Saturday, December 31, 2011

Updated 787 deliveries till Jan. 4th

UPDATE: The flyaway (from Everett) should occur on the 4th for 805A and 807A which means delivery (formal paper signing and transfer of money) should occur by the 3rd of January.

Just got a message as well as saw a posting on an forum that all three 787s that were due to be delivered around now have "gone tech" meaning there is a maintenance related issue with all three airplanes.

JA805A (L/N 31, ZA116) was supposed to depart Everett 2 days ago and is now schedule to be flown out on Jan. 4th in an evening depature. JA807A (L/N 41, ZA104) will fly out the same day a little later after JA805A has left(it was to deliver on Dec. 30th and fly out a couple days later).

JA804A's (L/N 9, ZA102) delivery was also scheduled for Dec. 30th (fly out a couple days later) but also cancelled though for unknown reasons. It is not known when it will be ready for delivery though this aircraft has flown as recently as Dec. 30th (as had ZA104).

Currently there are no other 78 deliveries scheduled in January but this doesn't mean that Boeing will not deliver any more beyond the two aforementioned aircraft. The situation is very fluid and it is unknown if the issues affecting these two aircraft is something more endemic throughout all the 787s or if this a one off situation.

Dec. 31st - no sign of further 787 deliveries

Today is December 31st, 2011 and there has been no further evidence of any other 787 deliveries beyond the ones made in September and October.

This doesn't indicate that ANA and Boeing has concluded the formal signing over of the aircraft and transferring of money and signing of documents. That may well have happened already but no aircraft has left Everett bound for Japan as of yet and there has been no announcement from Boeing or ANA of the formal delivery of any of these airplanes. ZA116 (JA805A) is still in Everett and has flown both Boeing and customer flights but I don't know if there are more test flights that have yet to be done or if there is any more work that needs to be concluded on the airplane itself. This Dreamliner is probably the one that is closest to being delivered.

The other two airplanes ZA104 (JA807A) and ZA102 (JA804A) have done some customer flights out of Everett but probably need to do a few more flights before ANA formally accepts them. I do think that Boeing can deliver all three airplanes within the next week in order for ANA to meet its newly revised international 787 service schedule. It is to start Tokyo - Beijing service in the middle of January and Tokyo - Frankfurt service in February.

As far as other airplanes, ZA236 has yet to make a flight to start finish F&R/ETOPs testing on the GEnx powered 787. There is no word on when that will happen though it has run its engines for the first time just before Christmas though there was a small fuel fire 30 minutes into the engine run. I don't know what effect that has on the schedule as of now.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Possible Delivery Delay for GEnx powered 787?

Given that the delays to the 787 for ANA are well documented, Boeing is pushing hard to get three more Dreamliners into the hands of the airline before the end of the year. The revised delivery schedule for this month shows that ZA116 should deliver around Dec. 27 with ZA104 and ZA102 delivering on Dec. 30th. Of course this is all subject to change.

The knock on effects maybe felt to the GEnx powered 787s. Let's review first. Boeing has flown almost all the test points for FAA certification of the GEnx-1B powered version of the 787. The remaining test points that need to be completed is functionality and reliability testing and ETOPs testing. Now Boeing completed some of this testing on the flight test version of the aircraft but the FAA requires that some portion of this testing to be done on a production version of the plane. Boeing has assigned ZA236 (L/N 35, VT-ANH). When Boeing ran the F&R/ETOPs testing on the Trent-1000 version of the airplane it was done on ZA102 (which is being prepared for delivery) and lasted about 300 hours.

I am assuming that Boeing will have to fly a similar number of hours for the GE powered machine but some of those hours have been done on the test flight birds (ZA005 and ZA006). It is unknown how many more hours will be needed to finish certification testing.

ZA236 has yet to fly and it seems that resources have been diverted from preparing this airplane for flight to preparing the three aforementioned ANA 787s for delivery. Flightblogger had reported that Boeing was to fly ZA236 by the middle of this month but it's now looking that it will be later this month. For the Trent-1000 version, Boeing conducted the 300 hour F&R/ETOPs over a 51 day period during this past summer. Assuming that Boeing has to only fly half that amount (150 hours) with ZA236 (with the rest already done by the test aircraft) which means about 3 to 4 weeks of flight tests and that testing starts soon after the New Year, the test program can wrap up around the end of January. Figure a couple of weeks before the FAA issues the amended type certificate (middle of February) then deliveries can take place start in middle to late February. This is assuming that there aren't any production issues holding up these airplanes and no unexpected issues that are revealed during the final F&R/ETOPs testing.

Boeing's delivery forecast for the GEnx-1B was very early 2012 (January) and internal documents up until last week had Boeing delivering the first to Japan Airlines in January 2012. This is now not the case as the situation is still very fluid.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Charleston forges ahead

Boeing Photo

Boeing announced today that the first 787 to be built in their new plant in North Charleston has touched down on its wheels for the first time today. The weight on wheels means that this airplane will be rolled to the last final assembly spots for further assembly tasks. The airplane is destined for Air India and is designated ZA237, L/N 46. Boeing is expecting that this airplane should be delivered by mid -2012 but Jim Albaugh has indicated that it can be delivered earlier than that. It appears that this aircraft (from the photo above) is headed for the third position on the line where, according the the Boeing press release, it will receive mechanical, electrical and hydraulic systems and under go testing. Presumably it will head to position 4 for interiors and engine installation.
Here's the Boeing press release:

Boeing South Carolina Site Achieves 787 Weight on Wheels Milestone

Production achievement marks continued momentum on first 787 built at site

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C., Dec. 20, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA)
announced today that its first South Carolina-built 787 put weight on wheels for the
first time on Dec. 18.

"Our Boeing South Carolina team has achieved another significant milestone, putting weight on wheels," said Jack Jones, Boeing South Carolina vice president and general manager. "This is a result of both great local talent and dedication and talent and knowledge assembled from across Boeing Commercial Airplanes."

The airplane moved on its landing gear, via tug, to the next production position where electrical, hydraulic and mechanical systems installation and testing will continue over the next several weeks. Installation of the airplane's engines and interior will begin soon.

"To achieve weight on wheels just 24 months after breaking ground on this new facility is incredible," said Marco Cavazzoni, Boeing South Carolina Final Assembly and Delivery vice president and general manager.

"This is a great testament to what can be done when a well-trained, knowledgeable and highly motivated team focuses on a common goal."

Boeing South Carolina remains on schedule for its first 787 Dreamliner delivery in the first half of 2012.

Made from composite materials, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the first mid-size airplane capable of flying long-range routes and will allow airlines to open new, non-stop routes preferred by the traveling public. As a result of innovative technologies, the airplane offers unparalleled operating economics, fuel efficiency and passenger comfort. More than 800 787s are on order by more than 50 airlines, a testament to the airplane's unique capabilities.

In the background of the photograph is the next Dreamliner to be built at Charleston already in the wing-body join tooling in position 1. This airplane is ZA238, L/N 54 and is also destined for Air India.
In other news not too much is happening with the 787s at Everett though there seems to have been a lot of movement of the completed airframes from pictures on Matt Cawby's web site. ZA 104 made its first flight yesterday and Boeing, so far, is maintaining a delivery target for the end of this month. ZA116 had ANA pilots conducting radio checks today while ZA102 was supposed to conduct taxi tests now that it out of change incorporation. All three of these airplanes are scheduled for delivery late this month with ZA116's delivery coming up first. The next few days will be very interesting.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Now it's three

A source told me this morning that L/N 42 (ZA105, JA808A) wil not be delivered this month as originally intended. This aircraft is still sitting in front of the EMC going through final preparation for delivery but Boeing will probably have to wait until next month.
This is hardly a surprise given all the work yet to be done to get these airplanes ready for delivery. Boeing will try to deliver 3 more 787s this year for a total of 5. Boeing has already delivered 9 747-8F airplanes and will probably be done for the year for 747 deliveries. The total 747 and 787 deliveries will total 14 of which 1/3 are 787s and 2/3 747 which is what Boeing had projected earlier this quarter. However, they were hoping to deliver 15 - 20 787s nad 747s in total. Unfortunately they will not even reach the lower bound of that number.
There has been no further test flights of any production 787s as of yet.

Friday, December 16, 2011

More on Boeing 787 delivery schedule

In the wake of the news coming out of Japan of the delay to the 3rd Dreamliner delivery more news has since come out courtesy of Dominic Gates at the Seattle Times and Susanna Ray at Bloomberg News.

Dominic Gates reported yesterday evening that the reason of the delay for the third 787 to ANA is wiring issues that the FAA found during a standard inspection as well as non functioning APUs in three 787s. Because the APU didn't start, tests that were to be done with the APU running had to be put off until the units were replaced. Boeing is calling these issues minor yet they were severe enough to force ANA to revise its international plans that were supposed to start this month.

It is unknown if this is a problem that is endemic through the 787s that are sitting in Everett or it is just a one off problem. Still the upshot is that the L/N will not be delivered until middle of next week and the other three airplanes that are set to be delivered have yet to fly on their pre-delivery tests with Boeing and ANA pilots. The delay which this site reported back in mid November forced ANA to postpone the start of international 787 service to next month.

Due to the pressure to deliver these four airplanes (L/N 9, L/N 31, L/N 41, L/N 42) Boeing is having some of it workers work through the holiday season which is traditionally a week off for Boeing employees. Undoubtedly they will probably be well compensated for their time. There are only three of these airplanes on the Boeing flightline though the fourth, L/N 42, is outside in front of EMC so it might be pulled out to the flightline very soon. Interestingly according to the Bloomberg article, the APU and wire issues aren't pacing the schedule. The question then is, what is pacing the delivery schedule, at least in the near term. Both articles say that Boeing feels that the issues are minor.

As of yet L/N 41 and L/N 42 have not flown and L/N 9 while it has flown still has not begun the process of Boeing and customer check flights. L/N 31 has had quite a few flights but has not flown since Wednesday, Dec. 14th. I'll be watching to see if there is any further movement on these airplanes but certainly, if the other three airplanes have not flown by middle of next week then Boeing's hopes of delivering at least four 787 this month will be dashed.

Lastly, in a related note, L/N 35 which to perform the ETOPs/F&R testing for the GEnx-1B on a 787 production frame still has not made its first flight. IF Boeing hopes to deliver the GEnx powered 787 next month they need to start flight tests on this airplane very soon or the certification and start of deliveries can slide to the right again.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Boeing to attempt 4 787 deliveries in December

According to a source, Boeing will now attempt to deliver 4 787 in the month of December instead of 2 as I had previously reported.

In addition to JA805A (L/N31,ZA116) and JA807A (L/N41, ZA104); Boeing will also try to deliver JA804A (L/N9, ZA102) and JA808A (L/N42, ZA 105).

L/N 9 has already flown as it took part in the certification test program when it conducted F&R/ETOPs testing for the 787/Trent-1000 combination. Boeing should be able to deliver this airplane though it still needs to conduct pre-delivery test flights. Of the four airplanes that are mentioned above, only L/N 31 is flying customer and Boeing pre-delivery flights. It it anticipated that this airplane should be delivered within the next one week, before Christmas time.

The other three have yet to fly and are all scheduled to be delivered just before New Year'e Eve (2011 in case you were wondering). L/N 42 was to have flown on Dec. 13th and it is still not on the flightline as of yet. L/N 41 is supposed to fly on the 16th of December.

Additionally, it was revealed that Boeing has penciled in three 787 deliveries for next month. L/N 23 (JA822J, ZA177) will be the first 787 with GEnx-1B engines delivered to a customer. This airplane has just returned from San Antonio where it was undergoing change incorporation. It has received a new paint job (which has underwhelmed the aviation geek community) though I don't know if it has its customer interiors fitted as of yet. L/N 35 (VT-ANH, ZA236) for Air India is also due to be delivered in January. This airplane is supposed to start ETOPs/F&R testing in support of the certification test program for the GEnx powered 787s. According to Flightblogger, this airplane is to have it's first flight around the middle of December so far nothing yet. Lastly, L/N 40 (JA806A, ZA117) will also be delivered to ANA in January. This aircraft is still at EMC. Nothing is certain with these three airplanes and their delivery dates are dependent on getting the work done on them as well as finishing up ETOPS and F&R testing on the GEnx powerplant.

This is quite an ambitious schedule for the next two weeks for Boeing. They are still struggling with the amount of work that has to be done on the 24 or so 787s that are in Everett. Particularly vexing is the amount of work on the early build 787s. As I had mentioned before none these early build 787s are in EMC (yet) or in 40-24. They're all stacked up on the Everett flightline. Most of the deliveries are the late build models which don't require as much work. Even so, the amount of work is so daunting that Boeing is trying hard to get the late build 787s into the air and into the hands of customers. There is a rumor going around that Boeing is pulling people off the 747-8 airplanes that have to be prepared for delivery and putting them on 787. If so then 747 deliveries might fall as a consequence. Boeing has delivered 8 thus far and are planning to deliver 1-2 more 747s.

Time is running out if Boeing is to deliver even two 787s this month let alone 4.

Monday, December 5, 2011

ANA's 3rd 787 takes flight

Boeing conducted the first flight of the next 787 to be delivered on Dec. 5, 2011. BOE116 took off this afternoon from Everett heading to Moses Lake Airport and then back to Everett. The aircraft should be in the air for about 3 hours. Production aircraft usually have about 20 - 25 test hours flown by both Boeig and customer pilots befoer they are delivered. I expect that this airplane (L/N 31, ZA116, JA805A) should be delivered in about 2 to 3 weeks.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

787 update 12/1/2011

With all the excitement over yesterday's Boeing-IAM contract extension, there wa also news about the 787 that has come out and I would like to recap here.

787-GEnx certification

Boeing is still about 95% complete with 787-GEnx-1B certification testing according to Jim Albaugh who spoke at a Credit Suisse conference in NY yesterday. Certification testing using ZA005 and ZA006 are more or less complete according to Flightblogger, in a post on Nov. 29th. Additionally, he reported that ZA006 is getting some test equipement removed pior to be sent to San Antonio for refurbishment into a customer aircraft. If the change incorporation being done on production aircraft is any indication then this work on ZA006 is likely to take quite a bit of time to complete.

Boeing has done some of the F&R testing on the test aircraft but has to do the rest on a production standard aircraft. The 787 that has been tasked for this work is L/N 35 which is a 787 to be delivered to Air India. According to Flightblogger, first flight of this airplane has been delayed to around the middle of December owing to the slower pace of change incorporation on the 787s. Because of the delay in getting the needed aircraft, delivery of the first GEnx-1B 787 has slipped to January of 2012. The first one will be delivered to Japan Airlines, probably L/N 23, ZA177 which just returned form San Antonio after undergoing change incorporation work. Just yesterday the GEnx-1B engines received it ETOPS 330 certification however both the Trent and GEnx engines in combination with the 787 airframe won't be certified for ETOPS 330 until a fix to the fuel monitoring software is implemented, tested and certified by the FAA.

ZA004 - Trent Package "B" testing

According to Guy Norris, Boeing has completed certification testing for the Trent 1000 package "B" improvements for the 787. This will allow Boeing to finally start to deliver 787 with the new Trents which bring the specific fuel consumption to within 1% of the original promised specs. Boeing had undertaken this testing using ZA004. Over the last few weeks this airplane has been flown several times a day in order to finish up all the requirements. Once the FAA has received and approved all the test data, Boeing should be able to start delivering 787s with this engine. L/N 31 will be the first 787 to be delivered with the package "B" Trent 1000 engines.

Future deliveries

The pace of deliveries is obviously being didtaced by the pace of change incorporation which is excrutiatingly slow right now. The pace has already pushed the GEnx 787 deliveries out to January as well as deliveries to Trent 1000 customers further to the right. ANA was supposed to have received 5 787 in will only receive two (L/N 31 and L/N 41). Both these airplanes are Trent 1000 package "B" airplanes. There are two other ANA 787s that have their engines attached and being prepped for delivery. These are L/N 9 (ZA102, JA804A) which was just pulled out to the Everett fuel dock and L/N 42 (ZA105, JA808A) which is still in front of the EMC.

These airplanes are not due to be delivered until after January 1st but there are now more 787s appearing on the flightline in preparation for delivery which is a good sign but on the flip side most of the aircraft that are out on the flightline are very early build airplanes that need extensive re-work done before they can be delivered to customer. Just to get these 11 airplanes (L/N 7 to L/N 19) done would probably take a good 2 years. Most of the deliveries will come from the late builds, particularly L/N 30 on up.

Production and Ramp Up

Jim Albaugh gave a nice update on the status of 787 production and ramp up. Currently they are are still at producing at 2.5 787 per month with the aim of ramping to 3.5 by around March or April and then to 5 by the end of 2012. Boeing is still maintaining it guidance of 10 787s per month by the end of 2013.

Albaugh had very good things to report about the North Charleston plant. The first aircraft from that line should deliver before June of 2012. The plant is capable of producing 2.5 787 per month right now. Boeing has now opened up the delivery center as well as the 787 interiors fabrication plant to supply bins, partitions, crew rest areas, etc. for the Charleston built 787s.

Test Flight Fleet

Now that test flights are nearing the end (at least for the 787-8), Boeing is starting to make plans for the first three airplanes built. ZA004-ZA006 will be refurbished and sold to customers (BBJ). Boeing has flown ZA001, the first 787, to Palmdale Airport where it will be in storage until they figure out which museum to house it in. Likely candidates are the Museum of Flight in Seattle or the Future of Flight museum in Everett though I wouldn't count out the NASM (National Air and Space Museum) in Virginia out. ZA002 is going to be in Charleston, SC for some time for testing purposes but its long term fate is unclear. ZA003 is due to start a 6 month tour of the 787 on December 5th. First stop is China an other Asian and African countries whose airlines have bought the 787. After the tour is completed the aircraft's long term fate is also undecided. No doubt there would be some testing to be done, particularly on engine and airframe improvements to lower weight and increase fuel efficiency and reduce the noise footprint. This is why ZA002 and ZA003 will probably held by Boeing for the foreseeable future to serve as test beds for these improvements.