May 2011 Archives

Do you believe in magic?

The Boeing Sky Interior (BSI) has landed on yet another continent. GOL Airlines in Brazil just took delivery of a Next-Generation 737-800 with BSI, becoming the first South American carrier to fly with the new interior. You may remember that GOL was a launch customer for the new interior. The airline’s marketing team says its customers will absolutely know they are flying GOL as soon when they step inside one of their cutting-edge, cost effective airplanes with the new look. Here’s a video of them showing it off in Portuguese.

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GOL Airlines

The Boeing Sky Interior has seen a lot of “firsts” over the past few months. In March, Copa Airlines in Panama became the first carrier in all of Latin America to fly with BSI on its new 737-800.

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Copa Airlines

And just last week, American Airlines took delivery of its first BSI airplane— also a 737-800. It’s an important part of American’s ongoing initiative to modernize the look and feel of its 737 fleet interiors. You can check out their video here.

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American Airlines

With the exception of Antarctica (which doesn’t have a commercial airline), only Africa doesn’t have a carrier with Boeing Sky Interior— and that will change before the end of the year when we deliver to another customer. As the orders keep pouring in, it’s clear that almost all future Next-Generation 737s will have BSI— making it the standard for single-aisle jets. We like to say that BSI is helping airlines and their customers reconnect to the magic of flying. And it’s very clear the magic is spreading all over the globe.

Big in Japan

We’re gearing up for another exciting milestone on the 787 program. In about six weeks, we’ll fly the 787 flight test airplane ZA002 to Japan to conduct a service readiness validation (SROV) with our launch customer ANA.

During the event, the airline’s mechanics and crews will work together with us to simulate in-service operations across several Japanese airports, including Haneda in Tokyo, Osaka (Itami and Kansai), Hiroshima and Okayama. This is an important step to validate all of our training and preparations.

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A beautiful reflection of a beautiful airplane.

This isn’t the first time we’ve taken these kinds of measures to make sure the airplane, the airlines and our services are ready for revenue flights. In fact, Boeing and our customers have conducted these validations on our 777, 737NG and 757-300 programs. We learned a lot from those efforts and know it’s better to identify any minor refinements needed during simulated operations, rather than revenue service.

While entering any new airplane model into service is always challenging, we have an experienced team who is working hard - together with our customers and suppliers - to identify potential issues early on and ensure we have the right resources in place to rapidly respond. Together with the validation, these steps will help ensure a smoother entry into service later this year. The 787 program is closing in on the final stages of flight testing and certification, including the conclusion of certification testing on three of the six flight test airplanes. We have less than 5 percent of flight testing left to complete on the 787s with Rolls-Royce engines.

The 787’s first landing in Japan will be an exciting moment for all of the Boeing employees who have worked hard to develop and build this airplane. We all know it will be big in Japan and the rest of the world.

To learn more about what’s involved with SROV, check out the video below.

Boeing's own rock star

It’s not often that a man who just turned 90 is asked to pose for photos like a rock star. But that’s exactly what happened when Joe Sutter, the father of the 747 and legendary Boeing engineer, recently stopped by the Boeing Archives for a television interview. After the interview wrapped up, the reporter, photographer and even the Boeing media escort all asked Joe to pose for a picture with them. How fitting that the interview was conducted in the Archives, a place where Boeing’s past still lives on and where Joe Sutter’s stamp can be seen in almost every corner.

A few days later, Joe was posing for more pictures and signing copies of his book as the “Joe Sutter Engineering Building” was dedicated in his honor during a special ceremony in Everett. As usual, he modestly told the crowd that he was only part of a great team that brought the 747 program to life.

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Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh (left) congratulates Joe Sutter during a building dedication in Everett.

On a personal note, I had the opportunity to get to know Joe when I worked on the 747-8 program. Believe me when I say that he is indeed the real deal.

Joe officially retired from Boeing back in the mid 80’s, but he’s still giving us plenty of input as a consultant. In fact, he still has an office a few floors up from me and always turns heads when he walks the halls. Congratulations Joe on your recent birthday and the building dedication. You do us all proud.

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Joe Sutter signs copies of his book “747: Creating the World’s First Jumbo Jet and Other Adventures from a Life in Aviation.”

Continuing the tradition

As some of Boeing’s baby boomer workforce approaches retirement, we’re doing everything we can to ensure their wealth of knowledge is passed along to new Boeing employees currently on the job. We’re also looking at where the next generation of workers will come from.

This week, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire announced she’s directing $3 million dollars in federal workforce funds to help develop the skills needed to work in the aerospace industry. That money will help train hundreds of students in Washington state who are pursuing careers in aerospace.

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Governor Gregoire makes her announcement inside the Renton factory with Boeing executives and union leaders.

It’s great news for places like Renton Technical College, the Washington Aerospace Training Center in Everett, and the Inland Northwest Aerospace Technology Center in Spokane. With this funding, they’ll be able to recruit and train students with new equipment. It’s also great news for Boeing as we look for the best and brightest to continue our tradition of excellence. From the new tanker contract to the production rate increases across all of our products, the demand for highly skilled workers has never been greater.

The governor’s announcement came inside our Renton factory, where work just started on a 75,000 square foot building expansion in preparation for our rate increases on the 737 (currently 31.5 a month—- going to 35 airplanes a month later this year and 38 a month in the second quarter of 2013). This will free up space in final assembly and is just part of the plan as we step up in rate. Hundreds of employees will be added to the Renton site.

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Expansion underway in Renton.

We’ll definitely miss our retiring employees who’ve dedicated their lives to Boeing and who stand behind the products they make every day. But by tapping their brains before they leave—and with key investments in the next generation—we look forward to continuing their proud tradition. For more on careers at Boeing, check out our new Facebook page.

777 goes to 7

In addition to delivering on our 747-8 and 787 development programs, one of the most important things we’ll be doing this year is moving forward on our production rate increases. In fact, we’re raising production rates across all product lines by 40 percent in the next three years.

We took an important step recently, rolling out the first Boeing 777 at the 7 per month rate. That freighter will be delivered to FedEx Express in June.

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The first 777 at the new 7 per month rate rolls out of the Everett factory.

This increase ties the highest production rate in the history of the 777 program. Workers on the line have also accomplished this goal three previous times, showing just how strong the demand is for the 777. The program received 46 new orders during the first quarter of 2011, and has a backlog of 280 airplanes.

The 777 team will be called on again late next year when the rate will increase yet again from 7 to 8.3 airplanes per month. It’s the right thing to do for our customers, and I applaud everyone on the 777 team for stepping up to meet the demand.

All around the world

If I ever need a reminder about the demand for our Next-Generation 737, all I have to do is take a walk through the Renton factory. You’ll always find a wide variety of customer logos as you walk the floor. But our 737 team noticed something a few days ago that even caught them by surprise.

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ASIA: Shenzhen Airlines (China).

On that particular week, we were building 737s for airlines from every continent with the exception of Antarctica—and that’s only because Antarctica doesn’t have a commercial airline.

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AUSTRALIA: Virgin Australia.

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NORTH AMERICA: Southwest Airlines.

With 5800 orders and a backlog of over 2000 aircraft, the numbers for the Next-Generation 737 speak for themselves. A big part of the reason the airplane has done well is that we keep making it better. We keep doing things with the engine to improve reliability and maintain costs. And thanks to the Boeing Sky Interior, passengers can enjoy a beautiful ride.

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ASIA/EUROPE: Pegasus Airlines (Turkey).

Over the next 20 years, we’ll see demand for about 31,000 new airplanes. The biggest market will be for single-aisle airplanes. Judging by the looks of the Renton factory last week, it’s safe to say the Next-Generation 737 will keep feeding the appetite for airplanes all around the world for decades to come. Thanks to Jay Culbert on the 737 team for noticing this unique lineup on the floor and thanks to Kristi Moen for snapping all the photos.

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AFRICA: Air Algerie (Algeria).

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SOUTH AMERICA: GOL (Brazil).

Speed of flight

What if somebody came up with a way to save airlines up to 200 pounds of jet fuel each flight and more than 40,000 minutes of flight time on a fleet-wide basis per year?

You’d think that would represent a substantial savings for the environment as well as for an airline’s bottom line!

Well, somebody did come up with a way to do this. It’s called Boeing Inflight Optimization. In the latest issue of Boeing AERO magazine - now online - we’ve posted a great article detailing just how this works.

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Click on the image to go directly to the latest edition of AERO.

Two products - Direct Routes and Wind Updates - are part of a suite of tools developed by Boeing Flight Services - designed to help airlines really increase their fuel and flight efficiency. Direct Routes service is currently available in the continental U.S. Wind Updates is being implemented worldwide.

Fuel is a huge piece of an airline’s operating cost - in fact it can be up to 30% of the annual operating budget. We’ve calculated that airlines can use something like 10% more fuel than is necessary because of inefficiencies in the system.

As you’ll see in the article, shaving even small slices of fuel usage (and flight time) on each and every flight can add up to pretty big fleet-wide savings.

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Boeing’s Direct Routes product optimizes flights by providing reroute opportunities with at least one minute of time savings.

Boeing has captured the technology to provide real-time “actionable” advisories based on air traffic, the airplane’s flight path, weather and other factors - specific to individual airlines for both Boeing and non-Boeing fleets.

I won’t go into all the details - you can check it out in the article - but it works by monitoring each flight’s progress and continuously looking for opportunities for efficiency.

What’s great about these products is, for our customers who operate up-to-date airplanes, there’s no new equipment needed and no new training or regulatory changes. It works within current air traffic and airline operating procedures.

The idea is, with this up-to-the-second data, airline ops and flight crews can immediately identify more direct routing to their destinations and make adjustments to weather conditions, saving time and fuel.

That’s what you might call optimization at the speed of flight - and we think this is a very exciting business to be in.

The "ultimate" test

Back when I first started at Boeing as a flight test engineer, I gave my brother a framed photo of the 747-200 going through one of the most challenging (and nothing short of spectacular) certification tests you can imagine. That test is called the ultimate Rejected Takeoff (RTO). It’s very rare that we release video of that test, but we’re doing just that to show why it’s so important—and to demonstrate how well the 747-8 Freighter fared.

We basically loaded the Freighter above its maximum takeoff weight, put on a set of 100 percent worn out brakes, and sent it rolling down the runway weighing in at close to one million pounds. Then with the airplane traveling at 200 miles per hour, the pilot is called on to stop without using the thrust reversers. The 747-8 Freighter stopped well short of the target, beating expectations by more than 700 feet.

What happened next was also expected—the brakes start spitting out smoke as they glowed a bright orange. As part of the test, the airplane must sit unassisted for five minutes before fire crews move in. By design, special fuse plugs in the tires were activated, deflating the tires before they exploded. Again, everything went off just as planned.

In this test and all the tests we do, the goal is to push the airplane to its limit to ensure its safety. I invite you to check out the video below for yourself to get a glimpse into something you won’t see very often.

Everything's gone green

We thought the new Sunrise livery for the 747-8 Intercontinental was a head turner. But when it comes to liveries, S7 Airlines in Russia may have one of the most eye catching you’ll ever see. Their new Next-Generation 737-800 was certainly easy to spot as it left Boeing Field last week decked out in green with the airline’s red logo.

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S7’s 737-800 takes off at Boeing Field.

The occasion was special for Boeing, marking the first 737-800 delivery to Russia directly from our production line. This is the first of 10 Next-Generation 737-800 airplanes that S7 has ordered. The airline will receive its second airplane next month.

The airline has also posted a time-lapse video showing each step of the production process— including the final paint job on their new airplane. Check it out here.

For all you foodies

DATELINE: Buenos Aires

Greetings from Argentina where I’m wrapping up some market updates for Latin America. As many of you know, I’m a foodie by heart. My recent business travel across Latin America, Europe and Asia allowed me to sample some amazing new dishes— as well as some twists on my old favorites. As you’ll see from the pictures and descriptions below, I had a blast eating my way around the globe. Enjoy!

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Brazilian churrasco at Fogo de Chao in Sao Paulo.

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Bacon and Blue Cheese Burger in Dublin. Talk about a mouthful!

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Morning Glory with Garlic and Chilies in Thailand.

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3 types of Sausage with Sauerkraut in Berlin.

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Steamed Fish with Lemongrass in Thailand served on a fish-shaped platter.

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Durian Chips.. not a favorite of everyone. Click on the photo to see a hilarious video that explains why.

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Dessert Time! The BEST Bread and Butter Pudding in Dublin.

 

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