February 2013 Archives

The VIP treatment

It’s hard to believe a year has already gone by. But today marks the first anniversary of the first delivery of our 747-8 Intercontinental. The airplane, a BBJ version of the 747-8, went to a VIP customer.

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The first 747-8I ever delivered took off one year ago today.

Since then, we’ve delivered a dozen Intercontinentals to commercial and VIP customers. Lufthansa was the first commercial customer to receive the airplane.

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Here’s the first Intercontinental delivered to an airline customer, Lufthansa.

The fleet has been performing well in service, and passengers really love it. Travel expert Stefanie Michaels, better known as Adventure Girl, says “flying in the upper deck has a very private feel, almost like you’re in your own airplane.”

As for that very first 747-8I delivery, the airplane is currently at a completion center in Europe getting its VIP interior installed. Since none of us will probably ever get a chance to go inside, I thought you’d like to see what a typical BBJ interior could look like.

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Depending on the customer, it can include a master suite with a king-sized bed and bathroom, a kitchen, dining area and lounge.

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Congratulations to the entire 747-8 team in Everett on this special VIP anniversary.

New heights for the 777

I wanted to share a couple of pictures of the airplane that took our 777 program to new heights. The first 777 built at the increased production rate of 8.3 per month, or 100 per year, has now been delivered.

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The first 777 built at the rate of 8.3 per month has been delivered to Korean Air. Photos by Ed Turner.

The airplane, a 777 Freighter, was delivered to Korean Air. We started building at the new rate back in October when the first airplane parts entered the Everett factory. And I can tell you that the health of the production line has remained strong during the transition.

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In the past 32 months, the 777 program has increased rate two times. First from five to seven in 2011— and now going beyond that to an all-time-high rate of 8.3 airplanes per month.

Congratulations to the entire 777 team.

Our supply chain

Working with suppliers to build airplanes is nothing new to Boeing. The need for outside sources dates back to 1916 when “the very best Irish linen” was brought in to cover the wings of Boeing’s Model C. While we don’t use Irish linen these days, millions of parts are required for all our commercial airplanes.

The 787 alone has about 2.3 million parts. Some, like the fuselage, are built by Boeing. Other components, such as the landing gear, are contracted out for a supplier to build. Boeing has a very thorough inspection process to ensure the highest quality on each part that comes into our factories.

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A look at the structures suppliers for the 787.

Here’s a snapshot of Boeing Commercial Airplanes’ supplier needs:

+Boeing has a relationship with 5,400 supplier factories, including sub-tier suppliers

+More than 750 million components and assemblies were procured in 2012

+500,000 people are employed through the Boeing supply chain

The new video below shows what it takes to be a Boeing supplier. You can also find other 787 resources on our special webpage.

Inside the 787

We’re making good progress on resolving the issue with the 787, working with our customers and the regulatory and investigative authorities to get the fleet back in the air. While that work continues, the 787 team has put together some resources on a new webpage, including video and infographics, to help everyone better understand the airplane’s electrical and battery systems.

For instance, did you know that:

• The 787 completed the most rigorous certification and flight test program in the history of commercial aviation, racking up more than 5,000 flight test hours and an equal number of test hours on the ground with a fleet of six test airplanes.

• The 787 main and APU batteries, each with eight cells, have logged more than 2.2 million cell-hours on the ground and in the air since the airplane entered revenue service, including more than 50,000 revenue service flight hours.

• Because the 787 uses more electricity than do other Boeing airplanes, the 787 generates more electricity, via six generators: two on each engine and two on the auxiliary power unit.

You can find all of that on our new webpage—which also features the video below from 787 Vice President and Chief Project Engineer Mike Sinnett as he explains the inner-workings of the airplane.

There's an app for that!

When Boeing launched the Current Market Outlook back in 1964, it was all on paper. As the years went by, we eventually transitioned to an electronic version. Now, there’s an app for that!

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As of today, you can check out our CMO as a downloadable application for the iPad. The interactivity of this app really helps engage you in the content and do a deeper dive into the forecast. And best of all, it’s free!

If you follow this blog, you know the CMO is our long-term forecast of air traffic volumes and airplane demand. We use it to shape Boeing’s product strategy and provide guidance for long-term business planning to our airline customers, suppliers, the financial community and any aviation enthusiast.

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With this new iPad app, you get a lot more than just static charts— as well as plenty of pictures of all our products.

I’ve had a great time playing around with it and invite you to give it a try.

Best in class

I always enjoy meeting with our suppliers. After all, they’re key players in our success. I got the opportunity to see many of them in person at this week’s annual Pacific Northwest Aerospace Alliance Conference in Lynnwood, Washington— where I was able to thank them for helping us increase our 2012 deliveries by 26 percent through several rate increases.

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Speaking at the annual PNAA conference.

We then turned our focus to the objectives for 2013—which include getting the 787 back in the air, executing more production rate increases while improving efficiency and reducing costs, and keeping development programs like the 737 MAX and 787-9 on track.

Of course, a lot of folks in the audience were very interested in our continued progress on the 777X and 787-10X. The potential market entry of the 777X would be around the end of the decade, and our customers have really been helping us shape this airplane.

The 777X will have the lowest fuel burn per seat of any airplane, significantly lower operating costs, and greater payload and range capability. We’re also working hard on a new interior for the airplane that will really be spectacular— making the best in class 777 even better.

The 787-10X, a stretch of the 787-9, will give the airlines a capacity of around 320 passengers, while still offering the best fuel burn and operating economics. Consider it the “people mover” of the 787 family—carrying the most passengers with the best fuel economics.

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A rendering of the 787-10X.

When you put them together, it’s obvious the 777X and 787-10X will put a lot of pressure on the competition. It’s an exciting time for the wide-body market with a lot of pent up demand for these airplanes.

On the single-aisle side, we couldn’t be happier with the acceptance of the 737 MAX. Just this week, we finalized an order for 16 737 MAXs from Icelandair. That brings the total MAX orders to date to 1,180.

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The 737 MAX in Icelandair livery.

Across the board, we’re offering the best products to meet our customers’ needs. And we thank our suppliers for being part of the Boeing team.

787 test flights

Our fifth 787 test airplane, ZA005, has been pretty busy the past few days. On Saturday and again today, the airplane left Boeing Field and took to the skies for test flights. (Photos by Marian Lockhart and Jim Anderson)

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ZA005 takes off from Boeing Field today.

Saturday’s flight lasted 2 hours and 19 minutes with the crew using special equipment to monitor the main and APU batteries. Today’s flight lasted one hour and 30 minutes and used the same monitoring. The pilots reported that both flights were uneventful.

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ZA005 in flight today.

This completes the first round of battery monitoring tests. The purpose was to monitor the in-flight performance of the batteries, which provides data that could support the continuing investigations in the recent incidents. No additional flights are currently scheduled for ZA005.

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ZA005 lands at Boeing Field today after completing a flight test.

Capt. Randy Neville and Capt. Mike Bryan, plus 11 flight test personnel, were aboard both flights. The airplane flew primarily over eastern Washington— barely touching northern Oregon— on both days.

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Capt. Randy Neville (front) and Capt. Mike Bryan (middle) after landing today.

While we can’t share more details at this point, I can tell you that our team continues to put in long hours to solve the issue as quickly as possible.

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ZA005 after landing at Boeing Field today.

The 787 front

It’s been an incredibly busy day for us on the 787 front. The morning started with a 787 ferry flight from Texas to Paine Field in Everett. We were moving one of the airplanes that had recently been painted for one of our customers. The pilots monitored the batteries closely and reported an uneventful flight.

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The 787 ferry flight lands at Paine Field today.

Also this morning, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board provided another update on its investigation. The NTSB has now identified the origin of the Jan. 7 event at Boston’s Logan Airport as having been within the battery. We welcome the continued progress.

We are working collaboratively to address questions about our testing and compliance with certification standards, and we will not hesitate to make changes that lead to improved testing processes and products. As we’ve said, the 787 was certified following a rigorous Boeing test program and an extensive certification program conducted by the FAA. We provided testing and analysis in support of the requirements of the FAA special conditions associated with the use of lithium ion batteries.

This afternoon, we received approval from the FAA to resume limited 787 flight test activities soon. We’ll use ZA005, our fifth flight test airplane, to conduct the testing over the Northwest.

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ZA005 in flight.

This flight test activity will allow us to conduct testing of the in-flight performance of the airplane’s batteries, which will provide data to support the continuing investigations into the cause of the recent 787 battery incidents.

While our work to determine the cause of the recent battery incidents continues in coordination with appropriate regulatory authorities and investigation agencies, we are confident that the 787 is safe to operate for this flight test activity. To provide additional precautions, we have implemented additional operating practices for test flights, including a one-time pre-flight inspection of the batteries, monitoring of specific battery-related status messages, and a recurring battery inspection.

My thanks once again to the massive Boeing team working tirelessly on the company’s top priority—with the goal of getting the fleet back in the air and back into the hands of our customers as soon as possible.

Top Dog

It’s always great to see the reaction of out of town media when they visit our Everett factory for the first time. But as much as they love to see our airplanes, they sometimes get a bigger kick out of seeing our K-9 officers.

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The guest of honor enjoys his retirement party. All photos by Marian Lockhart.

Today, Boeing’s Security & Fire Protection organization honored the career of Stryker, a Boeing K-9 dog who retired at the end of last year. Stryker was hired by Boeing in 2006 and was considered the “Top Dog” on the team of Boeing K-9s. He was Boeing’s first shelter dog—coming from the Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS)— and was also the first dog to be fully trained inside the company.

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Adept at inspecting planes prior to deliveries along with incoming freight, luggage and packages, one of Stryker’s major responsibilities was to be present when a site is swept for explosives. His job is to check incoming vehicles and sniff packages and items left behind. Stryker, like all Boeing K-9 unit members, is trained to deal with bomb threats, find weapons, work special events and assist in protecting dignitaries and important visitors.

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Stryker and his handler, Chad Olson, are one of 12 Boeing K-9 teams—plus one puppy in training. Chad says Stryker loves to come up to you and put his paws up as if to shake a hand or offer a hug.

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While he’ll still live with Chad and is part of the Olson family, Stryker will start a new career as a therapy comfort and companion dog at a senior center in Snohomish County. The senior center has been the recipient of the Boeing Employees Community Fund grants in the past, and we know he’ll provide plenty of joy to all the seniors there— just as he did to anyone he ever encountered at Boeing.

Enjoy your retirement Stryker—and thanks for keeping a watchful and protective eye on us all these years.

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Check out a video feature we did on Stryker’s party.

When the going gets tough, Boeing's talent gets going

Today, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board issued another update on the 787 incident in Boston. As we continue to assist in the investigation, I wanted to take this opportunity to share some of the specific things we’re doing to meet this challenge.

At Boeing we all have the same goal: develop the world’s safest, most advanced airplanes. When we need to focus on an issue like the one surrounding the 787, we do it with passion, diligence and precision.

When the events occurred, the 787 engineering team immediately got to work analyzing data sent from the airplanes to the company’s 24-hour monitoring system in Everett. As details emerged, experts from around the company convened to review relevant systems.

In the earliest hours, program teams mobilized to provide support on a number of fronts. Crews were dispatched to the site of the events in the U.S. and Japan to support the investigations as requested by authorities.

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Boeing engineers examine a 787 battery.

We now have hundreds of people at Boeing, some of our best and brightest, dedicated exclusively to solving this issue. In addition, we’ve tapped into the pool of Technical Fellows at Boeing, which offers deep knowledge across diverse technical areas. These individuals achieve this coveted designation after demonstrating expertise recognized by leaders in Boeing, as well as across the industry.

We’ve also reached out to a handful of retired experts. Seven retired executives and technology leaders make up our Senior Advisory Group, which provides valuable experience-based perspective and counsel to teams designing and manufacturing. Together they have more than 230 years of collective Boeing experience and have been awarded a total of 46 industry awards and accolades.

So while you don’t see what’s happening behind closed doors and we can’t always share every detail, I can assure you that we’re actively working around the clock with federal regulators to get the 787s back in the air. We owe it to our customers—and I thank everyone involved for their tireless efforts.

 

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