Boeing 787 is a dream come true, again.

– Boeing assembling 115th 787-8
– First 787-9 LN126 ‘slightly underweight’
– First 787-9 final assembly to start in May
– 787-9 first flight in Aug/Sep & EIS in April 2014
– LN103 787-8 meeting weight targets
– Earlier than LN140-150 ‘several hundred kilogrammes’ overweight forecast
– Latest Rev L 787 specification shows 2018 performance standard
– Boeing to resume 787 deliveries by early May
– Boeing to complete battery modification on ‘bulk’ of fleet by mid-May
– Boeing already started battery fix on 10 fleet & 9 production airplanes

“Toil without song is like a weary journey without an end,” H P Lovecraft wrote. And so when Boeing received the final approval from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on 19 April over the three-layered battery solution proposed by the world’s largest plane-maker to return the company’s signature, but grounded carbon-composite Boeing 787 Dreamliner to commercial flight, its vice president (VP) of marketing Randy Tinseth published a blog post titled “Don’t stop believin’” detailing the sense of accomplishment in putting a more than three months long grounding of the revolutionary aircraft to an end.

The longest grounding of a US jet since the DC-10 in 1979 was prompted by an imbroglio of overheating incidents involving the 787 Dreamliner’s lithium-ion battery, first on the aft electrical/equipment (E/E) bay of a parked Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 at Boston Logan International Airport on January 7, followed by the main lithium-ion battery on the forward E/E bay which swelled and spewed flammable electrolytes on an ANA Holdings Inc. 787-8 on 16 January. The latter incident, which resulted in an emergency landing at Takamatsu, Japan, led to the issuance of an emergency airworthiness directive (EAD) by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) grounding the US-based fleet and effectively the worldwide fleet as regulators around the globe usually follow the lead of the FAA (“Boeing 777X & 787-10X unfazed by 787 battery woes“, 14th Feb, 13).

“Safety of the travelling public is our number one priority. These changes to the 787 battery will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers,” US transportation secretary Ray LaHood said.

The approval by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on the battery change saw 10 airplane on ground (AOG) teams consisting of more than 300 Boeing employees starting modification work after Boeing releasing a service bulletin (SB) detailing the steps and work required for such a change. The US FAA issued an airworthiness directive (AD) on Thursday superseding the January 16 one, thereby effectively lifting the grounding and enabling the aircraft to commence commercial flights.

“FAA approval clears the way for us and the airlines to begin the process of returning the 787 to flight with continued confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane. The promise of the 787 and the benefits it provides to airlines and their passengers remain fully intact as we take this important step forward with our customers and programme partners,” Boeing chairman, president and chief executive Jim McNerney declared.

As the modification work began on 10 fleet and 9 production aircraft, which will be completed on the bulk of the fleet by mid-May, Boeing could finally put behind and look beyond the latest fiasco, get the focus right on the production ramp-up to 10 aircraft per month by the end of this year, introducing the stretched and significantly improved 787-9 variant in early 2014, as well as launching the highly sought-after 323-seat double-stretched 787-10X variant, where a latent demand is awaiting to be unleashed to replace the 777-200ER, Airbus A330-200s and -300s in one fell swoop.

Provided that Boeing execute well on these challenging but not insurmountable tasks, a big ‘if’ after earning a serious black eye in its perennial delivery delays and the latest battery grounding episode, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner could well be a dream come true for the Chicago-based airframer again.

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Heat on Boeing & its 787 to dissipate – if not soon
In order to resolve the battery issue once and for all, Boeing has devised a comprehensive three-layered solution that features a significantly improved battery design which was a result of more than 200,000 engineering hours spent.

The first layer entails manufacturing improvements at the battery supplier GS Yuasa, calling for considerably more rigorous production tests for cells and batteries that see a higher percentage of lithium-ion batteries being rejected as a larger number of batteries fail to pass the new, more stringent tests as a result. Build process for the cells and batteries were also enhanced.

The second layer, meanwhile, involves significant design enhancements introduced to the lithium-cobalt oxide battery which were redesigned twice before prior to the 787’s service entry on October 25, 2011. First of all, there is improved dielectric insulation added between the 8 individual battery cells so as to isolate any single-cell failure to the particular cell involved and prevent a thermal runaway by spreading the heat generated to another cell. The individual battery cell is also going to be wrapped in electrical isolation tape, while spacer is added for both thermal and electrical insulation. A new terminal will feature locking fasteners ensuring the individual cells are locked into the right place in addition to heat and chafe resistant wire harness.

New frame with drain holes will eliminate any impact moisture may have on the battery cells while the battery monitoring unit will have a tightened voltage range under which the Tuscon, Arizona-based Securaplane-built battery charger will have a lower maximum charging level, an increased minimum charging level and a softened charging sequence that reduce the battery’s workload versus the previous iteration of the battery.

The most important feature included in the fix is a 3mm-thick stainless steel box that forms an enclosure around the lithium-ion battery and a vent line connected to the exterior of the 787 fuselage through which any spewed flammable electrolyte, vapours and the associated heat and pressure generated will be vented overboard. A burst disc indicator will alert the pilots that the burst disc has been broken and that a venting event has taken place. This ensures there is no potential for fire “so as long as we keep the vented air out of the enclosure there’s no oxygen to support combustion”, Boeing vice president and 787 chief project engineer Mike Sinnett said.

Perhaps what Boeing needs to convince the flying public in order to regain their confidence in the airplane featuring cutting-edge technologies is that the test data from the new and significantly improved battery complies with the RTCA DO-311 standard whose tests Boeing did not conduct on the original battery, including inserting a heating element to the lithium-ion battery to generate a large amount of energy within the battery and drive the cells to failure, versus the original test of drilling a nail into the battery to induce a short-circuit. Boeing then conducted the same test on the old battery and compared the two results, which were a stark contrast and a powerful validation on the improvement that has been made.

In the old battery all 8 cells vent and the temperature of the enclosure soared to 300 degrees Celsius whereas in the new battery only 2 cells have vented with a peak temperature of 125 degrees Celsius before cooling down to around 75-80 degrees Celsius as the heat and vapour were released to the outside of the airplane.

“We could see with the previous battery when we insert a heating element inside the battery and heat the battery until it fails, we get an enclosure temperature of about as we see here a maximum of 300 degrees C. And the heating element in between 2 of the cells puts about 300,000 joules of energy into the battery, forcing the cell to heat up and vent. So that’s how we simulate a battery failure by adding extra energy into the battery to make it fail,” Sinnett elaborated.

“So the enclosure doesn’t get really hot. The failure that we’ve simulated is limited to only 2 cells and the overall temperature is significantly lower. This demonstrates the effectiveness of the thermal and electrical protections we’ve put inside the new battery that also demonstrates the ability of the enclosure to protect the electronics bay and the rest of the airplane from worst-case battery situation.

“We design criteria for the enclosure is that the enclosure has to be able to be at a temperature of 300 degrees Celsius without creating any thermal risk to the airplane, or any heat damage to the surrounding area or systems. So 300 degrees Celsius is our design limit for the enclosure,” Sinnett summed up.

Image Courtesy of Bloomberg

Image Courtesy of Bloomberg

Furthermore, in the new battery each individual cell is insulated so well electromagnetically such that the lithium-ion battery continued to produce a good quality of voltage of electricity for more than an hour until the 5th cell vented.

“We found that in all of the testing that we’ve been performing that when we drive the cell to failure in the previous version of the battery, we’ve got electrical interaction among cells as they swell and touch each other and electrical interaction between the cells and the battery case itself. This was not an intended part of the design and also that that electrical activity causes the other cells of the battery to heat up and get them closer to the venting point and as one of the means of propagations from cell to cell of a failure of the battery,” Sinnett explained.

“But what was unique in the airplane test was that when we ran the test with the APU [auxiliary power unit] battery configuration and the APU battery provided as a power source for the APU controller, the brain of the APU. With the previous battery we’ve learned that with a single cell venting, the entire battery gets involved electrically and shuts down and the APU stops operating. In the test we ran on ZA005 in last week, what we’re able to demonstrate was that even after we forced the first cell to vent with the heating element, the battery continues making voltage at good power quality and the APU controller continued to operate.

“In fact after the first cell vented, the APU continued to operate for an hour after the first cell vented and only shut down upon the venting of the fifth cell of the battery. So those tests demonstrated the significant improvement in performance of the dielectric isolation and the thermal protection inside the battery,” Sinnett commented.

Crucially, this new battery enables Boeing to move ahead with the modification plan and returns the 787 Dreamliner to service without waiting endlessly for the root cause of the multiple short-circuits within cell number 6 on the Japan Airlines 787 in Boston which remains elusive and there is a real possibility that the root cause may never be identified as the resulting thermal runaway caused severe fire damage to the aircraft’s battery and potentially destroyed evidence leading to the uncovering of the root cause.

“In my mind it’s a more robust solution than if we’d gone after a single root cause,” Boeing 787 programme vice president (VP) and general manager (GM) Larry Loftis asserted.

What remains unchanged, however, is the aircraft’s fundamentally strong business case in being the only available aircraft catered for long-haul thin routes whose 21% fuel burn saving, coupled with a 30% reduction in maintenance costs as its patented one-piece contoured barrel (OPCB) eliminates 40,000-50,000 fasteners per barrel while varying the thickness of the barrel in different locations according to their respective engineering loads and meshing a copper wire to provide a path for electrical current, make the 787 Dreamliner indispensable for airlines seeking to pursue these point-to-point growth opportunities.

This is highlighted by the fact that ANA Holdings Inc. subsidiary All Nippon Airways suspended long-haul thin routes to the US following the Dreamliner’s grounding, such as Tokyo Narita-Seattle, Tokyo Narita-San Jose, Kansai-Seoul, and Nagoya-Seoul until 31st May as well as Japan Airlines (JAL) postponing the launch of the Tokyo Haneda-Helsinki route until further notice.

While its transatlantic arch-rival Airbus has continued to improve its venerable A330 offerings, including raising both the A330-200 and -300’s maximum take-off weight (MTOW) to 242 tonnes and unlocking the latter’s centre fuel tank for the first time that will increase the former’s range by 350nm (nautical miles) against today’s 238t -200s and the latter by 500nm against today’s 235t -300s, the Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner remains the only competitive offering in the 250-seat segment in the coming decades where Airbus has no corresponding future product line-up.

That said, the intense heat and scrutiny Boeing has been under since the 787’s grounding will ultimately fade away, albeit not in the short-term as both the media and financial markets will undoubtedly keep a close eye on the aircraft’s return to commercial service and All Nippon Airways’ 100-200 test flights between Tokyo Narita, Tokyo Haneda and New Chitose in Hokkaido which enables pilots at Asia’s largest carrier by sales to renew their qualifications before resuming passenger flights in June, Reuters has reported.

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Quiet, but notable 787 progress
That said, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner programme has made quiet but significant progress behind the scenes, especially in the 787’s weight, production ramp-up and the stretched 787-9 variant, in addition to its production cost.

For instance, the Boeing 787-8 baseline variant has met the original manufacturer’s empty weight (MEW) and airline-specific operating empty weight (OEW) targets much earlier than initially envisioned, with an AirInsight newsletter firstly reporting that line number LN103 has met those targets, which is subsequently confirmed by Aspire Aviation‘s sources at the world’s biggest aircraft-maker.

This is significantly earlier than the “a few hundred kilogrammes” overweight forecast by LN140-150 in the Rev K specification, while Aspire Aviation can exclusively reveal that the latest 787 Rev L specification is showing performance standard in 2018, underlining the company’s confidence in the continuous weight reduction effort.

While critics are quick to point out LN103 meeting weight specifications indicates a sluggish learning curve, it is important to bear in mind that the Boeing 787 is the world’s first large commercial airliner utilising carbon fibre reinforced polymer (CFRP) to such a great extent, even more than the upcoming Airbus A350 as the larger Airbus aircraft, while consisting of 53% CFRP by weight versus the 787’s 50%, the former utilises a composite panel approach of which Airbus contends composite panels enable a customised thickness in localised areas and a relatively easier maintenance process in removing the panels while Boeing refuted by saying that the US Federal Aviation Administration has approved of the company’s patch pair process.

Moreover, the notion that the 787 is no longer a weighty matter is further evidenced by the progress of the 787-9 variant. Not only is the 280-seat 8,050nm (nautical miles) 787-9 emerging unscathed from its smaller sibling’s grounding, the first 787-9 ever produced, LN126 has outperformed expectations and is currently “slightly underweight” compared to the airframer’s expectations of meeting manufacturer’s empty weight (MEW) and operating empty weight (OEW) by LN126.

The 787-9 has “effectively completed engineering work”, Boeing president, chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney said Wednesday on the company’s 2013 first-quarter earnings conference call.

Aspire Aviation‘s multiple sources at Boeing confirmed that the 787-9 remains on schedule to have its first flight in August or September as the targeted window for the milestone before its first delivery in April 2014 to its launch customer Air New Zealand (ANZ). The first -9 will enter the final assembly line (FAL) in May, Boeing 787 programme vice president (VP) and general manager Larry Loftis said.

“We are reassured and very confident that there is no risk to production or delivery timings around the 787-9 for the middle of the next year,” Air New Zealand (ANZ) chief executive Christopher Luxon commented.

“The Boeing 787-9 aircraft is going to be a game-changer aircraft for us. We remain really committed to it,” Luxon reaffirmed.

While it is true that the 787-8 parts are over-engineered and the -9 part design takes advantage of the lesson learnt, it is also indicative of the maturing 787 production system, which has successfully achieved the rate break to 7 units per month, Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney revealed this Wednesday.

Likewise, the 787 is making considerable and respectable progress in costs, where the gross inventory for the 787 programme increased US$3.3 billion during the first quarter to US$28.8 billion. Yet it is the slower-than-expected increase in the balance of deferred production cost to US$17.1 billion, representing 61 airplanes still in process that caught Wall Street analysts by surprise, although a pleasant one.

In raising the target price of Boeing significantly, investment bank Credit Suisse analysts wrote in a 24 April note to clients that “unit deferred production improvement was way ahead of our expectations, declining to ~$73M (assuming 16 787s produced), from ~$97M in Q4. Note that deferred production cost is still calculable even without associated deliveries (from the 787 grounding). It is a production-based metric, whereas unit and programme margins are delivery-based”.

“Movement into the next unit block with a greater number of aircraft (owing to the production ramp) is a key factor, along with a broad range of efficiency initiatives and price step downs. CFO Smith detailed that unit cost between line #s 8 and 100 declined by ~60%, implying to us a reduction from ~$400M to ~$160M with deferred production on line# 100 down to ~$60M. While we do not expect such a sizeable move each quarter from here, this improvement enhances BA’s [Boeing’s] credibility on its learning curve and causes us to more closely align our projected unit cost curve with BA’s, and raise our peak FCF [free cash flow] forecast again”.

“787 deferred production grew by less than expected $1.2B, much improved from $1.6-1.7B build in Q4 on similar production. We estimate deferred production per unit improved by $30-35M relative to Q4,” UBS analysts concurred in a note on 24 April.

Image Courtesy of New York Times

Interestingly, Boeing insists that the battery modification is not going to impact the 787’s unit cost significantly nor will it derail the progress achieved so far as the design and modification cost is going to be spread over the accounting block of 1,100 units.

“Period costs and particularly around R&D and around our root cause investigation redesign, the testing of that and then also our estimated cost of incurring the repair for our customers fleet going forward. So, that’s what was primarily reflected there. And as far as the cost base as you referred to in the 1,100 units there was a slight increase there for the additional retrofit on the undelivered airplanes throughout the balance of the cost base,” Boeing chief financial officer (CFO) Greg Smith contended. 

“Well, we managed to absorb this. So, it was really a matter of priorities and we re-shifted our priorities and our people onto this effort from other efforts. It’s minimal within the accounting block,” Smith reiterated.

While Boeing declines to put a figure on the battery fix, the US Federal Aviation Administration has pegged the modification cost to United Airlines’ 6 Boeing 787-8s at US$2.8 million or US$466,667 per airplane. By the same token, should the cost remain the same for 115 airplanes produced, the total one-off cost should be US$53.7 million. Fixing the 50 examples in the worldwide fleet alone costs US$23.3 million.

Meanwhile, Boeing has taken the opportunity to improve the 787’s components, one of which was the faulty electrical panel that preluded the 787’s grounding. Japanese carrier ANA Holdings Inc. reported 3 instances of electrical panel faults in 2012, including the most serious one in April 2012 where it found burns in the electrical panel’s protection circuit, Reuters reported.

“The power panels were one, we’ve taken some actions to ensure the power panels that are on the airplane are of the intended quality and if they are not, we’re replacing them, part of the AOG team doing. Additionally, other components of the airplane such as generators up to the latest standard, in some cases installing hydraulic types that are more robust in certain areas,” Boeing vice president (VP) and chief project engineer Mike Sinnett clarified.

Sinnett said all these improvements will be retrofitted to all airplanes and that the 787’s in-service dispatch reliability stacks up against those of the 777s, the industry benchmark of higher than 95% before the grounding, and that it compares favourably to the 777 in terms of the number of reportable events, incidents that are required to be reported to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

On the other hand, the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on April 12 approved the General Electric GEnx-1B performance improvement package 2 (PIP 2) after conducting a test flight on ZA005 on April 6, Aviation Week reported. The GEnx-1B engine saw its effective fan diameter being increased by 0.5 inch, its outlet guide vanes (OGV), low-pressure compressor (LPC), high-pressure compressor (HPC) being improved in addition to a more durable high-pressure turbine (HPT), the Aviation Week report said.

This is crucial to enabling the Boeing 787 to be continuously improved and further increase its market appeal as being a uniquely positioned point-to-point aircraft as the GEnx-1B missed close to 3% in specific fuel consumption (SFC) before the PIP 1 clawing back 1.7% and the PIP 2 another 1%, of which General Electric (GE) officials are adamant that these will enable the GEnx-1B engine to meet or be slightly better than the original SFC specification.

Similarly, Rolls-Royce is expected to introduce the Trent 1000-TEN (Thrust Efficiency New Technology) in the first half of 2016, which will incorporate improvements from the Trent XWB and slash the Trent 1000 Package B’s specific fuel consumption (SFC) by 3%, whereas the Package B is understood to still be 3% higher than the original engine SFC, Aspire Aviation‘s sources at Boeing say (“Boeing is in no rush to fast-track future widebody strategy“, 27th Nov, 12). The Package A engine was said to have missed original SFC target by 4.3%.

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Image Courtesy of Boeing

787-10: a new industry medium to long-haul workhorse
While the 787’s return to commercial service, coupled with the maturing 787 production system and Boeing’s tightened quality control at a component level would bring a catharsis to 787 customers, the potential launch of the game-changing 323-seat 787-10X would invariably mark a watershed moment for the 787 programme and unleashes latent demand for the aircraft, which looks promising once again with the formal launch “Gate 4” coinciding this year’s Paris Air Show in June.

Importantly, the 787-10 is going to be a highly efficient industry workhorse replacing both the Airbus A330-200 and -300 in markets where the extra range of the Airbus A350 is not required while its mission creep would also make it an ideal replacement for the Boeing 777-200ER as well. The aircraft, with a maximum take-off weight (MTOW) of 250,800kg (552,919lbs), maximum landing weight (MLW) of 201,800kg and a maximum zero fuel weight (MZFW) of 192,800kg, will have a length of 68.28m (224ft). It is a 5.49m (18ft) stretch of the 280-seat Boeing 787-9 with a 5-frame and 4-frame stretch in the forward and aft fuselages, respectively.

Boeing has recently boosted the double-stretched variant’s range to 7,100nm (nautical miles) with a higher engine thrust powering the now slightly higher gross weight aircraft, according to Air Lease Corporation (ALC) founder and chief executive Steven Udvar Hazy, the godfather of the aircraft leasing industry. Both of the General Electric GEnx-1B PIP 2 (performance improvement package) and Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-TEN engines powering the 787-10X are capable of generating 78,000lbs of thrust.

This enables the aircraft to cover 95% and 92% of all A330-200 and 777-200ER missions, respectively, based on the former’s and latter’s respective ranges of 7,500nm and 7,725nm, while flying 10.9% farther than the 242-tonne A330-300 whose range stands at 6,400nm.

Indeed, when one considers its 25% block fuel burn reduction over the A330-300 and that the A350-900 has a 24% larger empennage, a 20% larger wing and a heavier airframe, it is apparent that the 787-10X offers the right mix of payload/range and fuel burn saving that combined translates into the most efficient medium to long-haul airplane with a 10% lower cash operating cost (COC), a 4% lower relative trip cost and a 8% lower relative seat-mile cost on a 6,000nm mission than the A350-900, as well as holding a 5% COC advantage over the 350-seat A350-1000 on such sectors (“Launch of Boeing 787-10X has implications on 777X programme“, 22nd Oct, 12).

For example, the 323-seat 787-10X would perfectly replace the Airbus A330-300s and Boeing 777-200s/300s on intra-Asia routes where 3 to 4 daily sectors could be flown on each aircraft. A snapshot of the Asia/Pacific Airbus A330-300 fleet would provide a picture of a large replacement market, where carriers such as Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways has 36 examples in its fleet plus 11 on order and its wholly-owned subsidiary Dragonair’s 18 examples; Singapore Airlines (SIA) has 20 in its fleet plus another 14 due to be delivered; China Eastern Airlines (CEA) has 15 A330-300s and 13 A330-200s, with another 8 on order; Air China has 30 A330-200s and 10 -300s with another 1 and 13 on order, respectively; China Southern Airlines has 16 A330-200s and 8 -300s with another 16 -300s remaining on its backlog, not to mention the 18 additional examples ordered by China yesterday.

As these Airbus A330s begin to age, the 787-10X will be highly sought-after as airlines clamour for fuel efficiency and that the -10X’s 25% fuel burn saving would be difficult to be negated simply by heavy discounting as fuel accounts for as much as 40% of cash operating cost (COC) these days.

The economic growth in Asia/Pacific that spurs air travel demand within the region will only strengthen the demand for the 787-10X, a region where passenger traffic measured in revenue passenger kilometre (RPK) is forecast to grow by 6.4% annually in, requiring 3,230 new twin-aisle airplanes over the next 20 years, according to Boeing’s latest current market outlook (CMO).

The tremendous amount of flexibility of the 787-10X does not end with intra-Asia flights. Its mission creep means the aircraft is now able to fly transatlantic sectors from Western Europe to North America comfortably in addition to from Western Europe to South America. A recent decision by the International Airlines Group (IAG) to exercise 18 options for the 787 Dreamliner to replace British Airways’ fuel-guzzling 747-400 made clear of the oneworld member’s likely intention to select the 323-seat -10X variant to fly to South American routes such as London Heathrow-Buenos Aires (EZE), London Heathrow-Sao Paulo (GRU) and London Heathrow-Rio de Janeiro (GIG) that are respectively 5,965nm, 5,065nm, 4,954nm long and flights to Vancouver, Los Angeles and San Francisco that are 4,080nm, 4,713nm and 4,637nm long, respectively (“International Airlines Group entering a new dawn in 2013“, 17th Apr, 13).

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Image Courtesy of Boeing

Replacing the 747-400 on these routes will yield significant fuel burn saving as Boeing is understood to have touted the 787-10X as having a 35% lower block fuel burn than the ageing jumbo jet to potential airline customers for not only British Airways (BA), but also part of United Airlines’ and Lufthansa’s 747-400 fleet of which the former flies the jumbo on San Francisco-London Heathrow and Los Angeles-Frankfurt routes while the latter flies the jumbo between Frankfurt and Chicago and San Francisco.

All these reflect the underlying robustness of the 787-10X’s business case and strong latent demand waiting to be unleashed as soon as it is formally launched. Importantly, Aspire Aviation reiterates its belief that successfully ramping up the 787 production beyond 10 a month is a pre-requisite to provide sufficient delivery slots to customers with its service entry in 2018-2019. With confidence building in the 787 production ramp-up to 10 per month by the end of 2013, bringing the highly-popular airplane to the market as early as possible, perhaps 2017, remains key to realising its fullest potential given the foundation of stretching the -9 further has already been laid which requires minimal capital investment beyond those required by a yet another hike in production rate.

“I think obviously the stability at 10, the supply chain’s capacity to do the 10 with possible higher rates, if that’s what the marketplace supports, are the key questions. The cost of doing this airplane and the technical risk of doing it is not high. There is some capital – there would be some capital involved probably. But I think we’re feeling very good about all of those issues,” Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney said.

“So, we just want to get through what we’re getting through right now. We want to feel good about the production environment that we feel increasingly confident in and when that all comes together and I’d anticipate sooner rather than later we’re going to be making a call here. We’d have to sort through that because if it did require taking up rate that would add a little more time into it.

I would say the one thing that we don’t lack forward the -10 is demand. Customers want this airplane and so we’re being pushed to get this airplane out. This is more us being disciplined about feeling comfortable with the business case and about the stability of the manufacturing environment overall before we add something else to it, sooner rather than later,” McNerney contended.

Yet the devil is in the details. No matter how promising the 787-10X is or how the smaller 787-8 and -9 variants will revolutionise the long-haul market by bypassing hubs and creating new point-to-point connections between smaller cities, thereby making this world a smaller and better place while enabling airlines to make profit on these routes which would otherwise be economically unfeasible, these ongoing technical glitches have subtly dented airlines’ confidence in Boeing’s ability to deliver on its promises.

One such example would be British Airways’ firm order for 18 Airbus A350-1000s plus another 18 options where people familiar with the matter lamented neither Airbus nor Boeing is able to supply aircraft fast enough to enable it to retire its 30 747-400s as well as the schedule risk it would have exposed the carrier to should it rely on a single aircraft manufacturer to supply the entirety of its long-haul fleet. Japan Airlines (JAL) chairman emeritus Kazuo Inamori has made similar remarks before media reports emerged that the loyal Boeing customer is evaluating a possible order for 20 A350-1000s.

As the Boeing 787 is poised to return to the skies on Saturday 27 April with Ethiopian Airlines, followed by other carriers such as United Airlines’ resumption of 787 service May 31 on the Denver-Houston route and the launch of Denver-Tokyo Narita route on June 10, and LOT Polish Airlines’ on the Warsaw-Chicago route from June 5 onwards, Boeing must rebuild customers’ confidence in the company by executing the 787 programme well and it cannot afford to “over-promise” and “under-deliver” when designing future variants or new airplanes such as the Boeing 777X where a mini-jumbo war is already being waged as the stakes involved are simply too high (“Boeing 777X to spark mini-jumbo war“, 28th Mar, 13).

I think we may be in an era where we can absorb somewhat less risk and still deliver a lot of performance. 30 years from now will there be some new technology that we’ll all wrestle with? Probably. Hopefully there will be enough people in Boeing that are here today that will remember the lessons learned from the [7]87, I hope so. I’m old. I’ll be on a beach somewhere then,” Boeing chairman, president and chief executive Jim McNerney conceded on Wednesday’s conference call.

In conclusion, in spite of the battery fiasco and the bumpy rides all along, there is a silver lining as the business case of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner remains sound and that its 180-minute extended twin engine operations (ETOPS) emerges unscathed from the battery incidents, along with its balance sheet. The 787-9 and the as-yet-launched 787-10 are going to bring the 787 programme to even greater heights. What remains to be seen, however, is whether this will be the final “unknown unknowns” of the 787 programme. From the quite progress being achieved, the Boeing 787 looks to be finally a dream come true.

As the Japanese old saying goes, “The more difficult the birth, the more beloved a child is”. In the 787’s case, that could not be more true.

Image Courtesy of Bloomberg

Image Courtesy of Bloomberg

Boeing’s presentation slides on US FAA battery certification >>
Boeing 787 US FAA battery certification teleconference transcript >>
Boeing 2013 first-quarter earnings conference call highlights >>

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29 comments

  1. "how the smaller 787-8 and -9 variants will revolutionise the long-haul market by bypassing hubs and creating new point-to-point connections between smaller cities, thereby making this world a smaller and better place while enabling airlines to make profit on these routes which would otherwise be economically unfeasible,"

    "Boeing must rebuild customers’ confidence in the company by executing the 787 programme well and it cannot afford to “over-promise” and “under-deliver” when designing future variants or new airplanes "

    "- First 787-9 LN126 ‘slightly underweight’
    – First 787-9 final assembly to start in May
    - 787-9 first flight in Aug/Sep & EIS in April 2014"

    First flight of the yet to be assembled 787-9 in Aug/Sept, so in 4-5 months.

    And we all know it can't be true but love to believe/ repeat it.

    In my opinion an amazing communication culture, that hasn't changed a bit over the last 8 years.

    Reply
  2. Now that Boeing knows how to put a 787 together, it's not hard to weigh the parts and figure out approximately where the empty weight stands. So I would say that the two statements are not mutually exclusive at all.

    As for the dynamic setup between the 787-9 and -10, Boeing certainly must like their position. In addition to the first mover advantage, the -9 has all but killed off the A358 before it is even born. Even the A359 stands to be severely harmed by the -9 and the -10 (which can do most of the A359's real world missions). This is evidenced by A350 customers' strong preference towards the -1000 as of late (BA, CX, etc). To add insult to injury, it appears the lion's share of A330's will eventually be replaced by -10s. To date, there is no answer from Airbus to the -10. The same cannot be said for the A350-1000, which has a direct challenge from the 778/9X. Then, there is the massive size gap between the -1000 and the A380. Boeing has the 747-8I now, and in time will add the 779X.

    Whose shoes would you rather be in???

    Reply
    1. "Even the A359 stands to be severely harmed by the -9 and the -10 (which can do most of the A359′s real world missions). This is evidenced by A350 customers’ strong preference towards the -1000 as of late (BA, CX, etc). To add insult to injury, it appears the lion’s share of A330′s will eventually be replaced by -10s. To date, there is no answer from Airbus to the -10".

      Not sure Scratch how you came to this: there are 415 A359s booked already (as against 355 for the 789; and 110 for the A350-1000) so hardly a dud, and not much evidence of a big shift to to the A350-1000. The A359 has the same seating cacity as the 787-10 but greater range; so it seems that is the answer; it will depend on the range and for longer range the A359 may make better senes than the smaller 789. The 787-10 will suite those who want a common type such as QANTAS who will replace their A333s with 787-10s as the range is comparable for those medium range routes, and the commonality with the 9 makes sense but those with bigger international fleets will end up having both or going with the A359.

      Reply
  3. Scratch, the 777x and 787-10 were to be lauched soon 5 and 8 years ago. If they were a real good business case and the customers were stumbling ovr eachother to get them, Boeing would have launched them years ago.

    With the A321 GTF NEO, A350-1000, A380, A400 EIS, 11 A330s a month, Chinese & US assembly lines, Airbus sits in a rock solid position. With optional A321, A350, A380 stretches and A330(F) NEO, they can easily throw oil on the fire. The backlogs and share price show it.

    Boeing with its 747-8 ROI worries, 787 grounding and weak MAX offering has to recover and react at the same time while rebuilding credibility. A new CEO would be a good start.

    Reply
  4. Keesje,

    It seems you are quite adept at changing the conversation. So, I'll bite...

    The reason the 777X and -10X have not already launched has been a shortage of engineering resources. Between 787, 748, and now 737Max; Boeing is stretched quite thin from what I hear. There is certainly demand for both the 777X and -10X, probably more so than all the other widebody Boeings combined going forward.

    I never questioned Airbus' backlog. Yet, it seems apparent that Boeing has (will have) them out dueled in the wide body market. 787-8/9/10 have the two smaller A350 models beat. The A350-1000 will have pressure from both sides with the 787 and 777X (same type rating btw), which is to say nothing of the existing 77W customers seeking commonality. Airbus has sold the farm to compete with the 77W, and they have given up the space the A330 operates in today. Boeing will benefit from that with the -10X.

    There is no doubt that both Boeing and Airbus will continue to sell narrow bodies in large numbers. Will the NEO beat the Max? I doubt it, but it is possible if the GTF technology turns out to be the next holy grail of commercial aviation. I do not think fan size alone wins the game for Airbus. Call me old school.

    Wrt freighters, Airbus has one option. Boeing has three and dominates conversions, past and present.

    As for ROI with 747-8, it looks grim at the moment. However, there are hundreds of 747Fs which require replacement. So, the 747-8 line will continue to run for decades to come as those aircraft become uneconomic in the face of rising oil prices.

    Has Airbus made money off the A380 program yet? No. How many of those will have to be sold before it breaks even? Unknown, depends on wing crack issue. So I like the long-term ROI case for the 787, and even the 748, more than the A380. We'll have to wait and see about the A350's financials.

    FYI, BA's market capitalization (S70BUS) more than doubles that of EADS (S33BUS). So bringing up share price seems to be a bit of a losing argument in that regard. Granted, Boeing has a much larger defense sector than does EADS. That said, I do agree that a change of CEO is due.

    Reply
  5. "And we all know it can’t be true but love to believe/ repeat it."

    Hi keesje,
    I seem to recall that, back at the end of 2011, you said essentially the same things about Boeing's promise to deliver 35 788's and to increase the production rate to 5 frames/month by the end of 2012. Those promises came true. Boeing has also made good on the 788 weight reduction, albeit a bit late at LN-103 instead of LN~95. I understand that Boeing has failed to deliver on schedule many times during the 787 program, but for the last 1.5 years or so, that seems to have changed.

    I'm not quite sure why you are doubting the 789 weight statements. This has been talked about for almost 9 months now. Likewise, the start of 789 final assembly in May has been on schedule for quite some time as well. At any rate, we will know in 2 weeks when the plane spotters will report whether or not the parts start arriving.

    I'll echo the uncertainty of the first flight because even though the 787 production system is running fairly well, the 789 is a significant derivative and issues will crop up. One thing is for certain however, Boeing will not roll out the 789 until it is complete. I think they have learned their lesson on this point.

    Reply
  6. I'ts good to see the unit cost coming down. While exponential learning curves are idealized models and don't track the cost reductions exactly, comparing two learning curves can give a good indication of whether or not production costs are getting reigned in.

    Last year, there was roughly a 50% cost reduction from LN-8 to LN-75 which put 787 production on a 21% learning curve. Currently the cost reduction is about 60% between LN-8 to LN-100 which puts 787 production on a 25% learning curve. I'm not saying that the unit cost will continue to decrease according to the 25% curve, but the fact that units LN-76 to LN-100 improved the learning curve fit is proof that the production system is becoming more efficient.

    Reply
  7. "I understand that Boeing has failed to deliver on schedule many times during the 787 program, but for the last 1.5 years or so, that seems to have changed."

    Yes, deliveries stopped in January. What positive about it?

    "Has Airbus made money off the A380 program yet? No. How many of those will have to be sold before it breaks even? Unknown, depends on wing crack issues"

    And I don't know either, but we shouldn't blow the "wing crack" issue up. We know the skin attachments brackets we are talking about here. It's a maintenance issue and isn't grounding any A380. Hundreds of millions in damage. Not more. Enders admitted they "f.cked' up publicly. Something I never heard the always upbeat McNerney say baout any subject.

    Regarding the stock prices, the famously ever upbeat Boeing quaterly's don't miss out & every
    body wants to be excited about Boeing. But over the longer term the numbers don't lie.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=BA+Interactive#symbol=ba;range=5y;compare=ead.f;indicator=volume;charttype=area;crosshair=on;ohlcvalues=0;logscale=off;source=undefined;

    On the first flight of the 787-9 in Aug/Sep, if you really believe that, after all we have seen on the 787 over the last 8 years, well, what can I say? .. Boeing PR is still is convincing for some? Or their are Boeing supporters that are easy to seduce with happy forecasts?

    I hope the 787-9 will be close to its specs. It seems a right specified aircraft to me and could become very successful, if Boeing can stop the stream of unexpected disappointments that hurt the 787 program so far. The 787-10 would no doubt have great economics too, specially medium haul with 9 abreast in the back. It lacks the lift of the 777-200ER and payload-range efficiencies of the A350s.

    For the 777X, hopefully Boeing can avoid it becomes a 747-8/ MAX kind of re-engining. Billions of investments/ 5-7 years time to market for a so so product.

    Jon Ostrower just did a good analyses on the 747-8. IMO its future depends on the world economy and oil prices. If cargo recovers and oil stays high, the 747-8F has little competition in the next decade and probably good margin and a realistic ROI.
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323798104578450774194660476.html

    Reply
    1. Obviously the battery issue caught them by surprise. The conspiracy theorists will try to argue that Boeing knew that the battery was going to fail like it did all along, but I find no evidence to support that.

      So, you don't think Boeing has delivered on any of the 787 promises made, huh? Well, I guess you must think that once the program is late it is always late. That puts the 787 in the same company as the A380, A350, and 747-8 programs.

      It's apparent you won't believe anything Boeing says related to schedule or performance until you see it. That's fine, because I really do understand your point of view. However, if the production system continues to operate how it has been since October 2012, post grounding 2013 looks pretty good. Also, if the 787-8 fuel burn was better than promised with an overweight frame and out of spec engines, the 787-9 is going to be a real performer from the start especially, the GEnx-2B powered version. The weight is well under control, you'll see.

      The fact that Boeing made good on the 787 promises in 2012 is not enough, but it's a start.

      Reply
  8. The reality is that before the battery problem Boeing was starting to meet and even exceed their goals.

    Yes the program was a mess previously and the battery problem was spin off of that. So many issues that when the clues were there it was amidst a lot of background noise and all of those were impacting the aircraft and schedule. One that did not seem to was given a pass even if it turned out to be a problem. You do the best you can with whats in front of you.

    If you look at what they knew then, the decisions were reasonable.

    While the battery was a nasty one, it was not something so inherent as to halt the program. Its been dealt with beyond any question. A structural issue or a failure of the composites to perform would have been far far worse and that has not happened (quite the opposite as they are taking weight out at an amazing rate).

    The basic aircraft has proven to have zero issues and as long as the foundation is good, the rest can be corrected (and has been)

    Every possible aspect of the battery has been addressed and while there may be failures, they will not rise to anything higher than the lavatory is backed up.

    Boeing did answer the one question I had and that was they can continue a flight without the battery though Pilots may choose to divert.

    The 787-9 is unlikely to have anything more than minor problems, the pipeline is working and the parts will come in as advertised (maybe some minor exceptions you find on any aircraft).

    The -10 is moving along and will get a go and looks to be a huge winner and money maker (premium as the 777 as there is no competitor to match and its off the list of variants that can be swapped into)

    Charleston will get a second production line and the third line at Everett is going to be a full time line (probably -9 and -10s). When the -10 orders start to come in the backlog is going to jump over 1000 very quickly.

    Long term Airbus is going to be in a very limited nitch in Wide body aircraft. The reasons they are pushing the 1000 with such good deals is that the -800 is gone, the 900 is going to be a low seller and the only opening is the narrow band that the 1000 fills.

    The A380 will continue to sell in very limited numbers and you will see them dropping production rates soon as well. And they only think they have fixed the wing, only time will tell if they have or they have another round or two.

    Reply
    1. I think the A330-300 is produced at 7-8 a month, while the 777-200/200ER/LR production is close to completed. So while the 777-200 versions beat the A340-200/300, its smaller sister, the A330, came back next day and balanced the score.

      The unpopular, ignored Part II to of the "777 Beat A340" story I guess.

      Part III script being Boeing creates a game changing Carbon A330 within 4 years to hit back. After a big media Dream campaign, tickets were sold out in no time.

      Part IV is scheduled, "The Return of the 777"? to fight off the invasion of the evil eXtra Wide Bodies?

      Reply
  9. I think Greg hammered home my initial point which is:

    How is Airbus going to compete in the wide body markets with 2 products?

    They will have the A350 and A380. Two of the three A350 versions are falling rapidly out of favor (the 800 and 900). Boeing has them completely surrounded with the 787 program on the smaller end and the 77W/X and 747-8 programs on the top end.

    Airbus is essentially surrendering the A330's market to the 787-10. In 5-10 years, the A330 will be the today's 767 (selling at enormous discounts) while the -10 becomes the new and improved A330.

    How can Airbus just stand by and watch this happen?

    The A330 is Airbus' only big success (financially) in the wide body market. IMO, they were so distraught by the the 777's annihilation of the A340 that they forgot where their bread was being buttered. Airbus has so zealously chased the 777 with the A350 that Boeing has sneaked into the EADS hen house and is going to eat all egg laying chickens with the 787-10, despite it being half a decade late.

    Now that is massive screw up by the bosses at Airbus. Maybe they will have to be sacked...

    Reply
    1. One of the reasons for the A330 success was that it was the only game in town. The 5 year delay on the 787 left the door open for a long time in which airbus could get frames out much sooner than the 787.
      The airlines needed a replacement for the many 767's that were quite old and the A330 was the only logical choice.
      If the 787-9 and the 787-10 can meet production deadlines and I believe the 787-8 has provided a wealth of hard learned lessons for Boeing, the 787 will become the fleet mainstay of many airlines that will have a choice of one airframe with seating from 250 to 323.

      Reply
      1. Agree. And one frame seating 280-350 more comfortable and carrying more cargo.

        I firmly believe the 787-9 could do well. It seems to have the right dimensions and specs. Plus, as you say, Boeing had the lessons learned from the 787-8. Will it fly in August? Of course not, get real! How many times does one have to hit the wall to open ones eyes? ;)

        Reply
  10. The 787-8 is small. There have been many cancellations and upgrades to the 787-9.

    Boeing has no real ~300 seat long haul aircraft to replace the 777-200ER and A340-300, the long haul sweet spot. The 777-8 will be bigger and heavier and the 787-10 will lack the payload-range. It basicly lacks wing, making it a (very efficient) medium range aircraft. Thats why airlines ordered the A350-900 instead for flights to/from Asia.

    After years of dismissing the A350-1000 and creating doubts, things are going "wrong" again. BA, JAL, UA, SQ, LH just don't understand. Some others don't follow up on phone calls. Code red again in Chicago. Le Bourget will be interesting.

    Reply
  11. I'm a non industry geek who has followed the 787 story from the time it was the 7E7. As a member of the flying public, I have little fail in Boeing's spin machine. Let's call a fire a fire, not an "overheating incident". I'm not sure if I want to be halfway across the Pacific with a battery burning away at "only" 125 degree C.

    Would any of the above posters get on a 787 in the next 12 months?

    I'll end up flying in one, and still am excited by the technical advances of the 787. But I now have little faith in Boeing's bullshitting ( compared to the old Boeing which did the 777). I'd wait 5 years and actively avoid it.

    I really hope there won't be another incident, or God forbid a crash.

    Reply
    1. "Would any of the above posters get on a 787 in the next 12 months?"

      Yes, I would.

      Reply
      1. So would I.

        Reply
  12. I would as well and would have even if they had not replaced the battery. It was not a good thing and had to be fixed, but all the data shows it did not damage structure or imperil the aircraft.

    Regardless, as long as Boeing is meeting its stated metrics (and they are now) you have to accept their word for it unless they start missing. As the cut into this phase and production is their bread and butter and they have done it well for a long time, I do not expect that.

    Whats being missed and or mis-stated is that the aircraft size as well as range is a balance.

    What works for one airline, does not work for another. In some cases if there is no competitor aircraft, it makes no difference as any operator is using the same equipment and then its the airline efficiency that decides. That’s why sometimes one airline goes with one type as overall it works better even not the most efficient for every route and the other goes with another as their routes don't have to compromise and variations in between. Lufthansa bought the 747-8I as apparently it suited enough of the routes and at the efficiency they needed that the A380 would not. Lufthansa did not do that lightly as there is a major cost of another long range 4 engine aircraft in the fold.

    The 767 class is viable (that’s what the 787-8 and 9 are), it was not viable at the efficiencies of the 767. If Boeing had upgraded that (new engines and wing) then it would have been interesting. The reality is that s where its at now, Airbus copied it as best they could but moved up in size and Boeing is taking the best out of that program to use on the 777X program.

    Airbus gave up that 767 class when they dropped the A300/310, Boeing revived it with the 787 (and if you look at the route its going to be used for it does exactly what Boeing said it would so they did know what was needed).

    On the other hand, Airbus had a phenomenal success with the A330 class and Boeing did not have a direct competitor. Realistically its a bit bigger than the 787-9 and they should have upgraded that aircraft (despite the cries) and they would have had a very viable competitor in that category. Composite wing and new engines and it would do the same thing the 777x is intended to do (and no one is crying about that move). With the A350 they moved up another notch in the market size and abandoned the A330 segment (and are refusing to even upgrade the engine which many of the A330 customer base is calling for. It could still be viable if they would but so far not (that could change). Viable means close enought that the current operators stick with it, not that it would be as efficent as a 787-10 (which covers most of its routes). There is still a huge cost to change and for a lot that would be the deciding factor to stick with the A330.

    The 787-10 does put the hurt on the A330 in the long run (essentially it will kill it sans an upgrade) How long depends on how Boeing approaches production of the787 (how many lines of 787). As they can do 4, if they open up Line 2 in Charleston it could ramp up very fast. That will be interesting one to follow.

    Airbus can't touch the 777-9. How successful the -8 is will be interesting, but it will compete direct with the A350-1000. There are not too many actual head to head versions in the wide body (they are offset a bit here or there passenger or range wise or both).

    Airbus will have success where a fine tuning of the A350-900 and the 1000 matches up and the slightly heavier 777 can't compete.

    Airbus has not even got the A350 into the air, you can expect further delays for entry into service. How long and how bad the problems are is going to be telling.

    What no one has mentioned is that upwards of 70% of the structure is changed from the early build A350s to the production birds. Its so bad they are building them in blocks and will be into the third major change by the time they hit 30 aircraft. That shows how major a problem they have with that program. So, before you compare, wait until you see what the program delivers then you will have fair comparisons with the 787. Its far from a done deal and Airbus will hit their rough spots, some may be show stoppers.

    And one other one that no one has mentioned that has been a real success. While the 777-200LR is not selling large numbers, the freighter based on it is. You need to roll those two numbers together and its been hugely successful. Airlines that need both will likely go with all 777X as it makes sense.

    Also interesting will be what happens to the 777F when the shift to the 777X takes place.

    Reply
  13. And of note, the 787-9 is 3 weeks ahead of its assembly target.

    Again, Boeing continues to meet or even exceed their metrics and the A350 has yet to fly.

    Reply
  14. "And of note, the 787-9 is 3 weeks ahead of its assembly target.
    Again, Boeing continues to meet or even exceed their metrics and the A350 has yet to fly."

    Surrealistic enthousiasm. Qantas was expecting their first 787-9 in 2011.
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/qantas-deal-sees-launch-of-787-9-203644/

    Reply
    1. "Surrealistic enthousiasm. Qantas was expecting their first 787-9 in 2011."

      We all know the 787-9 is late by the same amount as the 787-8 because it is part of the same program. However, the engineering start for the 787-9 was delayed because of problems with the 787-8. It's not that additional delays to the 787-9 part of the program cropped up. The 787-9 part of the program has run very smoothly, so far.

      If you are going to insist on comparing the current state of the 787 program to the original program plans, then you have to compare the current state of the A350 program to its original plans as well. As far a I know, the A350 program is at least 2 years behind its original schedule, and it has yet to fly. That is the point that Greg Schmitz was making with regard to the A350.

      What is surreal is claiming that the A350 program is being run much better in terms of schedule than the 787 program. One is 2+ years late and the other is 3.5 years late.

      Reply
  15. [...] with a three-layered protection contained in Boeing’s battery modification plan (“Boeing 787 is a dream come true, again.“, 26th Apr, 13), JAL plans to reinstate the 787 beginning 1 June on routes such as Tokyo [...] Reply
  16. [...] weight (MEW) targets whereas LN126, the first 787-9 to be built, is slightly underweight (“Boeing 787 is a dream come true, again.“, 26th Apr, [...] Reply
  17. [...] of the 777-200ER’s 7,725nm range and 86.4% of the A350-900′s 8,100nm mission (“Boeing 787 is a dream com true, again.“, 26th Apr, 13), despite carrying 67 more passengers and 41.6% more revenue cargo than the [...] Reply
  18. [...] pipe that vents any gases and electrolytes generated by a melting battery overboard (“Boeing 787 is a dream come true, again.“, 26th Apr, [...] Reply
  19. […] a titanium pipe that vents any gases and electrolytes generated by a melting battery overboard (“Boeing 787 is a dream come true, again.“, 26th Apr, […] Reply
  20. the 787 grounding and The DC-10 grounded are not the same

    Cargo door problem
    The DC-10, L1011 and 747 was designed with cargo doors that opened outward instead of conventional inward-opening "plug-type" doors which, due to their being larger than the door frame, make opening the door impossible once the plane is pressurized. Using outward-opening doors allowed the DC-10's cargo area to be completely filled since the door was not occupying usable space.
    The American Airlines McDonnell Douglas DC-10 that crash in 1979
    was cause by United and American line using a fork lift to change the engines that damage the engine pylon and American airline did not buy The first officer's control column was not equipped with a stick shaker; the device was offered by McDonnell Douglas as an option for the first officer, but American Airlines chose not to have it installed on its DC-10 fleet. Stick shakers for both pilots became mandatory in response to this accident
    Nothing to do with the design of the aircraft.
    Where was the FAA with 737 rudders problems and 747 problems
    The Dc-10 aircraft are now coming out of service after 41 years and the Md-11 are still in service
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Airlines_Flight_191
    FedEx still has 127 Dc-10,MD-10, MD-11 still in service

    The 747 engine mounting pin, cargo doors that open in flight on United flight 811 and the pressure bulkhead repair on JAL 747 flight 123 repair that kill all on board and the 737 rudder problems that cause several 737 aircraft to crash has never cause a grounding for Boeing
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Airlines_Flight_123
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_737_rudder_issues
    After 4 years of problems with the 787 making the news alone with the 747 and 737 the FAA decide to inspected Boeing aircrafts

    the 787 was grounded after long list of problems and from July to the present the 787 are still having problems

    Boeing 787 Dreamliner: a timeline of problems - Telegraph

    www.telegraph.co.uk › Travel › Travel News
    the 787 was start on 3-28-2003 and only 83 delivery

    Reply
  21. […] to the skies in late April following a battery redesign that entails a 3-layered solution (“Boeing 787 is a dream come true, again.“, 26th Apr, 13), including a steel case that can withstand an explosion, a titanium tube […] Reply

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