Friday, May 9, 2008

Dreamlifter 3

Thanks to Jon Ostrower for the link to a picture of Boeing's third Dreamlifter.

You can see the picture here:

According to the caption, this Dreamlifter will be registered as N249BA.

Boeing has stated that they will have four Dreamlifters, modified 747-400 passenger aircraft, in order to support movement and delivery of 787 sections and wings. Currently there are two in service. Frankly two is all they need for now but with the anticipated ramp up in production they will probably need more than four depending on how fast Boeing and all the suppliers can ramp up production

They will need to ramp up as fast as they reasonably can if the average delay for getting the 787 into the hands of customers turns out to be 20 to 30 months. Whether they can catch up to production remains to be seen but judging from Airbus continuing issues with A380 production ramp up, it will not be easy if they can indeed pull it off.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Boeing starts Final Assembly on Dreamliner #3

Images courtesy of Boeing

The Boeing Press Release:

Final Assembly Begins on Fifth Boeing 787 Dreamliner

Thursday May 1, 2:21 pmET
- Third Flight-Test Airplane Loaded into First Position

EVERETT, Wash., May 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Final assembly began today
on the third flight-test airplane for the all-new Boeing (NYSE:
BA - News) 787 Dreamliner.

This is the fifth Dreamliner to be loaded into the first position of the 787 production system. The static test airframe moved April 25 from the Final Assembly to its test rig in another bay of the Everett, Wash.-based factory. Both the fatigue test airframe and the second flight-test airplane have advanced to the next position in production, where assembly and systems installation work continues.
"We are receiving assemblies that are much more complete," said Jack Jones, vice president of 787 Final Assembly and Change Incorporation. Jones replaces Steve Westby, who retired from Boeing yesterday after a 31-year career. "The second flight-test airplane had a 50 percent reduction in the amount of incomplete work as compared to the first airplane. 'Traveled work' on this airplane is 65 percent less than on the first."
After assembly is complete, this airplane will be fitted with an interior as part of the comprehensive flight-test program and certification process. "When that happens this summer, it will be the first time we'll see the 787 in what is close to a final delivery configuration," Jones said.
The first airplane to fly is on track for "power on" in June.
Around the world, 25 airplanes are in various stages of production. This number includes the static and fatigue airframes, which will not be delivered to customers. Since its launch in April 2004 the 787 Dreamliner has amassed nearly 900 firm orders valued at $151 billion from 58 airlines.

Interestingly on April 9th Boeing said they expected that the amount of traveled work on airplane #3 will be reduced by 75% and in today's press release they state that is isdown by 65%. Perhaps the 75% was an estimate but it doesn't help their credibility problems. Boeing has no trouble designing, testing and producing great airplanes. Their problem is on of credibility. They are still sticking with power on for airplane #1 by June 30th and it'll be of great interest if they make it.

As stated before, when they power on the aircraft a significant amount of risk would have been eliminated and the path for first flight will be a little bit more clear.