Thursday, July 30, 2009

July 30 787 Update

Now that we're at the end of July I thought that it would be a good time to look at some articles that have recently come out regarding the 787 since the earnings call last week. Many people were disappointed that Boeing doesn't have any new schedule ready as of now. They said that the new schedule will be ready during the third quarter (of this year I think) so we'll see by September 30th what will happen.

Start things off, Flightblogger reported that because of the need to modify the brake control monitoring software due to overheating of some of the braking elements during a high energy (trying to stop a heavy and fast aircraft), there is a conflict between Boeing and Crane who wrote the code over who should pay for it. Crane claims that they delivered into Boeing the software they needed and that their production costs already exceeded their initial projects without and of the needed redesigns. There are a lot of revealing comments in Flightbloggers posting.

Flightblogger: Boeing and Crane

Next up, Guy Norris reports that despite the wing issues, Boeing is still doing some ground testing on the 787. Guy reported that Boeing is continuously testing upgrades to the 787 software during a Wedge Regression Test (don't ask me what that is).

Guy's July 24th 787 Update

Third, Mike Mecham, Joe Anselmo and Guy Norris talked about Boeing's lack of a schedule for the 787 and the implications (financial and otherwise). they cite skeptical analyst who believe that the schedule will move further to the right as well as the possible implications regarding costs associated with the fix and testing that has to be done.

Aviation Week's 787 Schedule Elusiveness

Batting clean up, is Dominic Gates and the Seattle Times with further analysis of the side of body issue and the seriousness of the problem (which appears to be more severe then initially revealed). In the article, Dominic Gates says that there was damaged done not just to the wing boxes (the main wing structure) but also to the center wing box which is in the fuselage. Damage occurred not at ultimate load (150%) but at a load much lower than that which explains why Boeing decided (for good reason) not to proceed with flight testing. The flight envelope would have been so limiting that it would have been useless to fly any test flights since the data collected would have been minimal. It seems from reading the article that Boeing would have to reinforce not only the wing side but the fuselage side of the side of body.

Seattle Times: 787 Wing flaw extends to inside of plane

Fifth, Boeing had moved ZA001 to the paint hanger for preliminary work before the installing the reinforcement fix. Flightblogger had said that Boeing did plan to move ZA001 into the paint hanger for the fix and that the fix may be installed as early as mid August. Aircraft ZA001 has since been moved back out to the flightline. Parts for ZA102 (third production 787) has already arrived save for the rear fuselage (as far as I know). Final assembly should be getting underway soon. My last note is that the large cargo freighters (LCF) have been making a lot of runs as of late though as I said before, it's hard to know what's, if anything, is being transported unless you have someone there photographing the loading and unloading of the aircraft.

Lastly, Boeing just completed the transfer of Vought's 787 operations today and will now be known as Boeing Charleston.

News Release Issued: July 30, 2009 2:00 PM EDT

Boeing Completes Acquisition of Vought Operations in South Carolina

SEATTLE, July 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) announced today the completion of the acquisition of the business and operations conducted by Vought Aircraft Industries at its South Carolina facility, where a key structure for the 787 Dreamliner is built. The acquisition agreement was announced originally on July 7.
The newly acquired facility, located in North Charleston, will be called Boeing Charleston. Boeing Charleston will be managed by the 787 program as a wholly owned subsidiary. Boeing Charleston will continue to perform fabrication, assembly and systems installation for 787 aft fuselage sections, which are made primarily of composite materials.

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