The beat goes on

As you may have heard, we’ve begun assembly on the 1,000th Boeing 767.

It’s a significant milestone, and a proud moment for the entire team in Everett. This 1,000th airplane is a 767-300ER (extended range) passenger model. ANA is scheduled to take delivery of the airplane in February 2011.

Major assembly got underway this week with the loading of the wing spar into the assembly tool - the structure that runs through the full length of the airplane’s wing.

We’ve put together a behind-the-scenes video that depicts where we’ve been and where we’re going on the 767 program. I think you’ll enjoy it:

We’ve also just posted a brief clip featuring some 767 tributes we’ve received via Twitter.

By the way, 767 final assembly is getting set to move from its home in the 40-24 building to a new final assembly bay across the aisle in the 40-32 building.

Several pieces of tooling have already been moved and construction continues to prepare the new final assembly bay, including a new hangar door so the 767 can roll out of the 40-32 on its way to the paint hangar and the Everett Delivery Center for flight test.

image/photo

“A thousand reasons to celebrate,” as this banner reads. Not only a milestone airplane, but a move for the program to a new area of the factory.

The program’s new footprint will be about 40% of the size of the current 767 assembly area, but still large enough for final assembly of two 767s, either passenger or freighter airplanes, nose to door.

Of course, the 767 is also the platform for the NewGen Tanker if Boeing wins the U.S. Air Force KC-X Tanker competition - and the new bay is equipped to handle the job.

So, for this great airplane program the beat very definitely goes on. Early in my career when I was working in the Flight Test organization I had the chance to see the first 767 land at Boeing field. As I recall it was designated VA001.

My guess is that I won’t be seeing the last 767 fly away. At least not before I retire.

Comments (9)

Jun Leido (Manila, Philippines):

Way To Go 767!!!

Congratulations to the Boeing professionals and Worldwide partners who come together and make this plane possible. It's a great aircraft, bar none. Even with the 787 around, it's still an exceptional airframe.

I wish it can be given:

1. New Engines - like a bleed-version of the GEnx.
2. New Wings - like in the 747, an evolutionary design, not a totally new one.
3. New Flight Deck, that makes it common to the 747-8, 777 and 787.

In today's "super-size me" world, the cabin of the 767 still presents a welcoming and comfortable way to travel. Sure, the A330 has more seats but some times the economics will never render passenger comfort.

But hey - I'm not contradicting myself on cabin space, as I still picked the 737 over the A320. They're mission and flights are different. We fly on 737 on short trips, where price gives way to comfort. Hence, a bigger capacity and more efficient plane is better since it allows the airline to make competitive rates. But on trips 4+ hours, the 7 abreast 767 will be more passenger friendly than the 8-abreast, wall in your face A330.

It's not yet late to give these bird another boost.

TC (Mt. Vernon, WA):

When the 767 came out, it struck me as a perfect size, between the single aisle aircraft and the big widebodies.

The series 767-300ER has sold 566, beating the 747-400 at 442, and the 777-300ER at 432. Also the 767-300-ER looks like the record for longest run of deliveries, beating the 757-200 and 737-200, at more than 22 years so far. Great design speaks for itself.

Ed (Dublin, Ireland):

I always loved the 767, its the only widebody other than the A330 that sees regular passenger service at my local Airport (Dublin / DUB).

Im surprized that the 767-400 did not achieve more sales.

Blaine Harris (Seattle):

Thank you for including a link this time that goes with the title of your blog. I'm a music junkie as well and it is one of the reasons I read your blog.

I love the fact that your blog is not only informative as to what is going on in Boeing but that you make it fun to read by using lyrics from songs in your blog titles to describe what is going on. Keep it up!

Thomas Horstmann (Portland, Oregon):

As an avid fan of the 767 for so many reasons, I am glad to see it hit the 1000 mark. What an amazing achievement for Boeing and everythone who has been associated with that aircraft over the years. In my travels throughout the World, I would always choose a 767 over the 330 anytime. If for no other reason, I rather have a pilot in control than a computer.

Ed (dublin, ireland):

Thomas, I take it you don't like the 777 or 787 then? They have full fly by wire systems. The systems on the A330 are being introduced on all modern airliner designs. Its also possible to turn the envelope protection completely off in the Airbus. In fact I believe that there are seven settings, ranging from fully on to fully off.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

Though the 787 will eventually replace the 767, I can see the 767 in production as an airliner and tanker aircraft for years still to come. Congrats on 1000, success through quality equals quantity with quality.

Chris C (South Africa):

The 767 is truly a great airplane, as I've even highlighted here: http://www.fleetbuzzeditorial.com/2009/12/01/767-history/

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

It still the Number 1 on the North Atlantic? Certainly a trail blazer with regards ETOPs operations. 1,000 is a great number -- and another for the 7Series.

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