Lessons learned from early missteps associated with the Boeing Dreamliner’s production system have helped cut unit costs on the 787-8 by some 15 percent over the past year and generate a 10-percent flow reduction since December, according to Boeing 787 vice president and deputy general manager Kim Pastega. Now building eight airplanes a month at is main plant in Everett, Washington, and two at its new factory in Charleston, South Carolina, Boeing has also seen a unit cost improvement of 30 percent in the recently certified 787-9 over the first six airplanes built.
Economy of the United States
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.
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.
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.
The aviation industry will see as many as 1,000 airplanes exit commercial fleets each year within the next decade as a combination of demographics conspire to create a retirement “tsunami,” IFC International principal Richard Brown told delegates attending the June 15 to 17 Aircraft Fleet Recycling Association (AFRA) annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
Steve Taylor, president of Boeing Business Jets (BBJ), announced here at EBACE 2014 the company has sold its first VIP 787-9 Dreamliner, and the undisclosed customer has chosen London’s Andrew Winch Designs (AWD) and EH Aviation Advisors to handle the completion. Taylor noted that AWD has handled interior design for several BBJs. “This is going to be spectacular,” he said as he showed renderings of an interior scheme from AWD at the BBJ press conference. (Renderings of the client’s selected interior were not displayed as per AWD’s confidentiality policies.)
Albuquerque, N.M.-based Eclipse Aerospace announced the availability of web-based chart and navigation subscription updates from Jeppesen. The downloadable data stream replaces physical update disks shipped to the company’s E-Chart subscribers. It also allows pilots of Eclipse 550s and 500 Total Eclipses to import flight data directly into the Avio IFMS, thus eliminating a potential error point with manual data entry. The web-based charts are available to current E-Chart subscribers through Jeppesen’s website.
Scott Ernest, who joined Textron and took over as CEO of the company’s Cessna subsidiary in May 2011, recently presided over one of the largest manufacturer mergers in aviation history this year, the integration of Cessna and Beechcraft. In March Textron bought Beechcraft for $1.4 billion and placed the Cessna and Beechcraft brands under the newly formed Textron Aviation, headed by Ernest as president and CEO.
As it pushes to expand in Europe and at its new Arkansas facility, JCB Aero is here at EBACE exhibiting custom-finished furniture with metal accents and, to demonstrate its growing capabilities, a mockup of the front section of a business jet, comprising a galley and a lounge.