Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boeing releases updated schedule and conference call

UPDATE (9:30PM): Flightblogger posted a nice summary of today's events concerning the 787:

Flightblogger's 787 Update

Also I enquired with Boeing as to the disposition of the first three 787s. The Boeing response is below:

No decision has been made on those airplanes. There are a number of ways they could be used, including for testing on other programs.

It'll be interesting to see what happens with these three airplanes after the flight test program is done. Perhaps they could donate one to the Smithsonian and get a tax write off on that airplane? It would look great next to the 707 at the NASM Annex at Dulles!

UPDATE (1:15PM): In response to how long it would take to install the fix on the 787 I got the following response from Boeing:

For the airplanes already assembled, it will take approximately three months to complete the modification on each airplane. That includes the initial preparation time. That said, the static airframe, ZA001, ZA003, ZA004 and ZA005 are currently being prepared for the modification. In the future, when airplanes entering assembly, the retrofit will occur during the final body join process.

With regard to ZA002, ZA006, ZY998, ZA100 and ZA101:

Preparations on these airplanes will begin very soon but we are not going to provide a specific schedule on an airplane-by-airplane basis.
Boeing has released their schedule for the 787 though it's purposely devoid of exact dates it generally conforms to what was reported earlier by Flightblogger.

Press Release Summary:
1) 787 first flight to take place by the end of the year 2009
2) 787 first delivery to take place by 4th quarter 2010
3) Airplanes 1 through 3 are commercially valueless and will be reclassified from current inventory to R&D - Boeing will take a $2.5bn pre-tax non cash charge against earnings in the third quarter
4) Side of body fix has completed initial testing and is finishing up detailed design
5) Test aircraft are being prepared for installation of the fix
6) Installation of the fix should begin in the next few weeks.
7) Boeing 787 program not in a forward loss position meaning that it will be a profitable program

Takeaways from the conference call:
1) With the new schedule, Boeing has one year to test, fix and certify the 787 for commercial service. They had added extra margin to preserve this new schedule.
2) Modifications to aircraft LN 1 through LN 15 (plus ZY997 and ZY998) will take place at Everett and after that the modifications will take place a supplier facilities.
3) Boeing currently talking to customers on the 787 schedule and getting their input and feedback
4) Production at the 10/month rate won't be achieved until late 2013; 2nd production line will support the 10/month rate but the single line will only achieve the 7/month rate. Suppliers have the current capacity to supply 10/month. Interestingly enough he only talked about Charleston and Everett. No other locations for the 2nd line.
5) 787-9 first delivery pushed back to late 2013 (I wonder if the 2nd line will be dedicated to the 787-9?) - Answer - According to Guy Norris this will be the case, the 2nd line will be dedicated for 787-9 production.
6) The side of body stress condition is now accurately modelled and the fix is modelled as well. The fix entails adding 4 to 5 reinforcements to each stringer. The pacing items for the fix is the limited accessibility to the areas that the reinforcements and the number of technicians that can be inside installing the fix.
7) With the exception of the side of body issue, Boeing is pleased with the way testing has gone, especially gauntlet testing. Airplanes 1 and 2 are ready for flight pending the installation of the reinforcements.
8) There are no takers for the first three 787 (LN 1 through LN 3) due to the extensive modifications and rework that they had to go through, thus they are not commercially valuable and their expenses and value will be charged to R&D and taken off current inventory. Airplanes 4 though 6 does have commercial value (though less than $2.5bn) and will be sold to VIP customers after refurbishment. The program on the whole is not in a loss making position and the charge off is a one time event that will taken against 3rd quarter earnings.

HEre are other articles that have been posted since the call and they all have some information on stuff that I might have missed:

Fleetbuzz Editorial-787 schedule
787 Podcast from IAG
Guy Norris' August 27, 2009 Update

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