Analysts expect established trends in predicted long-term jetliner requirements to continue, with little change to the market breakdown by aircraft size, according to the latest Boeing 20-year forecast statistics, unveiled in London on July 10.
Containing risk represents one of the hallmarks of Boeing’s proven approach to the 777 program, and its agreements last month with five key Japanese partners to perform major work on the 777X didn’t deviate far from historic form. But while the consortium of Japanese companies known as Japan Aircraft Industries won responsibility for essentially the same portion of the 777X airframe–21 percent–that it carries on the current version of the 777, Boeing didn’t necessarily exhibit a light touch in its negotiations with the group of long-time structural suppliers.
As Airbus A350XWB (Xtra widebody) customers freeze aircraft interior configuration plans, the European manufacturer hopes to limit cabin furnishing options for the new twin-aisle twinjet in order to keep final-assembly lines flowing as it accelerates production rates during a steep industrial ramp-up.
Boeing and Spirit Aerosystems have dispatched a team of experts to the site of a July 3 train derailment in Montana to assess the damage to six 737 fuselages, three of which slid down an embankment and into the Clark Fork River. Of the 19 cars that derailed near Rivulet, Montana, several also contained assembles for the 777 and 747.
Resistant to grounding their Boeing 787-8s for a even a short time, several operators have indefinitely deferred addressing fixes to some of the airplanes’ last remaining glitches, presenting the manufacturer with an “issue” as it marches toward its target dispatch reliability rate of 99.6 percent.
Australian officials have once again amended the search area for the Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 missing since March 8. “Specialists have analyzed satellite communications information–information that was never initially intended to have the capability to track an aircraft–and performed extremely complex calculations,” said Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss. “The new priority area is still focused on the seventh arc, where the aircraft last communicated with a satellite. We are now shifting our attention to an area farther south along the arc based on these calculations.”
Boeing is targeting the third quarter for the maiden flight of a 767-2C “provisioned freighter” that will become one of the first U.S. Air Force KC-46A aerial refueling tankers. The company acknowledged encountering what it described as typical issues in the tanker’s development, and that it slipped an internal goal to fly the aircraft for the first time in June.
Boeing has added to its portfolio of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) aircraft a “multi-int” platform based on the Beechcraft King Air 350ER. The company’s Reconfigurable Airborne Multi-Intelligence System (Ramis) was originally developed as a demonstrator for the U.S. Army and is now being offered to customers.
The production system that promises to support a reduction in final assembly times for the Boeing 737 from 10 to nine days this year should become still more efficient with the introduction of a new automated panel assembly line (PAL) by early 2015. Built by Mukilteo, Washington-based Electroimpact, the PAL fastens stringers to wing skin panels at twice the rate Boeing now can manage using the current process at the 737 plant in Renton, Washington. Electroimpact designed the machine to “normalize” to the panel with an array of lasers that “see” the surface without touching it, allowing it to follow the panel curvature or contour. The process improves accuracy, consistency and “repeatability,” according to Boeing.
Jeppesen has released its FliteDeck Pro electronic flight bag (EFB) software for Microsoft Window 8 tablets, and Delta Air Lines is implementing FliteDeck Pro for 11,000 pilots on Microsoft Surface 2 tablets. FliteDeck Pro for Windows 8 offers worldwide navigation charts, including data-driven en route information and terminal charts, all of which are updated with “changes-only” content to facilitate faster updates. Unlike the current version of the iPad, the Surface tablet allows users to run two applications in split screens.