August 2011 Archives

Meet the MAX

It may have been one of the best kept secrets in Boeing history. I’m still amazed we managed to keep the name 737 MAX under wraps until our official unveiling at today’s press conference. The members of our new family of aircraft, the 737 MAX 7, 737 MAX 8 and 737 MAX 9 (for the record, there’s no dash), made their debut. While the name MAX and the new Boeing livery are grabbing headlines, it’s the performance we expect from this airplane that has me excited.


The 737 MAX is unveiled at today’s press conference.

We’re offering our customers an airplane that will have a 7% lower operating cost than the A320 neo. The 737 MAX’s fuel burn is also expected be 16% lower than what the competition is offering right now— and 4% lower than what they’ll be selling in a few years.

Combine the MAX fuel savings with MAX reliability and MAX passenger appeal with the Boeing Sky Interior—and you have a triple threat that simply won’t be beat in its single-aisle market segment.


Posing with the newest member of our airplane family.


An interview inside the 737 Boeing Sky Interior mockup with aviation reporter Glenn Farley from Seattle’s KING 5 TV.

Our decision to go with a new engine family of airplanes instead of an all-new small airplane actually benefits Boeing in several ways. With a smaller work statement on the 737 MAX, it opens up more opportunities to do things around the wide-body market—whether it be a new version of the 787 or to make improvements with the 777.


The 737 MAX 9.

Today’s Next-Generation 737 is already heads above the competition and getting better almost every day. With the 737 MAX, we’ve set the bar much higher. Order commitments for 496 airplanes from five airlines speak louder than any words today.


A 737 MAX family portrait.

By the way, the name 737 MAX has definitely created a buzz out there in the world of social media. It reminds me of the feedback we got after unveiling the new livery for the 747-8 Intercontinental. While some people loved the Sunrise red and orange colors, others wished we’d stuck to something more traditional. So, here’s your chance to weigh in on the MAX—the name, the livery, the performance benefits, its market position—whatever you like. Feel free to leave your thoughts in our comments section below, and also check out a video I took part in showcasing our new family member.

The Dream is Certified

Well, 787 fans and friends, today was one for the history books. I wouldn’t have missed what turned out to be a beautiful sunny day in Everett. With government officials to my left and company leaders to my right, customers in front of me and a sea of Boeing teammates behind me, I watched as FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt handed over two pieces of paper that literally open the door to our future. The Type Certificate and amended Production Certificate for the Dreamliner authorize us to begin delivering airplanes. Those pieces of paper show we’ve met a rigorous set of requirements and proven the 787 is safe and ready to enter revenue service.


The original Dreamliner made the perfect backdrop for today’s certification ceremony in Everett.

We’ve only certified a total of 11 all-new jetliners in the history of our company. It’s another in a series of events that make up the 787 chain of memories I reflect on every now and then.

Our authority to offer event in 2003 at the Washington State Convention Center certainly set a tone for us. It was clear that the level of interest in this program would be unlike anything we had ever experienced. And, it was clear that this would take the concerted efforts of supporters - from the local, state and federal government; from international suppliers; and from the incomparable Boeing team to turn this offering into a reality.


Flags with the logos of every Dreamliner customer were marched through the crowd at today’s event.

Just a few months later, we gathered again to celebrate the launch of the program. In an empty factory in Everett we shined flashlights to commemorate ANA’s historic order. I can’t say enough about what a terrific partner ANA has been to Boeing from that day to this. They’ve been bold leaders in our industry and our respect for them is immeasurable. Today that factory is a hive of activity - the site of 787 Final Assembly.


FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt (right) presented Capt. Mike Carriker, 787 chief pilot (center), and Mike Sinnett, 787 vice president and chief project engineer, with the U.S. Type Certificate.

The orders came slowly at first. Then, like a steady drum beat, we broke records. I vividly remember an early morning wake up call while I was traveling in Asia to tell me about the ANA order.

On July 8, 2007 (yes it was 7/8/07) we gathered again in Everett to celebrate the rollout of the 787. It was my daughter’s birthday, so we had a lot to celebrate that day. At no other time has the international appeal of this airplane been so tangible. From the video screens that showed live celebrations in Italy, Japan and South Carolina, to the colorful uniforms of our customers’ flight attendants, it was clear we had a global success on our hands.

Of course, nothing ever beats the emotion of first flight. Dec. 15, 2009, may have been a rainy day in Seattle but our spirits soared with Capt. Mike Carriker as he took ZA001 into the air, where it belonged. He said after landing that he wished he could have taken all of us with him. In some ways he did. We were all glued to our computers watching the progress of his flight and waiting for landing so we could cheer him on as he emerged from the airplane, arms raised in spontaneous celebration.


Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, speaks to the crowd.

And now, we add another link to the chain. Certification brings to a close the most thorough, robust testing and validation effort ever conducted here at Boeing. That happens with every new airplane as we and the regulators constantly up the ante for requirements - that’s how we keep our standards high.

The great thing about this chain of memories is that it’s still just barely started. First delivery is just around the corner. We announced today that it will occur on September 26 and that we’ll use a host of digital tools to make sure everyone can share the excitement. And we still have lots of deliveries and milestones in the future.


The second 787 Dreamliner, ZA002, made a special fly-by to kick off the 787 certification event.

Thanks for coming along with me on this trip down memory lane and for being with us as we’ve worked our way through the 787 program. Scott Fancher always reminds the team that it’s not easy making history— and he’s right. It’s not easy, but it sure is fun!

From Montana to Moscow

I guess you could really call this post “How I spent my Summer Vacation.” As you know, there’s been a flurry of activity here at Boeing this summer. So while there’s a brief lull in the action, I wanted to share some of my travels for work and play.

Since I grew up in Kalispell, Montana, I always love to take my family back to the shores of Ashley Lake each summer where we’ve created some great memories.


Beautiful shot from Ashley Lake, Montana.

Besides spending a lot of time in and around the water, I was able to take in a little golf. I actually surprised myself by putting the ball on the green on the first stroke off a Par 3, 196 yard hole. As you can see in the photo, my brother, Loren, had similar luck. Unfortunately, we both missed our birdie putts.


A little luck on the links.

After spending a bit more than a week in Montana—I flew out for Moscow, Russia and the Moscow Air Show. That’s where the first 787 Dreamliner paid a visit and once again turned heads. I was able to spend quite a bit of time with 787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker—who has logged more than 1000 hours in the air on board the Dreamliner. With certification of the airplane now planned for this Friday, he couldn’t have been more proud.


The 787 Dreamliner at the Moscow Air Show.

During the air show, I also unveiled our Current Market Outlook for Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. We’re forecasting the region will need just over 1000 new airplanes over the next 20 years valued at $110 billion. Most of that demand will come as airlines retire older members of their fleet and invest in newer, more fuel-efficient models.


A packed house at the Boeing press conference in Moscow.

It really was amazing to see the high level of interest from the Russian media. At the Boeing news conference, the place was packed with reporters and photographers from wall to wall. With an increase in the number of people flying within Russia.. as well as people coming and going.. it’s no wonder we expect air traffic for the region to grow by 4.3 percent on average. The Moscow Air Show was an important event for a market that continues to develop and grow.


Getting the 787 simulator ready for customers and the media.

While in Russia, I managed to take in some of the tourist sites. The Kremlin was actually just across the way from my hotel and made for the perfect site for a bike ride.


A great day for a bicycle ride near the Kremlin.

And just to prove that I do manage to eat healthy while on the road (I’ll admit the cheese soufflĂ© from my post last month in Sydney was more decadent than healthy) I’ll leave you with a picture of a very tasty salad I had in Moscow packed with just about every vegetable imaginable. Thanks to Moscow—and Montana—for a memorable summer.


A whopper of a salad!

Countdown to Cargolux

Talk about a great way to end the week. The 747-8 Freighter continues the race toward first delivery with today’s news that it’s now certified for entry into service by both the FAA and European Aviation Safety Agency.

After logging more than 3,400 hours of flight testing, the airplane has received two certificates showing that it’s safe and reliable—and that our 747 production system is doing everything right to keep the airplane rolling out of the factory. With this certification, the program is in the final stages of preparing to deliver the first 747-8 Freighter to launch customer Cargolux early next month.


A 747-8 Freighter painted in Cargolux livery.

To show you just how proud our 747 team is of this accomplishment, I wanted to share a story from a colleague. Earlier this week, more than 100 Boeing employees representing just about every program and department at BCA (including the 747)— had the chance to ride on a test flight of a 747-8 Intercontinental (which I’m happy to say is on track to wrap up its own testing this fall). They got to interact with the pilots who’ve flown both the Freighter and Intercontinental, and to see how their hard work on the ground is paying off in the skies. And it wasn’t just the 747 employees who were beaming. Every Boeing employee on board, some who’d been on the waiting list to get on a test flight for years, realized it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity they won’t soon forget.


Boeing employees board a 747-8 Intercontinental test flight this week.

We’re making a lot of memories this year—with many more to come. Congratulations to the 747 team on another milestone.


The 747-8 Freighter over Mt. Rainier during its first flight, Feb. 8, 2010.

Over and Done!

MOSCOW — Hello from Russia where good news travels fast. I’ve spent the past few days at the Moscow Air Show where the first 787 Dreamliner has been on display. As that airplane continues to turn heads, we received word about one more big check mark for the 787 program. We’ve completed all the flight testing required for certification of the 787-8 with Rolls-Royce engines. The last flight this past Saturday wrapped up the Function & Reliability testing that we started last month. This brings us another step closer to certification and first delivery.


ZA102, the ninth 787 to be built, touches down in Everett this past weekend.

787 Chief Pilot Mike Carriker is here with me in Russia after flying the first 787 over for the air show. I can tell you he is smiling ear to ear. Before coming to Russia, he actually flew the 787 that wrapped up flight testing in Everett (ZA102). He says it performed admirably in this last phase of flight test - just as it has since its first flight.


Scott Fancher (left), vice president and general manager of the 787 program; Mike Carriker, chief pilot for the 787 program, and Mike Sinnett, vice president and chief project engineer for the 787, celebrate completion of the last 787 flight test required for certification.

We still need to get through the certification of the 787-8 with GE engines. In addition, there are some Boeing test conditions that we still want to fly; we have engine improvement packages coming that will require some more flight tests; every 787 that gets delivered will need to go through initial tests; and the 787-9 is just around the corner. The skies above Washington state will be busy with 787s for years to come. But for now— let’s celebrate this huge accomplishment.

Click here to see video highlights of 787 flight testing.

The WOW Factor

Our 777 team is about to become even busier than they already are. Cathay Pacific just ordered eight 777 Freighters and four 777-300ERs. Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines agreed to order eight 777-300ERs (we look forward to finalizing the details of that agreement). We also picked up seven 777 orders that will go unidentified at this point. So far this year, we’ve received orders and commitments for more than 100 777s— a very impressive figure that speaks to the popularity of this market-leading airplane.


A view of the 777 factory in Everett. Photo by Gail Hanusa.

As the 777 program prepares for its next rate increase in 2013 to 8.3 airplanes per month, they’ve done something that made a lot of people say “WOW.” In this case, WOW also stands for “Weight on Wheels.” That’s when more than half a million pounds rests on the airplane’s landing gear as the airplane’s three main sections are attached. Recently, while working on the 945th 777, the team managed to attach those three main sections along with the landing gear in only 24 hours! Previously, it took more than 60 hours to finish that job.


Steven Kwok installs fasteners under a 777-300ER. Photo by Gail Hanusa.

Because the 777 is built on a moving production line and can’t move forward until the join is complete—this new method improves productivity while maintaining first time quality. Program leaders credit the team of final body join workers for the milestone that was four years in the making—with each step being closely analyzed.

Congratulations to the entire 777 team for an accomplishment that many never thought possible. To see how they did it, check out the time lapse video below.

Working for the weekend

It was a very busy weekend at Boeing as we got to show off some of our new airplanes. The very first Dreamliner that will enter service rolled out of the paint hangar in Everett on Saturday— sporting a special livery that’s definitely a head turner.


Sparkling in the summer sun.

The paint scheme will be featured on ANA’s first two 787s and was designed to signify the core elements of their service brand - innovation, uniqueness and the inspiration of modern Japan. ANA decided to paint a giant 787 at the front of the airplane in honor of being the first airline to fly the Dreamliner. You may have seen photos of this livery from news coverage of the Paris Air Show—but nothing beats seeing it on a real airplane on a sunny day. For a 360 degree view, click here.


Proud to fly the first Dreamliner.

For the first time, media also got to see a 787 interior that was fully decked out. This particular airplane will be used for ANA’s short-haul flights within Japan.


Reporters check out the seats in business class.

Reporters were able to try out the comfortable seats in both business class and economy. And everyone got a kick out of the touch pad window controls that allow you to brighten or dim the window automatically—no shade to pull up and down.


The scene in economy.


Keeping the glare out, even on a sunny day.

Check out this toilet with a view! Several photographers snapped pictures of one of the lavatories that has its own window.


A toilet with a view!

On Sunday, one of the 747-8 Freighters flew over Lake Washington as part of the Boeing Air Show during Seafair. The Queen of the Skies drew a lot of oohs and aahs as she flew by. It’s always amazing to see how something so big flies so gracefully.


The 747-8 Freighter at Seafair with the Seattle skyline in the background. Photo by Leo Dejillas.


A view of the 747-8 Freighter from the ground. Photo by Debbie Hanford.

While a lot of our team was busy working for the weekend—things will only get more exciting around here as we approach first deliveries for both of these beautiful airplanes.

Take the long way home

At first glance, it looks like something a young aviation buff might have created with Etch A Sketch (for those of us who actually remember Etch A Sketch). Using perhaps the most creative flight plan ever drawn up, the 747-8 Freighter successfully completed its certification flight test program early this morning.


A giant 747 marks a milestone flight. Image from FlightAware.

As you can see on this map from FlightAware, one of the two airplanes (RC523) that flew in the final day of flight testing carved a giant 747 across the country as it completed function & reliability (F&R) testing. The flight took the airplane over 15 states and lasted some 17 hours, landing in Everett a few minutes after midnight this morning. Kudos to the Boeing Test and Evaluation team for dreaming this flight plan up that really does take the long way home. It’s a great tribute to the hard work everyone has done to reach this point.


RC523 at Paine Field after completing a 17 hour flight.

Meanwhile, flight test airplane RC522 completed testing of the flight management computer (FMC).

The 747-8 Freighter has flown more than 1,200 flights and 3,400 hours since its first flight in February of 2010. After the FAA certifies the airplane, the first 747-8 Freighter is scheduled to be delivered to launch customer Cargolux in September.

This has been an incredible week for the 747-8 and 787 programs. On back to back days, they both announced important milestones on the way to first delivery. We’re in the home stretch and can’t wait to reach the finish line. Click here to see a video that shows how the 747-8 Freighter got to this point.

Topping out on ETOPS

One final set of testing down—one to go. The 787 team is celebrating another major accomplishment. This past Sunday during the flight of ZA102 (the ninth 787 to be built), the program completed its extended operations (ETOPS) flight demonstrations. Just last week, that same airplane flew the longest 787 flight to date at just over 18 hours. This wraps up the planned ETOPS testing required before first delivery to ANA later this quarter.


ETOPS testing on ZA102 wrapped up Sunday. Photo by Leo Dejillas.

Following a minor software modification next year, the Dreamliner will be qualified for 330 minutes of ETOPS capability—meaning it can fly five and a half hours away from an alternate airport.

Now that our planned ETOPS testing is in the books, the team will spend the next few weeks finishing Function & Reliability (F&R) demonstrations that lead up to initial Type Certification of the 787 with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. The final step will be to submit our paperwork to the FAA. Congratulations to the team!


More posts