Straight on

By now you’ve seen the news about the target for first delivery of the 787.

As you know, we said earlier this summer that it was possible that our first 787 delivery could move a few weeks into 2011. The reason was a combined impact of several issues unrelated to the airplane’s performance in flight test. Then, just recently, Rolls-Royce experienced some engine availability challenges.

The cumulative impact of this new issue, on top of the other issues, has led to our revising our expected timing for first delivery by a few weeks - to mid-first quarter next year.

image/photo

ZA001 and the 787 program continue to fly straight on toward first delivery.

Fortunately, as the program awaits a substitute engine from Rolls-Royce and we work with them to address the contributing factors in the test incident, our flight testing across the program continues at a healthy pace. We recently completed polar navigation and autopilot testing, and wet runway landing demonstrations.

We’ve said it before: Building a new airplane is hard work. But the certification and entry into service has to be right. And that’s what the team is focused on today and every day.

Clearly first delivery will be a great event when it happens because we’ll know that the airplane we’re presenting to our customer is safe, efficient and reliable.

In the big picture, the date of the event is much less important than the thoroughness of the process that gets us there.

Comments (22)

Jerry1t:

Randy,

Of course we have to agree with you in terms of the big picture. We are all wishing this plane success and good luck.

Its been a bumpy ride and a frustrating one and the sooner it gets to the finish line, the sooner the frustration will come to an end. After so many delays and postponements we begin to anticipate them and wonder if more lie ahead.

Our fingers are crossed that test plane six will manage to get up in the air with the appropriate engine and help the other five get through the certification process.

Chris C (South Africa):

The 787 Dreamliner is, without question, the most technologically advanced commercial airplane ever, period.

What remains firm is that these delays are unrelated to the airplane’s performance, and by all accounts, the Dreamliner is an aerodynamic marvel.

Clearly, when the super-efficient 787 is delivered to customers, it’ll be a mature, thoroughbred commercial airliner that’ll revolutionise air-travel the way it was intended when the program was launched.

In Boeing’s true style of market leading innovation and market-preferred products, the 787 will be the icon of the 21st-century and lead Boeing into an even stronger, market domineering position.

But, I sincerely hope that this delay in the 787 program will not directly impact onto the already compressed 747-8F flight-test/delivery targets! I see no reason as to why this delay will affect the 747-8F program directly, and further, I’d expect the -8F to be delivered ahead of the 787 now.

Who would've guessed in 2007 that the 787 would only deliver in 2011! Best of success to deliver the 787 on the new revised schedule. I'm sure this time it'll be the final delivery delay.

Jim Hasstedt (Everett, WA, USA):

Let's just hope that the next new airplane program schedule is based on realistic predictions of the technical experts in the working ranks instead of wishful expectations of executive managers.

Dreams often lead to reality, but not necessarily when or as dreamed.

Nelson (Mesa, AZ):

Wasn't GE also working on a 787 engine? What happened to that?

Sachin Galgalikar (Everett, WA):

I thought airplane six was to fly with GE engines so how does the Rolls Royce delay affect it's flight test program?

Donald Bykonen (Auburn, Wa.):

Would like to see 787 fly with Pratt Whitney engines why not?

Tim kilinskas (Ont. Canada):

That's the straw that broke the camel's back. The 787 is a disgrace to engineering. Anything and everything that could go wrong has happened with this plane. So much for super computers and special software, whats wrong with today's engineers?

Years ago engineers with slide rulers and good old fashioned pencial and paper never created these types of delays or problems. Three years behind schedule and still counting, WOW...

John V. (PA):


Randy,

Unfortunately Boeing will have to delay the delivery for few months but this is NOT Boeing's issue but the engine makers. However, I rather fly safe ...
I also believe the public and the media need to focus more on SAFETY rather than the delay issue.
Let's build the best airplane regardless how long it take.
Thank you Boeing and all the people who build the best airplanes.

Bob (Kona, Hawaii):

Sorry Boeing,

I'm trying to cheer for you, but this is just one too many! I don't want this to happen, but I think you will continue to see loss of orders, and in fact a spill over into the 747-8 program.......just too many problems over and over and over again. When the A380 was having problems (mild now compared to this) I was saying, "not going to happen with Boeing". A bit embarrassing for U.S. engineering.

Vero Venia (Montreal, Canada):

Let us not forget that the 757 is out of production and the 767 will leave the commercial market very soon. The A300 and A310 are out of production.
The market for the 787 sized aircraft is huge.
The issue is about cash flow. Each delay has an important financial impact.
There is no doubt the 787 will generate hefty profit. But today the situation is not brilliant.

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

When engineers used slide rules with pencil and paper to design airplanes, they didn't have to deal with the performance sought by airlines these days. For example, the 747-200 didn't have the range to make JFK-NRT non-stop, and that's why an SP version with a shortened fuselage was made. The improvement since then in engine efficiency and aerodynamic refinements have been truly remarkable--profitable nonstop flights for JFK-NRT, HKG, etc., once thought beyond the technological limit, have been flown regularly since early-mid 90's. Now the airlines want to fly even longer distances with even lower cost per passenger/mile. The only answer is a revolutionary approach to combine (nearly) all composite airframe and even more efficient engines. It is not fair to label the 787 and its developers a disgrace to engineering.

Tom (Germany):

Randy,

fine wording....

Anyhow the test fleet is complete as far as RR is concerned... but someone - not Boeing - is saying that ZA007 (the first ANA 787) and ZA009 are needed for ETOPS tests (which contradicts to the BCA 787 test site).
What are the planned delivery dates for RR? Did Boeing change these dates?

Performance... what is the definition of performance for an engeneeer?

BTW: My 2009 estimate was that ANA will make the first revenue flight in the first quarter of 2011!

Perhaps I will be right! Good luck!!!

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

From the rumors out in the blogosphere it is not a surprise but at least a few weeks after the new year is not very far off.

Tom (Germany):

Randy,

fine wording....

BCA's 787 internet page only lists 6 a/cs for testing - now your boss says - according to flight global - that aircraft Nr 9 is needed for ETOPS and other tests?
RR certified the Trent 1000 in 2008 - as promised.

OK - Friday annoucements are always ... how do you call them, if they are sent from DC or Airbus?

BA Investor (New York, N.Y.):

Randy,

There is some confusion over the contradictory reports coming from Rolls Royce and Boeing as to the cause for the engine delays. Rolls Royce is blaming Boeing for schedule requirements and Boeing indicates it has to do with availabilty.

I suppose the reasons are multileved and what really counts is that they will be solved and more delays will not incurred.

Engine problems are not minor factors and even have bearing on certifiction and production schedules.

As in the past with the stabilizers, these issues are not clarified by Boeing and it leaves many of us wondering what further news lies around the corner. It would be helpful if you could give better guidance and some specificity as to its impact.

Gary Hill (Saint Louis, MO):

Hopefully, we are continuing production so that future deliveries are not impacted by this up-front issue. Can we stack up airplanes awaiting engines?

Alessandro (European Union.):

Mr Bakr CEO of Qatar Airways said, -"Boeing is run by lawyers and accountants".
I think Boeing have to rethink their strategy and learn not to promise too much in the future, it´ll only backfire like the B748 and B787 programmes has.

Mark Robinson (New York):

I love Boeing. Pity we still are waiting for something to compete with A380....
.............
Dealer Marketing

Tom DePew (Lewisville, Texas):

I appreciate the fact that Boeing wants to get it right, safety comes first, etc... One can only trot that out so many times before it becomes a bit tired sounding. One way to look at it is that Rolls Royce had an extra two years to get it right already.

Regardless, I am very excited about the entire program and airplane. I look forward to ANA taking the first one to the skies! It will be a great day.

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Many things will have been learnt by Boeing by the time the first 787 flies with ANA. My question is will the 787 experience have shook Boeing's outsourcing model --- or in the very least focused Boeing's attention on the need to have a little more Boeing culture, employees and expertise with foreign suppliers. Get quality control checks further out before they jam Everett & North Charleston.

Good luck though. It will be a fantastic plane.

Robert A (Boston, MA):

Randy, Could you comment on why ZA006 has yet to join the test fleet? Is GE also delayed with the GENx or is there some other reason for that plane not being completed and in test?

Also, could you comment on the rate of delivery expected in 2011 - total expected, ramp rate. etc.? When I toured the Everett facility last month there were many "completed" 787s on the tarmac. Are they simply awaiting certification before can they be delivered to customers or do they have unfinished work?

BTW, it was quite interesting to see the difference in the 747, 777 and 787 production lines.

Thanks for the insights - can't wait to fly on the 787!

Hugh Coleman (Kelso, WA USA):

The work Boeing engineers did with slide rules often never went further than the paper it was written on. Today as then the engineers are not the only things or ones that determine schedule. The number of engineers and their budget is a factor, the amount the customers are willing to pay for what they are getting and their schedule priorities are factors. Boeing has a reputation for delivering progress, technical competence, and safe products. What the customers already know and have seen of the B-787 and B-747-8 will be well reinforced when they start using these planes. Sincerely, Hugh Coleman

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