Sunday, November 7, 2010

787 and 747-8I news - November 7, 2010

Last week was an eventful week for the 787 program with the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine issue raising questions about the design of the Trent 1000 and if there is a larger problem that could affect first delivery.

The August 2nd failure of the Trent 1000 engine on a test stand in Derby was a major factor of the latest 787 delay no matter what anyone else would tell you. Last weeks incident on QF32 with the Trent 900 engine highlighted the potential human cost of an uncontained engine failure. Part of the engine had damaged the wing of the A380 and if the pieces had penetrated the wing fuel tank, it would have most certainly lead to the loss of the aircraft and all on board. The potential lost of QF32 would have been the third worst air disaster ever given the number of souls aboard the airplane.

This incident also underscored Boeing's decision to delay the 787 delivery to ANA (to be equipped with the Trent 1000) to mid February. Now Rolls says they have a hardware and software fix but in light of what happened last week, Rolls Royce has a lot of explaining and soul searching to do. They have to convince the airline industry and the airframe manufacturers that their products are safe. Recent events have thrown much light on their products. Rolls Royce is hurting and I do direct you this this article HERE to get a real good read out on the potential problems that the uncontained failures of the Trent 1000 and Trent 900 engines have for Rolls. Finally, Boeing is not going to be helped by Pratt and Whitney's lawsuit against Rolls Royce for patent infringements. The lawsuits aims to prevent Rolls Royce from delivering any Trent 1000 engines to Boeing and the 787 program. If this goes through Boeing and its customers who ordered the Trent's will be in a very tough spot.

Boeing still has issues with the 787 that they have to grapple with out the Rolls Royce issue and that issue is the travelled work and all the rework that the assembled 787s have to have before they are delivered to customers. Boeing is still mum on the number of 787s that they will deliver next year but there has been press reports that there would be 10 month delay to some deliveries, notably to Air India and Korean Air. Boeing has come out forcefully in the light of those press reports to say that their isn't an further delay beyond those that they have already announced and that the media that originated the newest story was using information that Boeing had released two months ago. The verdict: Boeing is still sticking with the mid 1st quarter 2011 for first delivery but beyond that Boeing has not made any announcement of the pace of deliveries after the first airplane is in ANA's hands.

Air India has come out and said that they are expecting their first 787 in June 2011 which is in line with past reports. Still we will still have to see how the pace of rework goes after the completion of the flight test program in order to better gauge the delivery schedule of the 787s.

Meanwhile, Flightblogger reported the resumption of 787 part deliveries into Everett with the arrival of the wing set for the 31st 787 (ZA117 for ANA). There was a line move late last week where LN 25 (ZA230 for Air India) was moved to the paint hangar allowing ZA233 (also for Air India) to be loaded into the final body join spot.

Flightblogger: Boeing restarts 787 deliveries with arrival of wings for Airplane 31

Flight test activities continued this past weekend with the Boeing test flight fleet logging about 60 flight test hours over the last three days (Nov. 5 - Nov. 7). Some of the milestones include the 787/Trent 1000 fleet surpassing 2,000 flight test hours, the 6 test flight airplanes surpassing 75% of the required test flight hours (3,100 total), ZA001 surpassing 700 flight test hours flown, the test flight fleet surpassing 2,300 flight test hours, the 787/GE test flight fleet surpassing 50% of the required test flight hours, and the 750th test flight of a 787.

Also ZA006 undertook a marketing mission to Amsterdam and Paris in an effort to sell AF/KLM the 787. During this time, ZA006 was parked next to an Air France A380 overnight at Charles De Gaulle in Paris which would have made for a great photo.

747-8I, RC001 makes progress.

Boeing's other major passenger aircraft that's in development also is making progress as the first 747-8I achieved power on for the first time. Power on allows some testing of the aircraft's systems in the assembly hangar while assembly is on going and is an important milestone. Boeing plans a four month test flight program and first delivery in about a year from now. The reason for the short flight test program is that much of the testing has already or will be completed by the 747-8F.

Below is Boeing Press Release as well as video of the power on of RC001:

Boeing Achieves Power On for New 747-8 Intercontinental

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 5, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has completed the power on sequence for the new 747-8 Intercontinental. This milestone enables the program to begin functional tests on the airplane.

"This is a critical step in the assembly process for the new 747-8 Intercontinental," said Elizabeth Lund, 747 deputy program manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The airplane's systems are now live. This milestone is a reflection of the focus and hard work of our engineers, mechanics and suppliers."

Power on is a complex series of tasks that methodically energize and activate the airplane's systems. In this critical stage of the assembly process, the electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems are brought on line.

Mechanics connected the 747-8 to an external power cart to energize the flight-deck display and maintenance systems. The electricity coursing through the airplane's 133 miles (214 km) of wire will be as high as 105 kilovoltampere (kVa).

The program also activated the airplane's hydraulic and pneumatic systems. Pressurized to 3,000 pounds per square inch (psi), the hydraulics power the flight control surfaces, landing gear, brakes and steering systems. The 160 psi applied to the pneumatic system enables the airplane to operate the environmental control systems and the leading-edge flaps.

"We are very methodical in ensuring the integrity of the airplane's systems," said Todd Zarfos, vice president of 747 engineering, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "This accomplishment is a key milestone in validating the design, installation and functionality of the electrical, hydraulic and pneumatic systems."

A video that gives you an inside look at the power on sequence is available at

The program is expected to complete assembly of the 747-8 Intercontinental in the first quarter of 2011. The airplane is scheduled to enter service in late 2011 following the flight test program.

The 747-8, which includes the 747-8 Intercontinental and the 747-8 Freighter, was launched in November 2005. Boeing has 109 orders for the 747-8 -- 33 for the 747-8 Intercontinental and 76 for the 747-8 Freighter. The first 747-8 Intercontinental is scheduled to deliver in late 2011.

The new 747-8 Intercontinental offers the lowest operating costs and best economics of any large passenger airplane, while providing enhanced environmental performance. The 747-8 provides new revenue opportunities that allow airlines to maximize profits. Eighteen feet longer than the 747-400, the 747-8 has 51 additional seats to accommodate 467 passengers in a typical three-class configuration, and it also offers 26 percent more cargo volume.
Boeing Video


GP said...

There was an article in the Wall St Journal today talking about the Airbus 380 incident that is troubling for Airbus as well. Parts from the exploding engine affected hydraulic control of the aircraft and landing gear. This reminds me of the design flaw in the Lockheed L-1011 when one had an engine failure. Airbus may need to look at placement of hydraulic systems to prevent future issues.

Uresh said...

Not just the hydraulic systems but I'm also worried about very hot engines parts being flung into the wing fuel tanks.

GP said...

Based on the location of the engine failure and the position of fuel tanks there is little oppertunity for an engine part to breach a fuel tank while the plane is flying at 550 MPH. There is a far greater concern about a breach of the cabin.