Friday, February 24, 2012

Boeing Targets June For 787 Surge Line Startup | AVIATION WEEK

Boeing Targets June For 787 Surge Line Startup AVIATION WEEK

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shanahan talks about 787 at Barclay's Conference

UPDATE (2:30PM): PAt Shanahan also said during the conference that Boeign will start rolling out 787 that will not have any travelled work or need for change incorporaation starting with LN70. Previous Boeing has said this will occur around airplane 63-65.

Pat Shanahan talked up about the accomplishments of the 787 at a Barclays Capital Industrial Select Conference in Miami.

Currently the supply chain is producing at 3.5 planes per month but the final assembly is still at 2.5 per month. The rate on the assembly line is to go up to 3.5 this spring. Boeing expects to start the surge line in June of this year which will allow Boeing to move 787s down the line at a faster pace and allow for the increase in production rate. The surge line will be located in building 40-24 in front of the 767 line. Shanahan also said that the planes are leaving the line more complete. In the past there was 5,000 - 7,000 jobs left to finish when the 787 left the line. Now this number is down to 500 - 1,000 jobs per airplane.

With regarding the shims, Pat Shanahan said that the job of replacing the shims takes about 10 to 14 days per airplane but this work will be done concurrently with other jobs so as not to delay deliveries. The shim issue is just a manufacturing issue and there is no need for any redesign. The shim issue is not an issue for the fleet.

Getting close to the finish line

UPDATE (10AM) ZA236 is flying back to Everett today. This is a strong indication that F&R/ETOPs testing is complete. The F&R/ETOPs certification testing for the GEnx-1B powered 787s was based out of Boeing Field. With the airplane heading back to Everett the testing appears complete and this airplane can be released in order to prepare it for delivery to Air India.

Boeing's efforts to complete 787 flight testing with the GEnx-1B engines are close to being completed if they aren't finish already. ZA236 has flown just under 153 flight test hours thus far. The aircraft needed to fly about 150 F&R/ETOPs flight hours to finish the certification program for this version of the 787. Boeing has not confirmed that they are finished with the tests as of yet. The true indication that they are complete is when ZA236 flies back to Everett to finish preparations for delivery to Air India.

As far getting other 787s ready for delivery, there are about 10 787 at the Everett Modification Center that are undergoing change incorporation or shim inspection in the rear fuselage as well as one airplane in 40-24. Three of these airplanes were aircraft that are close to being delivered (to Japan Airlines or ANA) including ZA177 (LN23, JA822J), ZA179 (LN33, JA225J) and ZA117 (LN42, JA806A). Once these airplanes are inspected and repaired (if needed) then they will continue they typical preparations for delivery. The list of 787s at EMC is below with the locations highlighted in green. These are the airplanes I anticipate will be the next few that will be delivered. Interestingly enough these include a few of the very early build airplanes, ZA100 (LN 7), ZA534 (LN 10), and ZA501 (LN 12).

Jim Albaugh, speaking in Singapore has said that up to 55 787s would have to be inspected and repaired for the flaw. To put it in proper context, this would include all the airframes from LN 4 to LN 59, the latter of which is currently in position 1 in 40-26 and just starting final assembly. This number also includes the 5 airframes that have already been delivered to ANA but does not include any airplanes sections that have yet to be delivered to Everett for final assembly.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I found this great website that has some pretty spectacular photos of 787s and 747s around Everett. It has some other interesting information on the MAX vs NEO order battle as well as current utilization of the 787s already delivered to ANA. Check it out:


Friday, February 10, 2012

No 787 Deliveries in February

Information just received indicates that while Boeing will be preparing 787s for delivery including the first deliveries of the GEnx-1B powered 787s. However, none of these airplanes will be delivered this month. It looks like these airplanes are being delayed about three and a half weeks.
According to information just received, ZA117 (JA806A, L/N 40) will be delivered to ANA around March 14th. This aircraft just had its first flight on Feb. 7. Both JA177 (JA822J, L/N 23) and ZA179 (JA825J, L/N 33) are scheduled to be delivered to Japan Airlines around March 24 with ZA179 tentatively scheduled to make its first flight around Feb. 13th (ZA177 had its first flight last year).
Lastly, ZA105 (JA808A, L/N 42) is scheduled to make its first flight around Feb. 29th but no delivery date has been set.
Undoubtedly this schedule shift has been caused by the need to check the aft fuselage for improper shimming installation and to take corrective measures if any are needed. Flightblogger has revealed that the inspections would take about three days but any work to correct any problems would take about two weeks per aircraft. This new schedule would corroborate this time estimate.
Meanwhile, Boeing contiues F&R/ETOPs testing on ZA236. On Wednesday/Thursday this aircraft flew a long 19 hour flight essentially Etch-A-Sketching "787" and the Boeing Corporate logo in the skies over the Western and Mid-Western sections of the country. Thus far this aircraft has flown 48.5 hours. It is expected that this airplane needs to fly about 150 hours to finish the certification program for the GEnx powered 787s.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Boeing confirms the start of final testing phase for 787/GEnx certification

Boeing confirmed to me this afternoon that they have indeed started the final phase of certification testing for the GEnx-1B powered version of the 787. What is unknown is how many hours Boeing will need to fly this airplane in order to complete this final phase. Boeing is still planning to deliver the first 787s powered by this engine by the end of this month to JAL, though with the recent delamination issues that Flightblogger revealed on Saturday evening, this schedule may well be in doubt though Boeing says this will have no effect on production. Boeing doesn't expect the need to remove major structural assemblies to gain access to the affected area and make repairs to the shim which they have describe as straightforward.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Boeing starts final 787/GEnx F&R/ETOPs testing?

It looks as if Boeing may have started the final F&R/ETOPS testing for the GEnx-1B powered version of the 787 Dreamliner. ZA236 (L/N 35, VT-ANH), a production standard airplane destined for customer Air India and recently transferred to Boeing Field took off at about 11AM PST from Boeing Field and flew a 6h 40min test flight down and up the Pacific coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California before returning to Boeing Field. It is understood that ZA236 had transferred to Boeing Field was the express purpose of conducting the final F&R/ETOPs tests flights in order to gain final certification for this version of the 787.

It is unknown, at this time, how many hours still need to be flown for the final phases of this test program but when Boeing flew the F&R/ETOPs test for the Rolls Royce powered version of the 787, they ran it to 300 flight test hours with ETOPS testing being done concurrently with the F&R testing on the test flights. Boeing has already run some of hte F&R/ETOPs testing on ZA006, a test airplane which is currently undergoing re-work and refurbishment ot a production standard airplane in San Antonio. The FAA is requiring Boeing to fly some portion of hte F&R/ETOPs testing o na production standard airplane. This testing has been delayed due to technical issues with ZA236, the nature of which is currently unknown.

Assuming that Boeing will still have to fly 300 flight test hours and assuming that half of this testing done by ZA006 is considered complete by the FAA, then Boeing may have to run about 150 flight test hours on ZA236. Assuming about 8 flight test hours per flight that would mean that ZA236 would have to fly 20 days in order to complete final certification flight tests for the GEnx 787. That would leave roughly a week for Boeing to submit the final type certification paperwork to the FAA and to get their final review and approval so that Boeing can begin deliveries to JAL and Air India a the end of this month. This is very tight. Current Boeing plans show have that ZA177 (L/N 23, JA822J) and ZA129 (L/N 33, JA825J) are being prepared for delivery on Feb. 27th with ZA179 scheduled to make its first flight on Feb. 7th. Whether Boeing can hold to this schedule depends on the pace of the F&R/ETOPs testing and any issues that may be revealed as a result of this testing.

Additionally Boeing has an ANA 787, ZA117 (L/N 40, JA806A) tentatively scheduled for delivery around Feb. 19th with a first flight date of Feb. 7th. All these schedules are tentative schedules and may (probably) will change over the course of the next few weeks.