Just as a reminder to those who read the old blog on RSS, the new feed is here:
November 16, 2007
November 9, 2007
I am very pleased to announce that Flightblogger has begun its move to flightglobal.com. The move will take some time, so please bear with me as the transition will take time. It was important to get the new blog up and running in time for Dubai.
You'll also find my first story on the 747 program over there. Please feel free to start leaving comments over at the new blog.
The new blog can be found here:
Make sure to update your bookmarks accordingly.
Posted by Jon at Friday, November 09, 2007
November 6, 2007
I want to extend my deepest thanks to Flight for supporting Flightblogger and encouraging independent coverage of the aviation industry, as well as its forward thinking approach to new media.
Flightglobal.com is delighted to announce that we are teaming up with one of the world's leading aviation blogs - Flightblogger - to add another distinctive voice to our online portfolio.
Since its launch in May this year, Flightblogger has established a deserved reputation for providing an independent but intelligent commentary on the development of new airliners. We are happy to see its independence continue.
Flightglobal.com firmly believes in supporting a diversity of viewpoints and we are keen to see alternative, high-quality opinions sitting alongside our mainstream coverage.
In addition, Flightblogger will find a new home at Flightglobal.com.
For the time being, flightblogger.blogspot.com will serve as an archive of all the work I've done to date. I will be moving over to a new permanent home at flightglobal.com later this week.
With this new partnership, I'll be able to devote my full energy to Flightblogger. I'm looking forward to increasing the scope of coverage and delving into a range of new topics inside the industry.
In the previous post, I referenced that Flightblogger was going global; both a subtle hint to the new partnership, as well as my plans for my first assignment.
At the end of this week, I will be traveling to Dubai to cover the 2007 Dubai Air Show. I'll be doing my best, jet lag and all, to deliver a unique independent viewpoint on this massive air show.
Just as I covered the 787 rollout, I will be liveblogging from Dubai. This will also provide a unique opportunity to make this an interactive experience. I want to hear from you about what you want to see and hear from DXB.
Boeing, Airbus and other aircraft manufacturers will be making major announcements during the course of the Air Show and I will be there to bring you coverage.
There will be over 140 aircraft on static or flying display. Start asking yourself this question: What do you want to see in Dubai?
November 2, 2007
This page has been silent for the last forty-four days.
It has not been easy to be away for that long. Flightblogger became a huge part of my life and giving it up was not easy, though it was for the best.
This blog was born in late March and accumulated nearly 400,000 visitors in its short life before its abrupt close in late September. My apologies for the lack of advance notice and thank you for all your emails of support, curiosity and encouragement. Each and every one of them meant the world to me. Without you, this blog is just one guy talking to himself.
The old saying goes that, "Sometimes in life, things are better the second time around."
Say hello to v2.0.
Within the next seven days Flightblogger will relaunch with an entirely new format, with a new look, with a new scope, and with a new home.
Stay tuned. Flightblogger is going global.
Posted by Jon at Friday, November 02, 2007
September 19, 2007
Whatever your reaction to this is, you need to read the following as well.
Safety of Composite 787 questioned; Airbus sides with Boeing
By Scott Hamilton
An engineer fired by Boeing under disputed circumstances charges in an 11 page letter to the Federal Aviation Administration that Boeing’s new 787 composite structure isn’t as safe as the traditional aluminum. The engineer charges composites aren’t as crash-worthy as aluminum and will produce toxic fumes in a fire. Airbus, Boeing’s bitter competitor, says the engineer’s fears don’t measure up.
September 18, 2007
I've been away on a much needed extended vacation and lots happened this weekend. Section 44 and 46 for Dreamliner Three arrived from Italy wrapped in black plastic on Tuesday. Sections 43, 45/11 are expected early in the morning on Wednesday from Japan. Flight is operating as EIA5186.
While I stepped away there was a lot of news about the 787. Here's a good rundown if you missed any of it:
Boeing's Tall Order: On-Time 787
Wall Street Journal
By J. Lynn Lunsford
Boeing Co.'s top leaders say it is possible to overcome a nearly four-month delay in the 787 Dreamliner program and deliver the first jet on time in May. Industry observers and a number of the plane's suppliers say it would be the aerospace equivalent of hitting a hole in one on a golf course.Fired engineer calls 787's plastic fuselage unsafe
By Dominic Gates
A former senior aerospace engineer at Boeing's Phantom Works research unit, fired last year under disputed circumstances, is going public with concerns that the new 787 Dreamliner is unsafe.Fastner problem could prove longer term hindrance to Boeing
By Stephen Trimble
A deeper and more widespread fastener shortage than previously thought may continue to hamper 787 production long after the first aircraft is fully assembled and in flight test.One mildly self-indulgent news item:
A jet to help Boston's dreams take off
The Boston Globe
By Peter J Howe
When Boeing Co.'s new 787 Dreamliner jet takes to the skies sometime this winter, it will represent an envelope-pushing engineering triumph for everything from fuel efficiency to advanced composite materials.And a little (very important) historical context:
It also will represent Boston's first hope in years for getting regular nonstop service to China, India, and East Asia. By dint of its size and range - and its ability to take off from Logan International Airport's biggest runways with a full load of fuel - the 787 is expected to be the first jet that airlines can profitably fly nonstop between Boston and major Asian cities.
Making it Fly: Boeing 757
Seattle Times (1983)
By Peter Rinearson
September 15, 2007
There's a busy weekend ahead for the LCFs. N747BA (LCF1) was spotted at PAE on Friday loading shipping fixtures for this weekend's trip to Japan and N780BA (LCF2) is in Charleston prepping for it's trip to Italy. Both LCFs are expected to leave their respective bases Saturday or Sunday and are scheduled to return around 1pm on Monday, September 17 in Charleston.
LCF2 will deliver Sections 44 and 46 from Grottaglie. Look for the outbound leg to operate as EIA5162 and return as EIA5127.
LCF1 will deliver Sections 45, 11 and 43 from Nagoya. The outbound leg to Japan should operate at EIA5109 and return as EIA5186.
When assembled together, these sections will make up the center fuselage of Dreamliner Three. Currently fuselage parts are scattered across the US. Section 41 is under construction in Wichita and Section 47 and 48 are being assembled in Charleston.
In addition, the center fuselage for Dreamliner Two is making great progress in Charleston. Work continues installing the key ceiling brackets that will hold the wiring, environmental control systems and ducting. Delivery to Everett is set for those first two weeks in October. Keep an eye out for Dreamliner Two to possibly be the first to fly, followed very closely by Dreamliner One. I am working to confirm this.
I too will be busy this weekend and don't anticipate being able to update in a significant way for several days. Feel free use the comments section here as an open thread for discussion. Not to worry, I haven't forgotten, the 747-8 update will be arriving shortly.
September 11, 2007
All is quiet tonight in Everett.
Dreamliner One is still off of its landing gear. ZY997 can't move to Building 40-23. The delay in first flight has reduced the urgency of the move. However, if the urgency was the same the aircraft would be unable to move. The spotting opportunity to see ZA001 and ZY997 together should come soon however.
As a result of the bottleneck preventing an assembly space from opening in Building 40-26, the delivery of ZY998, the Fatigue Airframe, has been postponed an additional 10 days. Shipment to Washington was originally planned for September 20. The delivery to Everett is now expected around September 30.
The pair of LCFs will be working this weekend. All major structures for the center fuselage of LN3/ZA003 will arrive from Japan and Italy on Sunday, September 16. They are scheduled to arrive at CHS within 45 minutes of one another. Parts forLN4/ZA004 should be arriving in Charleston two weeks after.
September 10, 2007
This was WAY overdue.
Q: 35 00 N, 105 00 E 90 Degrees
A: China Eastern
Q: "You want me to chuck a crustacean onto a plastic doll?!"
Q: Perhaps the most notoriously bureaucratic airline in the world, let alone the subcontinent.
A: Air India
Q: Please refrain from yelling "Free Eritrea!" at the crew.
A: Ethiopian Airlines
Q: When I go to bed at night, I like to sleep under a nice down comforter.
A: QANTAS or Jetstar
So that's LN 1 to 27. Lots of 787s, lots of airlines.
Look for my first update about the 747-8 later this week. Flightblogger is branching out.
September 9, 2007
Structural work is the primary task continuing on Dreamliner One in Everett. The aircraft is still off of its landing gear and surrounded by scaffolding. Doors three and four are not yet reattached. Once structural work is completed wiring and systems installation will commence. First flight is scheduled to take place between Mid-November and Mid-December. The structural work as well as flight control software development has delayed the first flight.
The Static Airframe is scheduled to move to Building 40-23 on September 11. Though it appears that target may be changed due to the delay in first flight. One source stated, "With the delay in first flight, there is no reason to hurry the static test." The vertical tail has yet to be attached and the aircraft is still surrounded by scaffolding. Doors three and four still have yet to be installed. During the September 5 update Bair and Carson said the static airframe would move, "Later this month."
Final assembly is set to begin in Everett around September 20. Center and aft fuselages assembly are wrapping up in Charleston. The delivery date will depend in part on the movement of ZY997 to free up an assembly position in the rear of Building 40-26.
Once the fatigue rig (ZY998) is shipped to Everett, work in Charleston will refocus on Dreamliner Two. The center fuselage was moved from cell 10 to cell 20 last week to continue installing the stuffing. The center fuselage is expected to ship with the doors installed. Shipment to Washington is scheduled to take place on or around October 9.
First word on follow on shipment is slowly materializing. Production is ramping up quickly at Charleston and assembly on the center fuselage for ZA003 is expected to begin around September 16. ZA004 assembly will begin two weeks following the arrival of ZA003, and ZA005 will begin two weeks after that.
Lastly, if anyone has direct knowledge of what's going on in Kansas, Italy or Japan please feel free to get in touch with me. It would be helpful to provide an even more complete picture of the program.
September 5, 2007
The conference call ended a little while ago and I wanted to give a rundown of what we heard.
It's worth noting that this writer attempted to ask a question on the call and was blocked from doing so.
Now to the key points:
- First flight has been delayed. It is expected to take place somewhere between Mid-November and Mid-December. Entry into service is still set for May 2008.
- The cause of the delay is two parts. Problem was first reported here at Flightblogger.
1. Temporary fasteners
- Lack of documentation
- Unavailability of permanent fasteners.
- 700something left to be installed.
2. Flight control software
- It's just not ready yet and working with Honeywell to resolve issues.
- Carson: A 1-3 month delivery day will not carry financial penalties.
- Aeroflot finalized its order for 787 bringing the total orders to 706
- Trent 1000 engines certified August 8. GENx certification program is proceeding.
- Once the flight test program begins a new aircraft will join 2-3 weeks. Testing will happen 24 hours a day 7 days a week. There is almost no buffer left.
- Boeing confirmed the re-sequencing of deliveries. The fatigue test will jump in front of Dreamliner Two which is now set to arrive in October.
- Static test rig will move to 40-23 later this month.
What's going on at Alcoa? Removing temporaries causing damage?
"Working with Alcoa on a daily, hourly basis to get the fasteners we need. The set up puts out one wad of bolts at a time. Substitute (flightworthy) fasteners being used, they however add weight to the aircraft."
"700something fasteners left to install."
What type of new tests for 787?
Composite material testing. Standard certification testing is ahead of us. More electric architecture is being tested with really good results."
Dominic Gates: Have you located everything you've needed to locate on Dreamliner One? What about damage when removing the parts?
"Not indicative of follow on aircraft. No worries about how follow on aircraft will be. Partners are focused. Under size fasteners used as to not damage structure."
"1-3 month delay would have little impact on contracts."
"Less than half of flying is for certification. It's for our own information purposes. Four planes flying by early 2008."
Is the electronic tracking systems broken?
"No. All the digital tools have done what we've expected them to. The airplane goes together perfectly. We didn't digitally simulate missing thousands of fasteners."
James Wallace: What's up with the documentation work? Time line for aircraft entry to the test program?
"You can't do anything on an airplane if you don't have paperwork. Fasteners jumbled up the way the airplane was put together. You can't rush it, you gotta get it right."
"Follow on airplanes will go into flight test program every two to three weeks."
How do you intend to keep your credibility? (first A380 comparison)
"Tell the world exactly what's going on with the program. You won't know what you have to deal with until you have to deal with it. We'll get this airplane in the air, and we'll get to flight test."
Flight test sequence for program?
"Unchanged, this delay is eating into the buffer that was built in to the program."
Higher speed flight. 24/7 Flight test program to be expected.
What extent did the roll out add to current challenges?
"Roll out NOT a factor. We didn't have a handle on it until it showed up in the factory."
Flight Control System
To be delivered later this month. Working with Honeywell and adding resources to ensure that all challenges are met.
Accomplishments and Weight Status:
Static rig will move to 40-23 late this month.
Trent 1000s certified August 8, GENx coming alone nicely.
Some partners have already started work on airplane 10.
RTO brake tests goals met.
Weight production plans. LN7 will be on the scales at target weight next year.
Now open to questions.
1. Global fastener shortage
2. Documentation didn't match what arrived from suppliers.
3rd airplane will be fatigue test. Delivery in October confirmed.
New Single year sales record for the 787. 706 total orders. "Immersed in the hard work of building an airplane."
2 Primary Issues
Flight control systems
FIRST FLIGHT LATE MOVED TO FALL
MID NOVEMBER - MID DECEMBER
Good morning all.
I just joined the call and was welcomed by the sound of elevator music. By my watch, this should be getting underway in the next three minutes. In case you missed it, James Wallace at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer published an article today detailing that the first flight may slip to November. Most notably He confirmed the content of the piece I published Tuesday:
In addition to this travel work that shifted from partners to final assembly in Everett, the large composite 787 sections of the first plane arrived in Everett with tens of thousands of temporary fasteners because of an industrywide fastener shortage.
They must all be replaced with permanent ones before the plane can fly. That has become far more time-consuming than Boeing initially thought.
One issue is the time it is taking mechanics in Everett to locate many of the temporary fasteners. They are supposed to be painted red for easy identification.
But Boeing has had to follow a tedious paper trail to document where many of the temporary fasteners were placed by its partners.
Jon Ostrower, who runs an aviation Web site called Flightblogger, posted a story Tuesday that quoted sources as saying that the removal of the temporary fasteners damaged some of the composite parts of the aircraft, causing time-consuming repairs.
Sources confirmed the report to the P-I.
September 4, 2007
According to sources with direct knowledge at both ends of the major sub-assembly supply chain, temporary parts, including fasteners, are causing significant slow downs in the 787 program.
The source of the slowdown in progress on Dreamliner One originated in the rush to meet the July 8th roll out. The push to achieve this milestone forced supply chain partners to use over-the-counter parts and prevented assembly teams from being able to document the location of these temporary fasteners on the first 787.
Boeing has previously acknowledged that temporary fasteners would be required on early 787 airframes while a shortage of flightworthy fasteners was being remedied. Flightblogger has learned that many of the temporary fasteners, which were painted red and installed in place of flightworthy parts, were purchased from run-of-the-mill chain hardware stores, including Home Depot and Ace Hardware.
The use of hardware store parts has been confirmed by multiple sources working directly with the aircraft at assembly sites in both Everett, Wa. and Charleston, S.C.
As a result, Boeing must now comb through the aircraft to locate, document and replace all of the temporary fasteners to prevent a single non-flightworthy fastener from flying.
The slowdown is occurring at several different levels.
The first is the difficulty in identifying where these fasteners were installed on the aircraft. All fasteners have to meet FAA conformity standards and engineering requirements for flight worthiness. A record, or travel tag, is required to show that the installation was authorized by an engineer based on the temporary nature of the part. According to sources directly involved with the program, no concrete or consistent documentation existed for fasteners on large portions of Dreamliner One.
Without adequate documentation, assembly teams in Everett have had to allocate significant resources for identifying and replacing the temporary fasteners.
The second is the challenge in physically replacing the parts. “Composite only like fasteners installed once,” according to one source working directly with the aircraft.
When it came time to install flightworthy fasteners, the removal of the temporary fasteners damaged some of the composite parts of the aircraft causing time-consuming repairs.
For example, the vertical tail was removed following roll out and reattached on August 26 after undergoing composite repairs.
As of print date, Boeing continues to progress with structural work as Dreamliner One prepares for its flight test program. Wiring and systems installation have not yet begun.
The replacement of the fasteners is an example of the type of “traveled work” that is necessary on Dreamliner One. Because all work has to be documented and accounted for electronically, Boeing has employed the VELOCITY system to track the assembly process. Engineers and mechanics who are working directly with Dreamliner One have found the paperless work environment an impediment to progress.
One veteran engineer put it this way, “Boeing has missed a fundamental element in Lean Manufacturing. When building and assembling the aircraft in VELOCITY, the paperless assembly environment system shouldn’t be something that creates more work for us."
Though the process may be difficult, according to another source working directly with Dreamliner One, “Progress is slow, but steady.”
The third challenge is that when Boeing conceived the global supply chain for the Dreamliner it never envisioned having to assemble a completely bare aircraft with temporary parts in Everett. The sections would arrive stuffed with flightworthy fasteners, systems, ducting, wiring and insulation from Italy, Japan, Kansas and South Carolina. The first Dreamliner arrived completely bare.
Sources say the fastener issue is indicative of a larger fundamental problem in the global supply chain.
“Traceability to the source [of manufacturing] is something that is missing in this program. When you receive a travel tag from a partner and it is written in Japanese with English subtitles it sure makes you wonder if something got lost in translation,” remarked one Boeing engineer.
An assessment by one Boeing veteran engineer of how to avoid these problems in the supply chain was unequivocal,
“Boeing needs to create a server based system that all the partners can log onto and sign off the work they complete. This way when [the part] finally ends up at the next partner or here in Everett, we can see what tasks were not completed. This would also keep any ‘lost in translation’ tags from getting through the system. There has to be a direct line of communication at all levels. You can’t put an aircraft through final assembly in three days in Everett if the documentation takes you three months.”
When approached about this situation, Boeing 787 Communications spokesperson Yvonne Leach declined to comment or provide details in the lead up to a program update late this week.
Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] Commercial Airplanes Chief Scott Carson and 787 Program Manager Mike Bair are hosting a conference call with media, investors and analysts on the morning of September 5th to provide a comprehensive update on progress.
Flightblogger has learned that a delay of first flight will be announced. The specific length of that delay is currently unknown.
Even with a potential delay looming, internally at manufacturing and assembly sites around the United States, sources describe the overall quality of the design as excellent.
“Boeing and its partners have taken on a huge responsibility to their customers and the millions of travelers who fly on their products. To build an aircraft of this caliber you need to build it with the best the aerospace industry can provide. Boeing hired the best minds to design the new 787 and they hired the best minds to put in place a world class lean manufacturing team. The issue has been one of execution.”
However, at sub-assembly plants such as Global Aeronautica in Charleston, less experienced workers whose expertise lie outside of the aerospace industry are being relied upon to assemble and inspect major structural components of the aircraft.
The veteran engineer added, “[Boeing] allowed their partners to use unskilled technicians to build the assemblies. The 787 Dreamliner should be built by the best the aerospace industry has to offer. What seems to have happened here is that Boeing has built a house starting from the roof down. Any time you build anything as complicated as the 787 you need to build a good base and work up from there. All the best engineering and planning are nothing without the skill and dedication of seasoned professionals who give so much of themselves to build what we all hope will one day be the safest and most economical aircraft in the world.”
The veteran engineer concluded, “No problem is insurmountable. This is a wonderful airplane. These problems can be overcome. There has to be a reckoning about the realities of what it will take to ensure that this program gets off the ground safely and successfully.”
August 31, 2007
There are lots of you, like me, out there who love aviation and are frequent users of software like Microsoft Flight Simulator. I've been flying the MSFS products since FS95 and count myself as a loyal user.
So, when Google Earth came out I had to wonder, why can't I have ground scenery and terrain like this in Microsoft Flight Sim? Well, right now there's no way to combine the two.
However, and this is a BIG however, what if you could turn Google Earth into a flight simulator of its own? What if you could fly a Cirrus SR22 or an General Dynamics F-16 over any point on the earth? Would this be something that might interest you?
I know you answered yes.
Google Earth version 4.2 is a flight simulator now. Yes, you read that right. All the visual eye candy is now available to be flown over in a crude (but flyable) rendering of an SR22 or an F-16. It even has the option for a joystick.
You'll need the latest version which you can get here. FREE
Once you get your hands on it enter CTRL + ALT + A (Capital A - make sure caps lock is on). This will bring up the flight simulator window.
Happy open source flying.
The complete instructions from Google can be found here.
Posted by Jon at Friday, August 31, 2007
August 29, 2007
On Wednesday, September 5 Scott Carson and Mike Bair will be providing a comprehensive 787 program update. The conference call will begin at 10am EST.
I have been invited, along with other members of the media and industry analysts, to join in on the call.
Similar to the July 8th roll out, Flightblogger will the live blog the conference call as it happens to bring the developments on the program to you as they are announced.
Also, there's this little news item worth mentioning:
Boeing mechanics asked to transfer to Wash. plant
Boeing has a need for extra mechanics at its facility in Everett. The 787 Dreamliner program needs an additional 40 mechanics, according to an e-mail to Wichita mechanics.
August 27, 2007
I am back after a short (and much needed) vacation. I've tweaked the design for these updates to make information more accessible. A master list of all updates will still be available at its original page: The Dreamliner Learns to Fly.
Structural, wiring and systems installation continues on Dreamliner One as it has since July 9th. At last word, the flight deck only had rudder pedals installed. The vertical tail has not yet been reattached, however the aft pressure drogue has installed in preparation for flight test. An ANA painted rudder has arrived in the rear of the factory in Building 40-36. This is destined for Dreamliner Two when final assembly begins in October. The aircraft is likely to wear full ANA paint. Passenger doors 1 and 2 have been installed on the Static Rig which is still in the number one position inside Building 40-26.
UPDATE: The vertical tail (without the rudder) was reattached to the fuselage on Sunday, August 26.
With the change in delivery order, work in Charleston has shifted to the Fatigue Airframe (ZY998). Section 45/11 and 44 have been joined and Sections 46 & 43 are being deburred and drilled in preparation for completion of the center fuselage. Limited work continues on Dreamliner Two with the installation of clips and fittings.
August 22, 2007
The relocation of the Static Air Frame to Building 40-23, which was tentatively scheduled for the night of August 23rd, has been pushed back to the night of September 11th. This will undoubtedly be an extraordinary opportunity for spotters to see two 787s at once.
In addition, Flightblogger has learned that Dreamliner Two final assembly is now scheduled to begin October 9th. Assembly was initially set to begin after the arrival of major structural parts to Everett on August 18th, however Boeing has reworked its delivery schedule with its sub-assembly partners.
August 20, 2007
According to multiple sources inside the 787 program, Boeing has delayed delivery of major structural parts for Dreamliner Two indefinitely as work feverishly continues on preparing Dreamliner One for its first flight this fall.
Put simply, there is a small bottleneck inside of Building 40-26 at the Boeing factory in Everett interfering with deliveries. Two of the four final assembly positions are in use. The first position in the rear of the factory is occupied by the Static Rig (ZY997), the second by Dreamliner One (ZA001).
Dreamliner One continues to undergo extremely extensive structural and systems assembly and is currently jacked up off its landing gear surrounded by scaffolding, making the forward movement to make way for the Static Rig difficult until it returns to pavement.
In addition, Flightblogger has learned that once deliveries do resume, the Fatigue Test Rig (ZY998) will be delivered prior to Dreamliner Two (ZA002).
Mary Hanson, spokeswoman for the 787 program confirmed that a change in the delivery schedule existed, “The 787 program has directed several structural partners to re-look at their ship dates on [Dreamliner Two] and complete systems, wiring and other critical installations before shipping to final assembly.”
Hanson added that the delay has nothing to do with Dreamliner One, and felt the characterization of the schedule change as a postponement or delay was not accurate, and that first flight, certification and entry into service are not affected by this decision. Hanson also declined to comment on the bottleneck inside Building 40-26.
According to sources, Boeing’s public stance on the delay is accurate with regard to the travel work; however the delay in deliveries is in part due to the around-the-clock singular focus of the final assembly team on preparing Dreamliner One for its maiden flight.
With Dreamliner One in its current position, there is no room in the rear of the factory to begin final assembly of the Fatigue Test Rig or Dreamliner Two. Delivery of Dreamliner Two structures from South Carolina, Kansas, Japan and Italy were all initially planned for an August 18 timeframe.
In addition, Dreamliner One still has yet to have its tail, engines, wing-body fairing, flaps and landing gear doors reinstalled following a comprehensive disassembly which occurred after the July 8th roll-out ceremony.
"Boeing is doing everything they can to finish the job but there are jobs that just cannot be sped up," said one Boeing employee with knowledge of the program.
Testing on the Static Rig needs to take place three doors down in Building 40-23, which is located between the 747 and 767 final assembly lines. Before the Static Rig can move to Building 40-23, Dreamliner One must be rolled out of the factory. The width of Building 40-26 is only large enough to accommodate one 787 at a time.
According to sources who have seen Boeing's internal schedules the Static Rig is tentatively scheduled to move out of 40-26 on August 23. The move will take place during the late night shift change just as it did for the appearance of Dreamliner One when it left the factory for the paint shop on June 25.
The indefinite delay of continued deliveries to Everett present a distinct problem for Boeing, which has an ambitious nine month flight test program planned. The test program will employ four aircraft (ZA001-ZA004) as the 787 Dreamliner seeks certification with Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines for entry into service in May of 2008 with All Nippon Airways.
Without a second, third and fourth 787 to quickly join Dreamliner One on the rigorous flight test regime, Boeing will be hard-pressed to meet its May 2008 EIS goal. As an important point of comparison, the first and second 777 aircraft flew 32 days apart in 1994 and the third 777 followed just 22 days later. The 777, the last all-new Boeing aircraft, completed an eleven-month, five aircraft flight test certification program in April 1995. The 787 certification program will likely have to match or exceed the pace of aircraft introduction on the 777 program to meet its goals.
Facilities in Charleston and Wichita are working around-the-clock to prepare 787 fuselage sections for final assembly and delivery to Everett. The first 787 fuselage pieces delivered to Everett were almost entirely bare of systems and represented mainly the structural shell of the aircraft. Extensive "travel work" is being currently performed by the final assembly team in Everett to install wiring, ducting, insulation and systems for the first 787.
The indefinite delay in deliveries to Everett could also provide an opportunity for Boeing to test its groundbreaking business model. Boeing hopes that by delaying deliveries to Everett, they can allow the 787 subcontractors to more fully complete the assembly of follow-on aircraft fuselage sections.
The deferment of assemblies will allow for independent work to be done outside of Puget Sound, enabling the Everett-based final assembly and delivery team to continue its focus on Dreamliner One. Once Dreamliner One has been fully assembled, the follow-on fuselage structures can be joined in less time in hopes of keeping the flight test, certification and delivery on track.
Hanson added, “To allow traveled work to continue to flow from our partners into final assembly would deter the 787 program from setting up the Lean production system we envision. [The change] is necessary and will enable the program to get the right production system up and running over the long term.”
Another source, a veteran engineer of Boeing commercial aircraft programs, including the 787, is concerned about the planning moving forward.
“Boeing needs to look at the certification date and work backwards from those milestones looking at how to achieve this program goal by goal. Right now they are moving forward, but there’s no connection between milestones.”
Deliveries to sub-contractors are expected to continue with fuselage sections arriving in Charleston from Italy and Japan; however no timeline for the next deliveries appear to be in place.
The veteran engineer added, “There’s a lot of energy and time being wasted. Teams all over the globe are ready to work. The [Large Cargo Freighter] should be moving empty fixtures back to their respective partners' manufacturing locations. This could be done while Evergreen International flight crews are doing required training. Forward motion is essential - even if it’s slow progress, it’s still progress.”
August 15, 2007
Word from the factory floor is that power on should happen within the next 10 days.
UPDATE: After speaking with several people in Everett it looks as though power on will not happen in the next 10 days despite a fervent effort to achieve this goal. 500 of 600 tasks still remain before this can occur. There is a general time line for when this could happen, and will provide an update as soon as one becomes available.
There has been an ongoing debate inside the aviation enthusiast community since the beginning of the 787 program. The question has been repeated more times than I can count:
Are the 787 windows really any bigger?
I would like once and for all to put this debate to rest.
They ARE bigger. In fact, they are HUGE.
18.4 inches tall by 10.7 inches wide. We've heard the numbers and we've seen the pictures. What follows are the actual window frames developed by Alenia that are slated to be installed on Dreamliner Two. One day in the not so distant future, a passenger will look out this window on a flight on an All Nippon Airways 787. To illustrate the actual size of these windows there is a tape measure in the picture that shows the size of the window in both metric and English units. They are at full resolution so you can read them clearly. Please feel free to click the images to view the larger versions.
The final image is the Dreamliner Two Center Fuselage (which will receive these window frames) in all her glory being assembled by the Charleston "Dream Team" which has identified, tackled and solved the challenges placed in front of them with extraordinary skill and grace. The work they are doing is truly incredible. Since this photo was taken, there has been significant work done on the center fuselage section including the installation of ducting, insulation and other key systems.
All images are exclusive to Flightblogger not to be reposted or published without prior consent.
August 13, 2007
A final go 'round...L/N 19:
Q: If John Madden's friend would rearrange the letters in the name of his store, he'd have the initials of this airline.
A: China Eastern Airlines
Q: Finally, a level playing field to compete with their arch-rival!
A: Japan Airlines
Q: Some people might misspell this airline's name, but I bet you wouldn't.
Q: Mall record stores wouldn't sell the album as originally titled, so the spelling was reversed to a more acceptable efil4zaggin for them.
The final five...
35 00 N, 105 00 E 90 Degrees
"You want me to chuck a crustacean onto a plastic doll?!"
Perhaps the most notoriously bureaucratic airline in the world, let alone the subcontinent.
Please refrain from yelling "Free Eritrea!" at the crew.
When I go to bed at night, I like to sleep under a nice down comforter.
August 8, 2007
Updated: September 19, 2007 - 12:00 AM EDT (Updates in blue)
Following the on-time roll out of the first Dreamliner, the 787 team will be switching gears to prepare the aircraft for its first flight during the early fall of 2007. This page will track the progress of final systems installation and pre-flight testing of ZA001 as it prepares to take to the skies for the first time.
- Last Update May 16, 2007
- Tracked the arrival of all the major 787 components to Everett.
Part 2: Building the Dreamliner
- Last Update July 5, 2007
- Followed the final assembly and roll out to the paint shop
Please enjoy the archive of these posts to provide a great deal of detailed background on how the Dreamliner arrived to this point in its young life.The first two parts in the series are now considered closed and will not be updated.
The 787 will be hooked up to an external computer to simulate every imaginable failure. The aircraft software will take its first flight and will be "fooled" into thinking it is flying.
'Wag the Dog' Test
The flight test team will test and measure the "equal and opposite reaction" of all of the moving parts on the exterior of the aircraft to see the structural effect on Dreamliner One.
High Blow Test
In order to test the pressure seals, the cabin will be pressurized to 14.2 PSI simulating maximum possible pressure inside the aircraft. Note that the 787 will be pressurized to an altitude of 6000 feet versus 8000 feet of aircraft currently in service.
High / Low Speed Taxi Tests
High and low speed taxi tests will demonstrate the integrity of the braking system. This test, at its max speed, will take the aircraft right up to just before V1 speed. This will be the last test before first flight, which historically has taken place on the following day.
Editor's Note: If I have misrepresented any tests or forgotten any, please let me know.
September 9, 2007
Updates from Everett and Charleston
September 4, 2007
Temporary Fasteners Causing Major Problems for 787 Program
August 27, 2007
Updates from Everett and Charleston
August 20, 2007
Boeing faces hurdles, opportunities on the road to an on-time 787 entry into service. Flightblogger coverage in the Seattle Times.
August 10, 2007
According to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Dreamliner One is expected to fly for the first time no earlier than October. The final pieces (section 44 and 46) for the Fatigue Test frame center fuselage arrived in Charleston August 9 from Italy.
August 8, 2007
LCF1 officially returned to Paine Field August 7 after finishing certification testing in Portland. LCF2 completed delivery of sections 45/11 and 43 to Charleston for the fatigue test frame (ZY998) on Aug. 5. and were loaded into the alignment fixture ahead of schedule. LCF2 left Charleston on the morning of Aug. 8 for Italy to pick up section 44 and 46 (ZY998) and is expected to return to CHS Aug. 9. In contrast to LN1 which was delivered as a bare fuselage, LN2 will be "stuffed" with Environmental Control System ducting, insulation and initial electrical work. LN3 will contain even more systems prior to delivery to Everett. Six airframes are expected to be in production in Charleston by October. Trent 1000 engines received airworthiness certification on Aug. 8.
August 3, 2007
LCF2 left Everett the morning of August 3 for Nagoya. It is picking up section 11/45 and 43 for ZA998 (Fatigue Test Frame) . It is heading for Charleston and is due for arrival on Monday. Some systems will be installed on LN003 before shipment as per Boeing's original planning. Shipments for LN002 will take place around August 18th. It appears as though there will be regular flight numbers for the LCF flights as well. Also, the word from the factory floor: "LN9997 is going VERY well. Moving right along. Not quite done. LN1 as of yesterday was finally starting to pick up steam. We have tons of systems waiting to be installed. It will all come with some time. Which we have... we'll be ready as soon as we possibly can."
July 31, 2007
Very little news has come out of Everett in the last ten days regarding the status of Dreamliner One. Systems installation and wiring is proceeding normally. The flight deck, at last check, had not been installed in addition to the engines as well as vertical tail fin. Evergreen crews have assumed full control of the LCFs and are flying training routes with no cargo aboard. Boeing announced that the first flight of the 787 would not take place until the later part of September. Boeing can comfortably begin the flight test program without any impact on entry in to service, which is planned for May of 2008. If the flight test schedule slips to October or beyond, Boeing is prepared to make necessary arrangements to ensure an on-time EIS.
July 21, 2007
LCF1 officially returned to the United States on July 18 in Portland, Oregon where it will undergo final certification tests by the FAA until. It will not fly again until August 2. All parts for the 787 static rig have arrived in Everett and final assembly is underway. The horizontal stabilizer will not be installed on ZY997 and substituted with a pivot joint which will ensure proper testing. This was the same for the 777 program as well. No major assembly components have arrived in Everett since July 11. Assembly of Dreamliner One continues normally toward first flight.
July 18, 2007
Final assembly on LN2/ZA002 is expected to begin in late July. LCF1 is expected to return to Everett after a long stay in Taiwan for final modifications. The first flights using LCF2 under the Evergreen call sign were made on July 17 to train Evergreen crews, as well as relocate shipping fixtures.
July 13, 2007
Further information has expanded on previously known details: The engines, vertical fin, wing leading edge slats, movable trailing edges, horizontal tail leading edge, elevators, passenger doors No.3 and 4 in aft. fuselage, wing to body faring, and landing gear doors have all been removed as structural work system installation continues on the way towards preparing for first flight.
July 12, 2007
Dreamliner One was rolled out of the factory on schedule on July 8, 2007 in Everett, Washington after spending June 26-July 8 in the paint shop across from Building 40-26 where she was assembled. ZA001 was rolled to the 747 assembly line while cleanup in 40-26 occurred. Dreamliner One returned to 40-26 July 9 following the completion of cleanup from the Roll-Out ceremony. Following the return to the factory, LN1 was jacked up again and "a lot of parts have been removed" to make way for systems installations. "A mad dash to first flight is on." There are more than 600 tasks to complete before power on. Currently about 40 tasks are being worked.
LN1/ZA001- RR powered and first to fly
- All major structures in Everett
- Undergoing final assembly, which officially began May 21
- System software v. 6.5 currently being tested. 6.7 to follow shortly.
- Will be entering the paint shop around June 25
- Will be delivered to ANA after refurbishment.
- Major structure assembly is complete and Dreamliner One was brought to the paint shop on the night of June 26. It is expected to remain in the paint shop until around 2pm on 7/8/07.
- Rolled out of 40-26 on the afternoon of July 8.
LN9997/ZY997 - no engines, systems, etc. - Static Test frame, Wing Break Test
- All sections will be "in house and workable" by July 8.
- Wing in production in Japan (photo)
- Section 47 and 48 developed in SC. (photo)
- Section 44 and 46 arrived from Italy April 20.
- Section 43, 45/11 arrived from Japan on May 15.
- Section 43, 45, 44 (photo) /46 delivered to Everett July 3.
- Section 41 delivered to Everett July 3 (Production photo photo, photo 2)
- Tail fin and rudder now in assembly bay in Everett.
- Wings arrived in Everett from Japan on the morning of July 7.
- Section 47/48 arrived in Everett on July 11.
- Currently undergoing assembly in the rear of Building 40-26.
- All fuselage sections have been joined and the wings have been mated.
LN9998/ZY998 - No engines, systems, etc. Fatigue test airframe.
- Section 48 currently in production in SC. (photo)
- Section 45/11, 43 arrived in SC 8/5.
- Section 44 and 46 arrived in SC on 8/9 from Italy.
LN2/ZA002 - RR powered and test flight
- Section 43 and 11/45 arrived in Charleston on June 28.
- Section 44 and 46 arrived in Charleston from Italy on June 26.
- Wing in production in Japan (photo)
- Section 41 currently production in KS. (photo)
- Will be delivered to ANA after refurbishment.
- Final assembly is expected to begin following shipments around 8/18.
LN3/ZA003 - RR powered and test flight
- Section 41 currently production in KS. (photo)
- Sections 43, 45/11, 44, 46 arrived from Italy and Japan on August 18, 19.
- Will be delivered to Northwest after refurbishment.
LN4/ZA004 - RR powered and test flight
- Section 41 currently production in KS. (photo, photo 2)
- Will be delivered to Northwest after refurbishment.
- Section 41 in production in KS. (photo)
LN5/ZA005 - GE powered and test flight
- Section 41 currently production in KS. (photo)
- Will be delivered to Royal Air Maroc after refurbishment.
LN6/ZA006 - GE powered and test flight
- Section 41 currently production in KS. (photo)
- Will be delivered to Royal Air Maroc after refurbishment.
LN7/ZA007 - First to be delivered to ANA.
LN8/ZA008 - First to be delivered to Air China.
August 7, 2007
I had previously posted on the relative regularity of the LCF flights from here on out as they are operated by Everegreen. The flight numbers are fixed and will be consistent. However, not in the way I previously thought. In fact, there is a specific logic and formula to each flight number. Within each flight number lies a great deal of information about the flight. The formula is as follows:
PAE - Snohomish County / Paine Field, Everett, WA
TAR - M.A. Grottag Airport, Grottaglie, Italy
IAB - McConnell AFB, Wichita, KS
CHS- Charleston AFB/International Airport, Charleston, SC
NGO - Chūbu Centrair International Airport, Nagoya, Japan
Here are some examples:
Delivery of section 45/11, 43
Delivery of section 44/46
Delivery of horizontal stabilizer
Delivery of wings
August 6, 2007
Richard Aboulafia generously offered his time to be the subject of the first installment of a new series here at Flightblogger. This series will pose five questions to major aviation industry players to provide a unique view of global air transport.
Aboulafia currently serves as Vice-President of Analysis at the Teal Group Corporation. He is a highly respected member of the aviation industry and his commentary and analysis has appeared in far too many prestigious places to list here. In addition he is a graduate of my alma mater, The George Washington University, and holds a Masters degree in War Studies from King’s College, University of London. Aboulafia's complete biography is available on his website.
Q: What do you think the biggest challenge Boeing faces moving forward with the 787?
A: I think the biggest challenge will be managing the 787 supply chain. It isn't just the huge scope of responsibility entrusted to partners, it's also the unprecedented production numbers. Higher resource prices will only worsen this potential problem.
Q: How should Boeing respond to the A350-1000? Stretch the 787-10 to 350 seats or upgrade the 777-300ER?
A: There's a lot we don't know about the A350. Any further design changes could greatly affect its competitiveness, probably for the better. That metal skeleton might either go away, or be replaced by a composite skeleton. But even with the current A350 design, the -1000 looks like a very respectable player, and Boeing should take it seriously as a competitive threat.
I think Qantas, and perhaps others, are expecting too much from a 787-10. One thing that makes the 787 a great design is that it is optimized for its current range/payload. The price for this optimization is limited growth potential. While a 300-seat 787-10 looks very promising, I think Boeing will introduce an all-new or major derivative 350-400 seat aircraft to replace the 777-300ER, probably around 2017. Given Boeing's likely revenue and profit over the next ten years, there are no financial restraints on Boeing's competitive response.
Q: Will the 737/A320 replacement battle involve only Airbus and Boeing? Or do you think China, Japan, Canada, Brazil will make offerings?
A: I don't think any of these players are in a position to launch a sucessful new narrowbody. Technically, there are few obstacles, but raising the money, getting the product right, selling it, and supporting it are huge challenges. But these players, especially Brazil, might well play a crucial partnership role in making the new Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies happen.
Q: What do you think aviation headlines will look like in 2017?
A: Top Five Headlines in 2017:
"Airbus Board Resolves Dubai-Abu Dhabi Ownership Spat"
"Aeroflot Begins Serving US Domestic Market; Southwest Braces For Competition" "Bombardier Continues CSeries Studies; Launch Possible In 2018"
"Vern Raburn: 'Mistakes Were Made'"
"2017: Year Of The Very Light Jet"
Q: Is there anything thing you wish the industry was talking about that you believe is being ignored right now?
A: I think there are two important long-term trends affecting this industry that the media isn't giving adequate attention. The first is manufacturing globalization, which has made the very idea of a national industry or a national aircraft completely irrelevant. The second is the growing financial power of the oil-rich countries, particularly the Gulf states and Russia. Their government and private capital will transform the world's airline industries, and probably some of the manufacturing business too.
August 5, 2007
Here we go again...L/N 14:
Q: You could remove a word from this airline's name, and be left with the the name of another airline. I don't think their respective crews would get along, though.
A: China Southern
Q: Multiply this one's line number with that of its older sister, and you get the numerical part of the model designation of the airplane whose nose some say resembles the 787's.
A: China Southern
Q: Jinju and Narrabri might not be at the top of your list of future destinations. But combine their codes, rearrange the letters, and you have it!
A: Hainan Airlines
A: Air China
Q: There was a band that was known for wearing giant stove pipe hats on stage at their shows, in the style of Abe Lincoln, after whom they named one of their albums. On that album, they sang a song about a lady with a Vietnamese last name.
The next round...
If John Madden's friend would rearrange the letters in the name of his store, he'd have the initials of this airline.
Finally, a level playing field to compete with their arch-rival!
Some people might misspell this airline's name, but I bet you wouldn't.
Mall record stores wouldn't sell the album as originally titled, so the spelling was reversed to a more acceptable efil4zaggin for them.
August 3, 2007
It appears as though the LCF routes operated by Evergreen (previously BOE632 and BOE876) are going to have consistent flight numbers than previously thought:
PAE-IAB - EIA5104
PAE-NGO - EIA5169
PAE-CHS - EIA5106
PAE-ANC - EIA5109
ANC-NGO - EIA5109
IAB-CHS - EIA5146
CHS-PAE - EIA5169
CHS-TAR - EIA5162
NGO-PAE - EIA5180
TAR-PIK - EIA5127
JFK was used on July 24 as a WX diversion from CHS
PIK-JFK - EIA5127
JFK-PAE - EIA5161
EIA5169 left Everett for Japan at 5:25AM PDT this morning. Anyone know what it's going to pick up? Wings for Dreamliner Two?
August 1, 2007
Dominic Gates penned a spot-on piece in yesterday's Seattle Times. He examined the battle brewing between the Boeing and Airbus on the future of the 350 seat market.
First off, it's worth noting that the fact that these strategic decisions are being made on both sides ultimately validates the two-engine point-to-point strategy. However, Boeing cannot rest on its laurels and current success. Complacency will win them no orders. Boeing owns the 787-8 market (531 orders to date) because a comparison to the A350-800 just doesn't hold up under scrutiny. Its competitor is the -9, not the -8.
Where Airbus actually goes right in their direction is to attack the 777/A340 market. The A350-900 and -1000 are going to go head to head with the 777-200ER and -300ER. The 777 has only been in service for twelve years and the -300ER only flew for the first time in February of 2003. However, this creates a distinctly awkward situation for both plane makers. Airlines currently flying the 777 variants aren't looking to replace them; the market for Airbus here might not be as large as they think. They've made no secret of the fact that the 350 seat market is their target with new customers in Emirates and Qantas. The reason the 787 struck gold was because it hit the market at exactly the right moment to replace aging 767 fleets.
The is extremely awkward for Boeing as well. Boeing is hesitant to commit on the 787-10 for good reasons. First, an early retirement of the -300ER to find a suitable 350 seat replacement doesn't make sense. It's a hugely successful airplane and making a successful hot-selling product (the -300ER) obsolete at this stage by one's own design might not be the best decision. Second, the 787-10 is more in response to the A350-900 than the -1000. A 787-10 would eat into their own 777-200ER market more than the -300ER. It is undoubtedly better to make your own product (-200ER) obsolete than have your competitor do it for you. Most importantly, Boeing isn't sure that an ultra-stretched 787 to 350 seats would produce the same level of efficiency as the shorter models.
Airbus is looking to introduce the three A350 variants one year apart from one another. The -900 is expected to enter service in 2013, followed by the -800 in 2014 and the -1000 the following year. According to Boeing, 787-10 would debut in 2013 a full year before the A350-1000. Boeing does have time to make a decision here, especially based on the fact that both the -900 has to be on time before the -800 or -1000 ever see the light of day. (Remember, the likelihood of seeing an A380-900 is extremely slim.) This is Airbus' chance to redeem themselves after the A380 delays. If they rise to the challenge, and I believe they will out of an existential need, Airbus will have succeeded in eating into the 777 market midway through its life. They did this successfully with the A330 against the 767.
Upgrades and advances in the 777-300ER might be the wisest option ultimately. Increased use of lightweight composites along with engine advances might stave off the threat of the A350-1000 until a full 777 family replacement can come to fruition around 2020. The -10 is the right choice for Boeing, but not for the 350 seat market.
July 28, 2007
This is overdue:
Q: 19th star in the Constellation
Q: Take away the first word in this airline's name, and you will be left with the name of another airline that rose, and fell, and rose, and fell again.
A: China Eastern
Q: This is what you would say when greeting the Chairman of the Board's daughter, using the shortened form of her first name.
A: Hainan Airlines
Q: Add this one's line number to that of its older sister, reverse it, and you have the only uniform number ever retired by Major League Baseball.
A: China Eastern
And now the next round...
Some of these are a bit harder.
You could remove a word from this airline's name, and be left with the the name of another airline. I don't think their respective crews would get along, though.
Multiply this one's line number with that of its older sister, and you get the numerical part of the model designation of the airplane whose nose some say resembles the 787's.
Jinju and Narrabri might not be at the top of your list of future destinations. But combine their codes, rearrange the letters, and you have it!
There was a band that was known for wearing giant stove pipe hats on stage at their shows, in the style of Abe Lincoln, after whom they named one of their albums. On that album, they sang a song about a lady with a Vietnamese last name.