March 2012 Archives

Mr. 1K

When we celebrated the 1,000th 777 earlier this month, there was another milestone that didn’t get much attention. But when I heard the story behind it, I had to share it with you.

Boeing employee Dick Bender seems to have special relationship with the number 1,000. His job is to sign the certificate of airworthiness on our airplanes. He did just that for the 1,000th 777—as well as the 1,000th 747 in 1993 and the 1,000th 767 in 2011.

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Here’s Dick posing next to the 1,000th 777 for Emirates.

Bender joined Boeing in 1957 and guesses that he’s signed the final delivery document for a couple hundred airplanes. When his co-workers discovered that he’d signed for the 1,000th 747, they gave him the honor of signing the 1,000th 767’s final paperwork. So it was only fitting that he sign the 1,000th 777 paperwork too.

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Congratulations to Dick for being a part of Boeing history three times.

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Rollout of the 1000th 767 - February 2011.

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The 1000th 747 delivered to Singapore Airlines in October of 1993. Photo courtesy Singapore Airlines.

Over the Andes

SANTIAGO - We saved the best for last during our time here at the FIDAE Air Show in Chile. All eyes were on the 787 today as the airplane took off for a demo flight. I wanted to share some of the images from the flight over the gorgeous Andes.

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The 787 gets ready for its demo flight.

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Over the Andes.

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The 787’s Rolls-Royce engines. LAN will use RR engines on its fleet.

I’m proud to say that this was yet another show where the 787 was the star attraction. Hundreds of customers and journalists got the chance to come aboard and see what makes this airplane so special. It was also great for me to take part in another leg of the Dream Tour and to visit with our customer LAN. You can feel the excitement as they prepare to put the Dreamliner into service. I’ll leave you with a photo gallery from our time here in Chile. (Photos in this post by Marian Lockhart, Adam Morgan and Scott Lefeber).

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The Dreamliner shines in the sun in Santiago.

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Welcoming aboard some of our many guests in Santiago.

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The engines are always a hit with photographers.

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A light show inside the 787.

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Going nose to nose.. The 787 and the A380.

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The A380 kicks up its heels and a lot of dust during its demo flight.

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Me looking out at Santiago. Goodbye from Chile. Thanks for the hospitality!

All smiles in Santiago

SANTIAGO - Greetings from Chile, where a 7.1 earthquake greeted me shortly after my arrival this past weekend. Other than a few tense moments—all was fine.

I’m here taking part in the events surrounding the 787’s visit to Santiago as part of the Dream Tour and the 2012 FIDAE Air Show. The airplane is also here to visit our customer LAN, one of the leading airlines in Latin America.

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The 787 gets a bath during a water salute in Santiago.

Earlier today, LAN announced the first routes for its 787 Dreamliners. The airline currently has plans to take 32 of the airplanes—26 directly ordered from Boeing and another six through leasing—and will be the first airline in Latin America to fly the 787. The first destinations it will take the airplanes are Santiago, Buenos Aires, Lima, Los Angeles, Madrid and Frankfurt.

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I was on hand as LAN announced their 787 routes.

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A 787 in LAN livery.

LAN’s plan for the Dreamliner really does reinforce what the 787 is all about—the chance to open up new routes and markets for our customers. In fact, as the President of JAL took delivery of two 787s yesterday, he described what he liked best about the airplane: its beauty, its economics and its long range. “Taking delivery of the 787 was like meeting the love of a lifetime,” he said after landing in Tokyo. JAL plans to put the 787’s attributes to work when it starts service between Tokyo and Boston next month.

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Japan Airlines’ first 787 takes off from Paine Field on Monday headed for Tokyo Narita airport. Gail Hanusa photo.

Here in Latin America, the 787 is in a perfect position. The long-term forecast for this region shows that 260 787-size airplanes will needed for growth and replacement over the next 20 years. When you consider only 49 787s are currently on order from Latin American airlines, it means even more opportunity for the Dreamliner.

I’ll leave you with some photos of the sights of Santiago.

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Here’s something you don’t see much of back home… pizza with pears.

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A walk in Santiago’s Plaza de Armas.

Blowin' in the Wind

It’s ‘wind on’ for the MAX in Seattle this week. The final phase of 737 MAX wind tunnel testing is well underway to establish the low- and high-speed performance of the new engine variant of the ever popular 737.

Last month, engineers started the tests at QinetiQ’s facility in Farnborough, U.K., where testing of the low-speed performance of the airplane is still happening. On March 19, the high-speed testing began at Boeing’s transonic wind tunnel in Seattle.

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737 model in the Boeing transonic wind tunnel in Seattle on March 21.

The photo above shows the baseline model of the Next-Generation 737 undergoing high-speed tests, which will establish the baseline for the 737 MAX. As the tests go forward, the team will update the model to incorporate the minor changes we’re making for the MAX and the larger engine nacelles. These initial test runs will give our engineers a baseline of the current airplane’s performance that they can compare to the MAX’s optimized design.

The wind tunnel can get up to speeds of Mach 1.1 or 750-760 mph, allowing us to test the airplane design at speeds it would experience during cruise. While fewer tests are needed because “modern computational fluid dynamics tools” (wow, that takes me back to my engineering days) allow our designers to consider and run virtual experiments on designs, the testing in the wind tunnel is critical to validating the computer modeling. In this case, the answers are literally found blowin’ in the wind.

As the 737 MAX team continues to make great progress towards a firm configuration of the MAX in 2013, the airplane continues to attract a lot of interest from our customers. We have more than 1,000 orders and commitments for the MAX from a total of 16 customers worldwide.

The Warrior

There was a big party this morning in Dallas to celebrate a new era at Southwest Airlines—as they unveiled their brand new and first ever Next-Generation 737-800 to thousands of employees. The airplane, named Warrior One, also features Southwest’s first Boeing Sky Interior.

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A beautiful day to celebrate Southwest’s first Next-Generation 737-800 in Dallas.

While I wasn’t able to fly down, several of my Boeing colleagues made the trip for the celebration and sent me back some photos to share. Southwest invited its employees to come out and see their new baby in person. The airplane will start revenue service next month.

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Here’s an incredible stat. By the end of this year, Southwest will have almost three dozen 737-800s in its fleet. It will give the airline scheduling flexibility with additional capacity in high-demand, slot-controlled markets. And thanks to the airplane’s ETOPS capabilities, Southwest can now fly to new markets on routes not currently available.

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Southwest employees check out the new Boeing Sky Interior. Photo courtesy Southwest Airlines.

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Those of us at Boeing often talk about game changing airplanes. Captain Chuck Magill, Southwest’s VP of Flight Operations, believes the 737-800 falls into that category.

“The -800 is a potential game changer for us, and will take us places we never dreamed of. It’s a great primer for the 737 MAX, which will take us even farther,” said Magill.

Captain Chuck, I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for letting us go along for the ride. And congratulations on the Warrior. Be sure to also check out Southwest’s blog.

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Thousands of Southwest employees gather for the big reveal. Photo courtesy Southwest Airlines.

"Bonding" with United Airlines

Last week saw a milestone event for the 787 program. It might go unnoticed by most aviation fans, but this was a grand slam in the world of aircraft financing. Our customer, United Continental Holdings, went to the financial markets to sell bonds to raise money to pay for its 787 and 737-900ER deliveries this year. Customers finance their airplane purchases virtually all of the time, but this was the first time a bond offering included the Dreamliner as collateral.

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The 787 Dreamliner sitting next to a United 737-900ER.

The bond sale made history by having THE lowest-ever, all-in pricing for an aircraft bond offering that wasn’t “wrapped” or reinsured by the issuer. Our colleagues at Boeing Capital Corp., the financing and leasing side of Boeing, were very excited by the news. In part, it’s because the Dreamliner is the first commercial aircraft in aviation history that was designed with the help of the financial community.

I can recall several years ago when we invited aircraft bankers, investors and appraisers to give us their thoughts on how we could make the Dreamliner more attractive to financiers. They had plenty of good suggestions, like making the airplane easier to place with operators or moving them from one leasing customer to another.

My BCC colleagues say the United Continental Holdings bond sale not only delivered extraordinarily “efficient” and well-priced financing for a valued customer, but it represents a warm welcome for the Dreamliner in the capital markets. These bond sales are looked on as an increasingly important way for airlines to raise funds to pay for new airplanes. We see it as validation that the 787 is a great airplane, not only for its new technologies and passenger experience, but as an appealing asset for investors.

Dream Prize

Most of you know I’m a music lover. That’s why I was thrilled to learn the 787 Dreamliner has taken home the equivalent of a Grammy.

The airplane was honored today with the Robert J. Collier Trophy for 2011. This is the pinnacle— one of the most prestigious honors in our industry given by the National Aeronautic Association. It’s awarded to the greatest aeronautic achievement in America in the previous year with respect to improving the performance, efficiency and safety of an air or space vehicle.

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The winner of the Collier Trophy. Here was just one of the proud moments from 2011 as the 787 receives certification.

The Collier Trophy was first awarded more than 100 years ago and has been bestowed on the pioneering greats like Glenn Curtiss for the development of the flying boat, Orville Wright for the automatic stabilizer and Chuck Yeager for piloting the Bell X-1.

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We’re ready to make room for one more! Here’s the Collier Trophy display case at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

The 787 also extends the Boeing family legacy of winning the Collier. The B-52 Stratofortress won in 1955, the 747 won the trophy in 1970, followed by the 757 and 767 in 1982. The V-22 Osprey Tiltrotor took the prize in 1990, followed by the C-17 in 1994, the 777 in 1995. Boeing has been called out for other Collier winners, including the F/A-18E/F in 1999, and the International Space Station in 2009.

All of those programs have one thing in common: a dedicated team that endured many challenges to bring their creation to the market. The 787 Dreamliner was no different. I invite you to check out the video below that shows the 787’s journey to winning this prize.

Train kept a-rollin'

Back in December, we delivered the 7,000th 737. That number included the “classics” as well as our Next-Generation 737s. Now, another milestone airplane is working its way through our Renton factory.

Meet what will soon become the 4,000th Next-Generation 737. The fuselage arrived in Renton last week by rail and was then placed on a transport dolly.

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The 4,000th Next-Generation 737 fuselage arrives in Renton.

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This airplane will be delivered in April to China Southern. It marks another proud moment for the 737 program and speaks to the popularity of this airplane. Considering the current 737 backlog is 2,674—including firm orders for the 737 MAX—we can expect to see those trains keep rolling into Renton for a long, long time. We also invite you to check out our Flickr page throughout the week to watch this airplane’s transformation.

What a week

This has been some week for the 787 team. First, we announced the completion of flight testing required for certification of 787s with GE engines. That means all of the flight testing for the baseline models is done. To reach this goal, we had to conduct 150 hours of extended operations on a production model airplane, not a flight test one.

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The 35th 787 to be built served as the production airplane conducting the final 150 hours of flight test required for certification of 787s with GE engines.

We’ve also wrapped up ground tests and turned the last bits of data over to the FAA for their reviews and processing prior to certification.

On top of that, all of the people who designed and built the Dreamliner and entered the airplane into service were honored with a prestigious award this week. Aviation Week bestowed its 2012 Laureate Award in Aeronautics/Propulsion to the 787 team for their “extraordinary accomplishments.” Past winners in this category include the X-51A Waverider Hypersonic Vehicle Team and the Pratt & Whitney PW1000G geared turbofan development team.

This award is a wonderful tribute to the 787 team’s hard work, dedication and innovation, and to an airplane that embodies the hopes and dreams of our customers and passengers around the world. Congratulations on a truly remarkable week.

777 Reunion

As the 1,000th 777 took to the skies on Tuesday for its first flight, the flight deck became the scene of a very special reunion. Captain John Cashman, who flew the very first 777 flight back in 1994, teamed up with Keith Otsuka, currently Boeing Test and Evaluation’s top test pilot and former 777 chief pilot from 2009 through 2011.

These two pilots have a long history together. In fact, it was Cashman who hired Otsuka at Boeing. In a show of respect to Cashman— who racked up some 1,200 hours in 777s during his time with the program— Otsuka gave the left chair to his friend during the first flight of airplane 1,000 that will soon be delivered to Emirates.

The photo gallery below captured more from this special day. I also invite you to watch this video featuring all five past and present chief model pilots for the 777— as I say thank you to all of them for making this program what it is today. Photos by Gail Hanusa & Ed Turner.

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Retro in Toronto

When the 787 touched down in Toronto to kick off the fourth leg of the Dream Tour last week, there was something else to celebrate. The airplane, which Air Canada calls one of the key components in its fleet renewal strategy, was one of the featured attractions at Air Canada’s 75th Anniversary celebration.

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The Dreamliner touches down in Toronto. Photo by Brian Losito, Air Canada.

Along with the 787, the anniversary celebration included Air Canada memorabilia, a vintage uniform fashion show and the airline’s first airplane, a 1937 Lockheed L-10A.

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Retro flight attendant fashion meets the modern Dreamliner.

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Air Canada’s predecessor, Trans-Canada Air Lines (TCA) inaugurated its first flight on September 1, 1937. The 50-minute flight aboard a Lockheed L-10A carried two passengers and mail between Vancouver and Seattle. By 1964, TCA had grown to become Canada’s national airline and changed its name to Air Canada.

Our long history with Air Canada includes the airline operating many of our airplanes including the 727, 747, 767 and 777—and of course they’ve also flown the DC-8 and DC-9.

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One of Air Canada’s 777s.

Air Canada currently has 37 Dreamliners on order. We’re thrilled to take part in a celebration of the airline’s past—and proud to be a part of its future. You can enjoy more of the festivities with these videos.

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7771K

When you think about it, 1995 wasn’t all that long ago. But since that time, we’ve seen 1,000 777s come out of the Everett factory. Today, we took time to celebrate that incredible milestone with thousands of the men and women who built those beautiful airplanes. It was also a time to thank Emirates— who will take delivery of airplane number 1,000 later this month— as well as all of our customers who continue to make the 777 wildly popular. Here’s a photo gallery from today’s big party— along with one blast from the past. Also, check out some videos paying tribute to this occasion.

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Number 1,000. The 777 is the fastest to reach that milestone of any twin-aisle jetliner in history.

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A livery to remember. Emirates is our largest 777 customer.

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Nose to nose photo of the 1000th 777 and a 777 Freighter for Emirates.

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A blast from the past. First delivery of the 777 to United way back in 1995. Notice the beautiful fly by of the very first 777.

 

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