Ready for real life

Starting September 22, the 737 MAX enters a portion of flight testing that will really put the airplane through its paces.

It’s called SROV - which stands for Service Ready Operational Validation. With the help of launch customer Southwest Airlines, we’ll take the MAX to several of the airports in Southwest’s system to simulate the kind of real life things the airplane will encounter on any given day of revenue service.

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The 4th 737 MAX flying near Mt. Rainier.

Using MAX test airplane #4 over a six day period, pilots from Southwest and Boeing will fly routes from Love Field in Dallas to cities including Albuquerque, Denver, Chicago, Austin and Phoenix. Southwest’s maintenance and ground crews at each airport will get hands-on experience, doing everything from towing and fueling the airplane, to conducting fit checks of ground support equipment and performing maintenance.

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MAX #4 at the Farnborough Airshow.

You may remember that we performed SROV activities with the 787 a few years ago, taking the Dreamliner to Japan for similar exercises with ANA. You can get a better idea of exactly what goes on during SROV in this video from 2011.

As I said earlier, SROV is part of flight testing—which in itself is always dynamic. Flight plans filed each day may change for a variety of reasons— from weather, to the simple fact that we decide to run more simulations at a certain airport.

Our goal is to show the MAX is ready to enter service next year as we start delivering the airplane to our customers. And for that—we couldn’t be more excited.

Countdown to 500

The 500th 787 is starting to take shape. The mid and aftbody sections for the milestone airplane were shipped from Boeing South Carolina to our Everett factory last week. The airplane begins final assembly tomorrow. Congratulations to the entire 787 team, and I look forward to seeing this airplane roll out very soon.

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The 500th 787 midbody section is loaded onto a Dreamlifter for transport from Boeing South Carolina to Everett for final assembly. Josh Drake photo.

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The 500th 787 aftbody section. Josh Drake photo.

Trillion dollar market

Greetings from Beijing, where I just unveiled the new Current Market Outlook for China— our 20 year forecast for new airplane demand.

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Media turned out in Beijing today to hear what’s in store for China’s aviation market.

The big headline: China is now the first trillion dollar aviation market in our global forecast, needing more than 6,800 new airplanes over the next two decades.

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737s bound for Chinese customers on the flightline at Boeing Field.

So what are some of the things driving this demand, and why is Boeing so high on the future of this market? I explore that in my latest podcast. Click below to listen.

Pandas on a plane

Our airline customers have come up with some clever liveries over the years. But now, you have the chance to design a livery of your own.

In a contest sponsored by Hainan Airlines, you can log on to design a livery featuring the characters from the Kung Fu Panda movie franchise. The grand prize winner receives a free trip to China— and the winning livery will be painted on one of the airline’s 787-9 Dreamliners. I’m no artist, but you can see my handywork below.

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The contest, which runs through Sept. 30, is open to residents of the United States and Canada. Click here to get started using a design tool developed by Boeing.

Hainan Airlines, based in Haikou, China, is growing its presence in North America, where it serves a number of markets including Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Calgary and Toronto.

Remembering Joe

Today’s passing of the legendary Joe Sutter has touched the entire aviation world. As we look back on the life of the Father of the 747, I wanted to share some of my personal thoughts.

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Here’s Joe posing next to the very first 747, named the “City of Everett.”

I got to know Joe very well during my time on the 747-8 program. His love for the airplane was unsurpassed, but he also cherished the people around him. He was a legend— but he never let it go to his head.

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The father of the 747 poses next to Lufthansa’s new 747-8 in May 2012.

We often joked that Joe never really retired from Boeing. While he was an ambassador for the company, you may be surprised to know that he still came into the office on a regular basis. In what would be one of my last conversations with him just a few weeks ago, we had a long discussion about product strategy.

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Here’s a picture of me and Joe at the delivery ceremony of the first 787 in September of 2011.

Joe’s legacy lives on in the countless people he inspired here at Boeing. He was a true Incredible. I’ll miss his stories, his wit and his vision. But most of all, I’ll miss the man.

 

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