Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ZA002 flies to Iceland; ZA006 at Boeing fuel dock

In the days since Boeing's announcement that they are delaying delivery of the first 787s to ANA by 6 weeks, the 787 flight test team has aggressively flown the 5 test aircraft. From Friday, August 27 through Monday, August 30th, the 787 flight test aircraft had flown almost 71.5 hours. Whether they maintain this pace is another story but one thing is clear: Boeing cannot afford any more slip ups with this aircraft. I expect that Boeing will continue normal test flights which will include ZA004 package "A" Trent 1000 being switched out for the package "B" Trent 1000 sometime this fall. This will be a major milestone as Boeing and Rolls Royce will truly understand the fuel efficiency of the aircraft/engine combination.

Currently, ZA002 is flying to Keflavik, Iceland to conduct crosswind landing tests. Flightblogger broke the news of this flight yesterday:

Flightblogger: Second passport stamp awaits 787 with Icelandic crosswinds

Meanwhile, ZA006 the last test aircraft is finally out of the hangars and in the fuel dock to conduct fueling tests which include fuel jettison testing. In the coming days it will fire up its APU as well as conduct a mini gauntlet test in the run up to its first flight which I expect to take place possibly around September 12th.

In other 787 news, Air China has decided to switch out its order for the 787-8 in favor for the 787-9 along with price concessions from Boeing for the delays it has experienced. Air China will receive these 787-9 between 2015 and 2018

Friday, August 27, 2010

Flightblogger: Engine shortage driving latest 787 delay

In an article by Flightblogger, the newest 6 week deay has been prompted by a lack of the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines for the ninth 787 (LN 9, ZA102) as well as subsequent RR powered 787s that would be used in the flight test program. This aircraft was to be used for ETOPS testing as well as functionality and reliability testing using production standard engines. Furthermore, Flightblogger says that the uncontained failure of the engine was an engine that to eventually hang off the wing of ZA102 and power that aircraft. This engine is a package "A" engine.

It is unclear now if the package "A" engines will power any of the production 787s or not. The package "A" are an older, less fuel efficient design of the Trent 1000. There is a blame game going on here between Boeing and Rolls Royce with Rolls saying that the uncontained failure had nothing to do with the delay but it was Boeing's testing schedule that prompted the latest delay. My problem is that Boeing's testing schedule has been known for quite sometime and had to have been communicated to RR in order for them to meet Boeing's needs. Something doesn't sound right when you hear Rolls Royce side of the problem.

Flightblogger: Lack of Production Engine for Airplane 9 drives 787 delay

More analysis of the 787 delay

Less than 24 hours after Boeing announced the delay to the 787 delivery schedule, bloggers and aviation reporters weighed in on Boeing's decision. Here's a sample:

Scott Hamlton at Leeham: New 787 Delay coming Aug. 27th

Saj Ahmad at Fleetbuzzeditorial.com: Boeing 787 Delayed Yet Again

Daniel Tsang of Airways Aviation News: 6th Boeing 787 could be worse

Guy Norris: It's official...Trent 1000 issue prompts new 787 delay

Guy Norris: Boeing pushes first 787 delivery back to 2011

Dominc Gates: Boeing says 787 delivery pushed back to February

Aubrey Cohen: Engine issue pushes first Boeing 787 delivery to mid Q1 2011

Aubrey Cohen: Rolls Royce: Boeing 787 Dreamliner delay unrelated to mishap

And Boeing isn't the only one having issues with its new airplane program, according to the Seattle PI Airbus is cutting back its forecast of A350s to be delivered in 2013 and beyond. This is another program that will have delays as well and it is just a matter of time before they are announced:

Aubrey Cohen: Report: Airbus cuts forecast for first A350 deliveries

Back to the 787, it is interesting that Boeing posted over 17 hours of 787 test flight hours on the night they announced the new delay. Today they look to pull in at least 10 more hours of flight time as well. It does seem that Boeing is holding true (for now) that the test flight program will continue to move forward despite the latest set back.

Boeing announces delivery delay for the 787

Boeing sent out a press release early (very early) this morning. Here is the text of the press release:

Boeing Sets 787 First Delivery Date for Mid-First Quarter 2011

EVERETT, Wash., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Boeing (NYSE: BA)Company said today that it now expects delivery of the first 787 in the middle of the first quarter 2011.

The delivery date revision follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall.

While Boeing works closely with Rolls-Royce to expedite engine availability, flight testing across the test fleet continues as planned.

Boeing said last month that the cumulative impact of a series of issues, including supplier workmanship issues related to the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, could push first delivery of the 787 a few weeks into 2011. The delay in engine availability has extended that estimate to mid-first quarter 2011.

The schedule revision will not affect the company's financial guidance.Analysis

This is totally expected by many and now is made official by Boeing. Boeing had only passed the half way mark of the test flight program only recently and still has over 1500 flight hours of testing to complete. Boeing cited instrumentation reconfiguration as well as the horizontal stabilizer issues but the straw that broke the camels back for first delivery was the Trent 1000 issue and the uncontained failure that took place on August 2nd. Boeing and Rolls Royce are citing the delay of delivering the Trent 1000 package "B" for the last part of test flight.

The package "B" Trents are the improved Trent 1000 engines which brings the engine in line with fuel burn guarantees provided to customers. It also has modifications to the failed parts so that there would not be a recurrence of the failure that was seen. Boeing has also said that the flight test program will continue but I am not sure if the current package "A" Trents that are now hanging of the 4 test flight airplanes will have restrictions place on their operating envelope due to this failure.

Another question is if Boeing and Rolls Royce will equip the early production 787s for ANA with the package "A" Trents with modifications or will they equip them outright with the package "B"s?

In terms of an impact to Boeing earnings, I expect that it will be negligible, Boeing was only expecting to deliver a couple of 787s to ANA this year. Most of the 787s that are built are to be delivered in 2011 and that's when Boeing would see the real income flowing from the 787 program.

With the 6 additional weeks for testing how much does Boeing need to fly the 787 to get to the end of certification? Assuming that Boeing would continue test flight into the end of January, 2011 this would equate to 158 days from now. Boeing still has to fly 1,515 total hours on the 787 and of those hours 982.5 have to be flown on the Trent 1000 aircraft. This means that Boeing will have to fly the Trent powered airplanes an average of 6.2 hours per day every day until January 31st, 2011. They would have to fly 9.58 hours a day everyday spread across both the Rolls Royce and GE powered airplanes.

Flightblogger has also been following this story very closely and has an article up on the delay to first delivery of the 787. His article give a lot of great detail to the issues facing the Trent 1000:

Flightblogger: 787 first delivery delayed to mid-Q1 2011

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Boeing to announce slip in 1st 787 delivery on morning of August 27

Flightblogger has revealed that Boeing will announce a slip in the 787 delivery schedule by about 3 months. Boeing is now targetting a a delivery timeframe of mid February to late March for delivery of the first 787 to ANA.

The delay is attributed to the horizontal stabilizer issues at Alenia as well as the uncontained failure of the Trent 1000 engine on a test stand in early August. Boeing had already warned that 787 deliveries could slip into 2011. It looks like they will move the 1st delivery to that time frame.

787 first delivery may be delayed 3 months says Kenya Airways CEO

According to an article on Air Transport World (ATW) Online, Boeing's sales rep to Kenya Airways told its CEO that first delivery to ANA will be delayed by a further three months. This delay is prompting Kenya Airways to consider cancelling its order for 9 787-8 and to perhaps order the A330 from Airbus. If this is true it represents another set back for Boeing and would put the 787 close to being 3 full years behind its initial schedule. Boeing had warned that 1st deliveries could slip into 2011 and the current pace of test flying would support a slippage of 1st delivery to ANA into early 2011. Another aspect to all this is whether the potential delay is related to the uncontained turbine failure of a Trent 1000 engine on a ground test stand in Derby, UK early this month.

ATW: Kenya Airways considers canceling 787s, claims first delivery delayed 3 months

Flightblogger has also picked up on the story:

Flightblogger: Is a fresh 787 delay announcement imminent?

Despite this, Boeing is starting to plan for pilot training for customers and has a nice feature on flying the 787 simulator. You can read and view the video here:

Flying the 787 Simulator

Here's Boeing Press Release on the 787 pilot training:

Boeing Launches 787 Dreamliner Flight Training; Unveils Suite of 787 Training Devices
SEATTLE, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) Training & Flight Services has started 787 Dreamliner flight certification training following the provisional approval from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for Boeing's Seattle-based 787 flight training devices. As part of flight training, pilots train on a 787 flat panel training device and a 787 full-flight simulator. Both devices are manufactured by Thales.

"The innovations of the 787 have inspired us to develop the most effective training curriculum based on our customers' training needs matched with efficient delivery and modern simulation tools," said Sherry Carbary, vice president, Flight Services, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "With the FAA's approval on our flight training devices, we are embarking on an exciting journey toward delivering qualified and competent crews."

The provisional designation will be removed once the airplane is fully certified. Local FAA offices will approve training courses customized for individual operators and these may be based on provisional approvals prior to certification of the airplane.

"We're pleased with the progress we are making in ensuring our support products and services are ready for our customers," said Mike Fleming, 787 director of Services and Support, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This is an exciting time for our customers and an important achievement for the entire Boeing team as we move toward delivery of the first 787."

There are currently eight training suites at five Boeing Training & Flight Services locations around the world in Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Seattle and Gatwick, U.K.
Flightblogger also had a feature today on the 787 simulator and had posted his story along with video and photos:

Flightblogger: Flightglobal test pilot Mike Gerzanics flies CAE's 787 simulator

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I just received more updated information on ZA006. This 787 is now not expected out at the fuel dock until August 30th and will be there until September 3 at which point it will go to stall 103 on the Boeing flightline. No word on first flight for this airplane but it is now expected in very late September at the earliest.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Boeing flies 500th 787 flight; ZA006 to make an appearance soon

Milestones keep adding up for the 787 program. Tonight, Boeing flew the 500th flight of a 787 with ZA004 completing a flight loads survey test flight over the Pacific Ocean. Boeing still needs to fly the Rolls Royce powered 787 another 991 hours over the next three months if it hopes to certify and deliver the 787 to ANA in time.

Meanwhile Boeing should be pulling out the last test flight 787, ZA006 powered by the GEnx-1B engines out to the fuel dock sometime tomorrow. It will then go back in the hangar for a couple days and then back out to the flightline to continue preparations for flight testing. First flight is penciled in for September 12th though that may have changed.

Lastly, another 787 will enter final assembly tomorrow. ZA178 (LN 27) is a GEnx-1B powered aircraft for Japan Airlines. It will be the last 787 to enter final assembly for about 6 weeks as Boeing is attempting to help the supply chain get caught up and to greatly reduce the travelled work coming into Everett. Boeing is aiming to increase production to 2.5 airplanes/month this fall.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Flightblogger details aircraft program delays, 787 poised to pass half way mark of test program

Flightblogger, in the last few days, detailed issues facing both Boeing and Airbus in their various aircraft development programs. Airbus is facing a delay that, according to a Bernstein Research report, could potential push back the delivery of the A350 into mid 2014. It is already widely known that Airbus has used up all remaining schedule margin in the program and has pushed out the start date of final assembly of the first aircraft as well as the first flight date by 3 months while at the same time reducing the test flight schedule by 3 months in order to maintain the mid-2013 delivery of the A350-900 to Qatar Airways. Airbus continues to struggle with weight and design issues with the A350 as it tries to start production activities at the same time. The result, it seems is that many suppliers are producing parts only to have Airbus hand them redesigns on those same parts.

Flightblogger: Three years before EIS, A350 forecasted to slip to 2014

Flightblogger also wrote about Boeing two most important commercial development programs being delayed further. The 787 is already two and half years late and an uncontained failure of a Trent 1000 test engines at Rolls Royce's test facility in Derby, UK is threatening to pull this aircraft's delivery further to the right. Boeing and Rolls Royce are investigating the failure and Roll Royce may have to repeat some certification tests before first delivery to ANA. Boeing has said that flight testing has not been effect to date and indeed, ZA002 is flying a long 14 hour test flight over the North Pole today to test the aircraft's navigation system. A t this hour as I write this the aircraft is still flying.

Flightblogger: 787 schedule in jeopardy following Trent 1000 testbed failure

Flightblogger: Regulatory authorities confirm Trent 1000 failure was uncontained

Boeing is still flying the Rolls powered 787s in the test flight fleet and in fact ZA002 is poised to make the longest 787 flight to date. It is projected to fly about 14 hours tonight having taken off at 7:54 AM PT. On top of this milestone Boeing is also poised to surpass 1,550 flight test hours. This would mark the half way point for the 78 flight test program (a total of 3,100 flight test hours are to be flown). It has taken Boeing over eight months to achieve this milestone and they will have to fly the remaining 1,550 flight hours over the course of the next three and half months in order to type certify the 787 aircraft. Again Flightblogger has a great article about ZA002's flight to the North Pole:

Flightblogger: ZA002 spending Monday going polar for 787's longest flight to date

Guy Norris of Aviation Week has a great description of the 787 navigation system:

Guy Norris: First 787 to the North Pole

Lastly, Flightblogger wrote about the 747-8I coming together and the assembly plans for Boeing largest passenger jet. RC001's main fuselage is being joined and all the large parts should be assembled together later this fall. The roll out should be around the end of the year with first flight in early 2011. However, Flightblogger is also reporting that the testing of the 747-8F is falling behind schedule and first delivery may not occur until 2011.

Flightblogger: First 747-8I begins to come together as 747-8F nears fresh slip

Friday, August 20, 2010

Eight Months in...787 exceeds 1,500 flight hours and other news

Sorry for the late post.

The 787 test flight fleet has now been flying for eight months and while they continued to move forward, the situation with the horizontal stabilizer seems to have reduced the flight tempo of the test aircraft.

Through August 14th, the 787 flight test team has flown 1,487 hours and 55 minutes or 48% of the 3,100 flight test hours that Boeing has stated that they will need to certify the aircraft.

To date (August 19, 2010) the test flight hours have accumulated 1,509 test flight hours with ZA004 flying a flight loads test and breaking through the 1,500th hour on August 19th. Additionally, ZA001 cross the 500 hour mark with three test flights yesterday with several dedicated to Vmu testing at Edwards Air Force Base. However, in order for the Rolls Royce powered aircraft to be certified by the end of November (102 days), Boeing would need to fly the four test airplanes for another 1,040 hours and 30 minutes which equates to about 10.2 hours per day every day until November 30th. The bottom line is that Boeing needs to aggressively get these airplanes in the air if they hope to deliver by the end of the year.

It is expected that the GE powered 787s will be certified sometime in early 2011 though ZA005 had a hydraulic leak and has been at Paine Field for the last few days getting new parts installed. It should be back in the air as early as today according to sources. ZA006 should be out on the flightline at Everett by August 23rd for an expected first flight around middle of September though I'll hopefully find out more sometime next week. The GEnx-1B powered airplanes have completed under 18% of the required test flight hours. Boeing plans to deliver the GEnx powered airplanes sometime in the 1st quarter of 2011.

Guy Norris broke the news this morning that ZA002 will be flying to the North Pole this weekend for an extensive test of the 787s navigation system while the aircraft is flying polar routes. Traditional compasses are rendered ineffective at the North Pole thus the aircraft will rely on the Honeywell built navigation system. This will be a test of that system at the polar region.

Guy Norris: First 787 to the north pole

AOL Travel has a great article about aircraft testing and they specifically talk about the 787 testing

AOL Travel: What Does a Plane Go Through Before It Can Fly?

Lastly, Jens Flottau of Aviation Week wrote about ANA plans for the 787 in the next hew months after receiving their first airplanes:

Jens Flottau: ANA Plans Quick 787 Ramp Up

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Engines and stabilizers

The story that Flightblogger broke yesterday is gaining traction and may herald another delay depending on what happened to the Trent 1000 engine that Rolls was testing earlier this month. The situation is made even murkier because according to Rolls Royce they said that they had implemented a fix which says that they knew of the potential of the IPT (intermediate pressure turbine) to fail though they also said that they are well on their way to understanding the issue. Nonetheless this is an issue that bear watching carefully. Guy Norris has a brilliant summary of the Rolls Royce issue in his latest blog post. Apparently, this issue has not kept the 787 on the ground as ZA001 is conducting wet runaway test (also called the Slip N' Slide) in Roswell, NM and ZA004 is flying a flight loads survey test right now. However, a statement that Boeing sent to Flightblogger use the ominous words "to date" when referring to the impact that the IPT failure to the flight test program. Both Guy's and Flightblogger's post are below.

Flightblogger: Boeing statement on the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine failure

Guy Norris - 787 - More Danger of Delays?

The other issue that is being talked about is that of Alenia's workmanship on the parts they build for the 787. The horizontal stabilizer is the part that has gotten the most scrutiny of late but Alenia has had problems in the past with the manufacture of the fuselage sections that they are contracted to produce though it seems that the fuselage sections are being built with better quality. However the sum of all these issues has lead to some speculation that Boeing may buy out Alenia's share of the 787 program and bring the the manufacture of these parts back in house. Saj Ahmad has written an editorial backing such an action by Boeing and I also believe it makes sense but only if the economics of such a buyout keep the program in a forward profit position. Boeing has spoken of bringing more of the 787 program engineering back under their tent and they've done that with the 787-9 which is making great strides in the design nd engineering phase of its development and may prove to be the better of the two 787 models that is produced. Bringing in the manufacture of the parts that Alenia builds will ensure better workmanship and quality.

Saj Ahmad - Boeing needs to buy Alenia out of 787 production

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boeing 787 News Roundup

Let's get to it...

Boeing announced today that they have provisional approval to start pilot training courses for the 787. The provisional approval will become permanent when the 787 achieves final certification. The pilot training program allows pilots to transition to the 787 in as little as 5 days to as many as 20 depending on the level of experience of the pilots. It's Boeing's aim to transition a 777 pilot to the 787 in as little as 5 days due to the commonality that the 787 shares with the 777.

Here's Boeing's Press Release:

SEATTLE, Aug. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) Training & Flight Services has been granted provisional approval for its 787 Dreamliner pilot training courses by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). With the 787 pilot training courses, pilots can transition to the new airplane in five to 20 days, depending on pilot experience. Boeing 777 pilots can qualify to fly the 787 in as little as five days, given the high level of commonality between the two airplane types.

"Gaining FAA approval for our courses is a significant milestone as we ramp up to the start of flight training," said Mark Albert, director of Simulator Services and 787 Training Program, Boeing Training & Flight Services. "It validates our approach to provide world-class training solutions at great value for the 787 Dreamliner."

Local FAA offices will approve individual operator training courses and these may be based on provisional approvals.

"This achievement is another important step in ensuring the readiness of our 787 support products and services," said Mike Fleming, 787 director of Services and Support, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Boeing Training & Flight Services is working with the FAA to obtain provisional approval of the training devices at which point formal pilot training will commence. The provisional designation will be removed once the airplane is fully certified.

The Boeing 787 pilot training program uses a sophisticated suite of training devices including a full-flight simulator, flight training device and desktop simulation station to ensure that pilots are ready to fly the Dreamliner.

"The Training & Flight Services team stands ready to provide best-in-class 787 pilot training," said Roei Ganzarski, chief customer officer, Boeing Training & Flight Services. "Our global network of campuses allows our customers to train where they want, when they want."

There are currently eight training suites at five Boeing Training & Flight Services locations around the world in Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Seattle and Gatwick, U.K.
Today ZA001 flew down to Edwards Air Force Base to conduct landing and take off performance tests which will feature the 787 dragging it's tail across the runway to determine the Vmu (velocity minimum unstuck) which is the slowest speed that the 787 can take off. ZA004 should be taking to the air again by Wednesday but the other three airplanes are not flying and no information is known as to when they'll return to the air. Both Flightblogger and Guy Norris have post up about this:

Flightblogger: Edwards Air Force Base awaits ZA001

Guy Norris: 787 - "Fun" about to start?

Lastly, there is disconcerting news about the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 failure which was broken by Flightblogger. Apparently there was a failure of the intermediate pressure turbine and the failure was not contained (meaning that debris had come through the cowling). This failure has not stopped test flight and Rolls Royce says that they have an understanding of the failure and says that this will not impact the program. Nothing has been said about what fixes may need to be incorporated if any.

Flightblogger: 'Package A' Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 suffers engine failure

Friday, August 13, 2010

A retraction and a 787 update

First a retraction. In my previous post I had speculated that the 787 fuselage sections were offloaded from the 747 Dreamlifter because they needed to be inspected due to issues at Alenia. In fact Boeing had informed me that this was not the case but rather the parts were taken off so they unload a horizontal stabilizer that was in front of the fuselage section in the LCF.

These parts were offloaded so they can unload the horizontal stabs. They were reloaded later on. Here's is Boeing's statement:

The fuselage section captured in Matt Cawby's video happened to be on a Dreamlifter that also carried a horizontal stabilizer that needed to be delivered to the Everett factory first. (The h stab was in the back of the plane, the fuselage section in the front)

So we had to unload the fuselage section in order to unload the h stab. Once that was done, we loaded the fuselage section right back onto the Dreamlifter and delivered it to Charleston the very next day. This had nothing to do with the recent issues.

Ok that's all cleared up, thanks to the Boeing communications team for sending me the correction!

Obviously they had to get the horizontal stab out of the airplane. Speaking of which, there were a couple of articles out today addressing the horizontal stabilizer issue and the review that Boeing is doing at Alenia with regards to workmanship issues on the h stab. First Guy Norris has an article and a blog post about it. In the blog post Guy talks about the h stab becoming an irritant in Boeing because of the inspections it has to conduct on each one of the delivered stabilizers. On a brighter note it has allowed Boeing to hopefully add technology to reduce the drag by the 1%. The technology is called hybrid laminar flow control and wold allow the air passing over the stabilizer to be sucked in before the air turned turbulent while passing over the horizontal stabilizer. Read more:

Guy Norris: 787 - tail wagging the dog

In another article, Guy talks about the current issue with the horizontal stabilizer and the Boeing efforts to inspect and take corrective action. The issue may already be affecting test flights though it is unknown at this moment. The test flight fleet did fly for some 7 to 8 hours yesterday but they were not flying today. However, Boeing now has to inspect new areas of the horizontal stabilizer based up on their audit of Alenia production practices. This may become the long pole in the tent for the 787 program.

Guy Norris: Boeing Extends 787 Inspections To New Areas

Lastly, Scott Hamilton, got some very detailed information on the horizontal stabilizer issue and the fact that Boeing is finding multiple issues with the horizontal stabilizers. Scott goes on to say that the problem is with all the horizontal stabilizers that have been delivered into Everett. Undoubtedly Alenia will have to answer many hard and pointed questions about quality control and workmanship at their plant in Italy. Scott does go on to report that delivery of the first 787s can slip to as late as the 2nd quarter of 2011. Both Scott and Guy report that ZA006 may not fly until late September now though my source has said September 12th.

Scott Hamilton: More 787 problems: 2Q delivery delay coming?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Interesting Video of 787 parts in Everett

Matt Cawby who regularly shoots video and photos of Boeing's Everett flight line recorded an interesting piece of video yesterday at Everett which is below:

Matt Cawby Video

In the video the 747 LCF is loaded with fuselage section for the 787. What is interesting is that these are not the pre-stuffed ready to join sections that would normally arrive into Everett to be taken to final assembly but parts that are normally constructed by Alenia in Grottaglie, Italy and then flown to Boeing Charleston to be assembled with parts from Japan to form the main fuselage section that is finally delivered into Everett. Why these particular parts were flown direct to Everett and not Charleston is a mystery but I think we can reasonably speculate that because of Boeing's review of Alenia production processes and manufacturing standards, these parts might be part of the inspections that Boeing has ordered across all the 787 that have been built. Hopefully there is nothing seriously wrong with the parts but it does say that Boeing is a little nervous about one of its major suppliers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Boeing conducts inspection of Alenia built 787 parts

James Albaugh, head of BCA, gave us quick update of the787 program. among the pieces of information he revealed is that Boeing is doing more of the design work for the 787-9 and is making very good progress with the next 787 version.

However, Boeing is finding more issues with Alenia built parts on the 787 and as a result is conducting more inspections of all the 787s built to date. As of now I do not know what these issues are or which Alenia built parts are subject to the new inspections but Boeing wants to make sure that these parts are "up to Boeing standards." This may explain why the 787s have flown on a limited basis for the last week and a half. Only today did ZA001 and ZA004 flew on an extended basis accumulating about 11 flight hours between the two test flights.

Boeing is planning to move more 787 production in house and I won't be surprised if Alenia's contract to build 787 sections is taken away from Boeing and would be produced at both Everett and Charleston in the next 5 years. Much of this is based on reviewing Alenia's 787 production and assembly in Grottaglie which was initiated by improper workmanship on the horizontal stabilizers. There seems to be no complaint of the Japanese built sections or the parts produced by Spirit. Albaugh also said that Boeing is quite happy that they bought out Alenia's share of Global Aeronautica (now name Boeing Charleston) as well as all of Vought's share of the 787 program.

James Albaugh also said that ZA006 should fly later this month though sources have told me that September 12th is still the date that is being shown on internal Boeing schedules. Albaugh also said that they have delivered 70% of the required certification documentation to the FAA though they've only completed about 47% of the test flights hours so far. Boeing can conceivably be at the 50% mark in about 10 days depending on the pace of test flights.

Bloomberg: Boeing Inspects 787 fleet

Monday, August 9, 2010

787 comings and goings

Boeing is going to start final assembly on the 26th Dreamliner either today or tomorrow (ZA 231 for Air India) as there's been a bit of shuffling on the Boeing flight line as well as in the assembly bays and the ATS Hangar which Boeing is using to help reduce the backlog in 40-26.

Meanwhile, Boeing has continued wit some flight testing mainly with ZA002 and ZA003 but they didn't add significant hours though ZA003 did perform a fly by (no barrel roll folks, sorry) during he Seattle Seafair during which the Blue Angels performed. I was informed by Boeing, though, that the Blue Angels toured ZA003 during this past weekend.

You can read more about this in Randy's Journal:

Randy's Journal: 787 Flyover

Lastly, it seems that the first flight of ZA006 is slipping a little bit more again. The date I've heard is now September 12th. This aircraft is suppose to be on the flight line today but I have no confirmation as of yet if it has appeared or not.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Flightblogger details immediate 787 flight tests

Flightblogger posted an article detailing the immediate flight test agenda for the 787 test flight fleet in the next month or so of flight testing. Thus far, the 787 test flight fleet has racked up just under 1,440 flight test hours but the pace has slowed considerably in the last few days. Still Boeing seems to be on pace to achieve certification by the end of November but they will certainly have to fly the 787s a least 10 hours a day in order to achieve delivery in December. It is still a very tight schedule.

ZA001 should by flying to Edwards AFB, according to Flightblogger, to validate the take off and landing performance of the 787 which will include the VMu (minimum unstick velocity) testing in which the 787 will drag it's tail along the surface of the runway and takeoff at the lowest possible speed. After this testing in California it's on to New Mexico for brake testing which will include rejected take off braking at maximum take off weight.

Flightblogger: Arduous phase of flight-test effort awaits Dreamliner

Flightblogger also confirmed what I had reported earlier, that ZA006's first flight may slip into early September. The date I have is September 7th. ZA006 should be out on the Boeing flightline by August 9th but we'll see. The parts for ZA231 (LN 26) have been arriving and that aircraft should start final assembly sometime tomorrow or Tuesday. Hopefully I should have more information on movements of the 787s in production soon. Stay tuned!

Lastly, ZA003 performed a short flyby at the Seattle Seafair this afternoon which was followed up by the Blue Angels performing before the Seafair crowd. Hope to see pics of that soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Boeing loses another order for 15 787s

UPDATE 2 : Well it does indeed look like DAE who has cancelled the 777-300ER and 787 orders that they palced a couple of years ago. The orders for the 737 and the 777 and 747 frieghters are still intact....for now.

UPDATE: Rumor has it that it is Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (leasing) that has cancelled those orders. I'm working to confirm.

This afternoon Boeing posted its weekly order update and in addition to losing an order for 10 777s they had lost an order for 15 787s. The number of customers who have at least that number on order is extensive though it is possible that the customer was also the source of the 10 x 777 cancellations as well.

This is not good news on top of the lost order for Cathay Pacific Airways need for a 777-200/A340-300 replacement. That airline decided on the A350-900 with an order for 30 of the type but also exercised 6 777-300ER purchase rights. There are still some important sales campaigns coming up notably the Air France/KLM decision between the A350 and the 787.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

More flying and more movements

Boeing continues to fly the 787 test flight fleet aggressively as it attempts to certify the Roll Royce Trent 1000 powered 787 by the end of November for delivery in December to ANA. Thus far the test flight hours are over 1,400 hours with the half way mark (1,550 hours) in sight. I project that Boeing should be at the half way mark by mid August if not earlier. They still need to be very aggressive with the test flights in order to get to the certification goal by late November which is less than four months away. The Rolls Royce powered fleet has amassed over 1,300 flight hours (they are targeting 2,430 hours). The sole GE powered aircraft has also been flying quite a bit in order to get the GEnx-1B powered airplanes into customer hands in early 2011. The majority of 787 customers, thus far, have elected the GEnx-1B engines on the 787. ZA005 has racked up just under 110 flight hours. ZA006 is not expected to join the test flight program until early September. It should be rolled out to the flight line in about 1 week (August 9th is what I'm hearing) where it will undergo preflight ground testing. Sources confirmed that ZA006 is still inside ATS Hangar 3.

Production has slowed a bit though. ZA231 was supposed to have started final assembly in late July is now pushed back to August 9th. Meanwhile ZA103 emerged from the temporary tent hangar on the Boeing flightline and was taken to the ATS Hangar to presumably finish up reassembly tasks. ZA104 has been moved into the spot just vacated ZA103 and is starting it's side of body modifications. ZA115 was taken out of the ATS Hangar and is now on the Boeing flightline with many of the other 787s for ANA. Boeing will be slowing down assembly activities in September to allow the supply chain to catch up and reduce travelled work flowing into Everett.

September should bring some changes though with ZA004 expected to receive improved Trent-1000 (the "package B") with better fuel burn. That would take ZA004 out of flight test for some time while they install and ground test the engines on the aircraft. I would expect that the first production 787s should start getting their engines and interiors around October-November time frame and start flight tests soon after that.