everett. Yesterday and LCF flew in the rear fuselage for the next 787 to be built...ZA177 (LN 23) for Japan Airlines and horizontal stabs for Air India's first 787, ZA230 (LN 25). Later this afternoon, the forward fuselage will be flown from Wichita to Everett. There should be a line move late this weekend to allow parts for the 23rd 787 to be located in the assembly tool in building 40-26.

Flight Test

ZA002 flew a 2 hour and 35 minute mission this morning (June 8th) out of Victorville. In completing this test flight, the 787 test fleet has completed over 30% of the required 3,100 test flight hours for the program. ZA005 continues its gauntlet testing ahead of a planned first flight on June 16th.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First 747-8F in Cargolux Livery emerges from Boeing paint hangar

Boeing Photo

UPDATE: Cargolux has more pics of their new 747-8F on it web site. Click HERE to see them.

Boeing has painted the first 747-8F for delivery to Cargolux, the 747-8F launch customer. The first 747-8F is still scheduled for delivery at the end of the year though there is some concern that the test flight program is running behind schedule. Here's Boeing's Press Release:

News Release Issued: June 7, 2010 9:01 AM EDT

Boeing 747-8
Emerges From Paint Hangar in New Cargolux Livery

SEATTLE, June 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The first Boeing (NYSE: BA) 747-8 Freighter painted in customer livery emerged today from the Boeing paint hangar in Everett, Wash. The airplane sports an updated livery for launch customer Cargolux. The Luxembourg-based cargo operator has a total of 13 Boeing 747-8 Freighters on

Boeing delivered the last Cargolux 747-400 Freighter with a unique transition paint scheme featuring fading stripes. The new livery on Cargolux's 747-8 Freighter is an evolution from the current design and marks the start into a new era for the company.

"The design stands for continuity and commitment while confirming the fundamental principles that made Cargolux successful. The red, white and blue stripes symbolize the company's roots in Luxembourg, its hub and home base," said Ulrich Ogiermann, chief executive officer of Cargolux. The new livery features a distinctive new red tail and an additional logo on the belly further promotes the brand.

Boeing will deliver the first 747-8 Freighter to launch customer Cargolux in the fourth quarter of this year.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

First GEnx 787 starts gauntlet testing; 787 Test Fleet Exceeds 900 Flight Hours Flown

UPDATE (9:10 Eastern Time): Guy Norris posted a 787 update on the Things With Wings Blog at Aviation Week. He writes about testing composites as well as using resin infused composites for the 787-9. Lastly, he reviews the flight test program to date. It great article and certainly worth the read.

Guy Norris : 787 - composites under the hammer and more tests

This weekend was very eventful for the 787 program. First ZA002 flew an eleven and a half hour test flight on June 5th (Saturday) out of the Southern California Logistics Airport in Victorville. Both ZA002 and ZA003 flew this weekend with ZA001 and ZA004 undergoing installation of additional instrumentation and in the case of ZA001 a change out of it's Trent-1000 engines.

Today, June 6th, the first 787 with the GEnx-1B engines started gauntlet testing as I had reported earlier in the week. These tests are taking place in the run up to ZA005's first flight which is expected to take place around June 16th. Matt Cawby posted a great video on his blog of ZA005 engines running at high RPMs:

Matt Cawby's June 6th 787 Update

Friday, June 4, 2010

787 and 747 news

Here's a rundown on news bits regarding the 747-8 and 787 programs.

Boeing and ANA will test the 787 in Japan this fall. No word on when this fall it will take palce but theDreamliner will be spending a week flying around a select few Japanese airports and allowing ANA staff to perform maintenance during the testing.

Dreamliner Test Flights to Start This Fall in Japan

In a related story, ANA is planning to start flying the 787 on international revenue service in March, 2011 after taking delivery in November, 2010. Prior to next March international debut for the ANA 787, the airline plans to fly the airplane on domestic service. There you have it folks...ANA is expecting first delivery in about 6 months. ANA also plans to start pilot training in September.

All Nippon Plans First 787 Overseas Flights in March

Flightblogger: ANA sees November 787 delivery, January EIS, March International Debut

Yesterday, ZA002 performed a 12 hour test flight out of Victorville. Sources have told me that testing during this flight included, NGS/Tank Thermal Testing, airspeed calibrations, and TEVC (trailing edge variable camber) cruise optimization testing. The same sources said that testing went so well that additional test conditions were also completed during the same test flight. Both ZA001 and ZA004 are still undergoing work on the ramps. ZA005 will start the mini-gauntlet on June 6th (this weekend) and then start the run up for first flight on June 16.

RC521 (747-8F) in tug collision, Boeing details test flight program for the fourth 747-8F, and engineers fix the flap buffet issue on the 747-8F. Flightblogger has a great update including the imminent start of NAMS testing on RC521 as well as what roles the 4th test flight aircraft (RC503) will in the 747-8F flight testing.

Flightblogger: Boeing details role of fourth 747-8F flight test aircraft

Lastly, some news about the 787 competitor. Louis Gallois, CEO of EADS is saying that much of the schedule margin in the A350 program has been eaten up and that from a scheduling perspective, the program is "tense." The program has already delayed final assembly and first flight on the first A350 though they have not delayed the first delivery which is scheduled for 2013.

Bloomberg: Airbus A350 Timing ‘Tense’ as Gallois Takes Cue From Dreamliner

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The first 43

With Boeing poised to restart final assembly of the 787 I was wondering where the production 787s are heading. I do have a spreadsheet below listing the 787 production and where the individual aircraft are heading. I was only able to get information up to the 49th 787 built (the first 6 are the test flight airplanes with the last three earmarked for customers) but it is interesting where most of the 787s are heading to. Many of the first 43 production airplanes are heading for ANA with Air India taking quite a few as well. Here who getting how many:

ANA - 15 787s
Air India - 10 787s
Japan Airlines - 8 787s
China Southern Airlines - 3 787s
LAN - 2 787s
RAM - 2 787s
Ethiopian Airlines - 2 787s
Continental Airlines - 1 787

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

End of May 787 Update

Not too much to update here but what I lack in quantity I hopefully make up in quality!

787 flight testing slowed down this past weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) with only one airplane flying, ZA002. This airplane surpassed 250 flight hours this past weekend. ZA001 is swapping out it's Trent 1000 engines and is about midway through that exercise. It is not, as far as I have learned, a swap out of the Trent package "A" engines (which was what this aircraft has been flying with since December) with the improved package "B" engines. The fourth 787, ZA004 will receive the improved package "B" Trent 1000 in September. The package "B" engines is supposed to deliver a specific fuel consumption that is within 1% of what was promised to customers. These engines incorporates design improvements to get that fuel consumption close to what is contractually promised by Rolls Royce. ZA004 is receiving some APU updates and additional instrumentation and ZA003 was given the weekend off for the Holidays. The 787 test fleet has flown the most hours in the program during the past one month, logging over 330 hours spread across over 100 flights. The per flight utilization also went up to 3.2 hours per flight. Most of this is attributed to ZA004 performing Nautical Air Miles Testing over the eastern Pacific just west of the Baja Peninsula.

To date the 787 test fleet has accumulated over 880 flight test hours during more than 280 flights.

Coming up

So far so good with flight testing. ZA002 flew to Victorville this morning (June 1) and is joining ZA004 in flight test duties. The two airplanes will be testing independent of one another. ZA002 will undertaking NGS (nitrogen generating system) tests as well as some other small testing duties.

ZA005 is still scheduled to fly around June 16th and ZA006 will be flying around July 13th.

On the production front, look for LN 23 to start final assembly around June 14th. Boeing held up final assembly of 787s for one month to allow the supply chain to get caught up in work instead of sending the fuselage sections to Everett along with travelled work. Look for parts for this airplane to start arriving next week though some parts are already in for this airplane.

Lastly, I asked Boeing about sending the 787 to the Farnborough Air Show. They said no decision has been made yet and it will depend on the progress of flight testing. They anticipate that a decision should be made closer to the time of the air show in mid July.

Two 787s in Victorville

The second 787, ZA002 is flying to Victorville, Ca. to join it's sistership in flight testing from Southern California. It's due to arrive at the Southern California Logistics Airport at around 10:20 PT (1:20 ET). No word yet on the what testing will be done at Victorville yet or if ZA004 will be moving back to Boeing Field. It's the second trip for this airplane to the airport outside of LA.

Flightaware track for ZA002