More 787 woes?

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More 787 woes?

Post by bollox » 15 Aug 2009, 17:21

Just read this:
August 14, 2009
Boeing said on Friday an Italian supplier stopped production in June on two sections of its long-delayed 787 Dreamliner after structural flaws were found on fuselages.

Alenia Aeronautica halted production because of wrinkles in the fuselage skin caused by flaws in subcomponents of the one-piece composite barrel, said Boeing spokeswoman Loretta Gunter.

Flaws were found on 23 planes, starting with the seventh in production, Gunter said. She said a solution has been designed and patches will be applied to all the planes built so far.

"They're continuing to work on the barrels that they have already fabricated," Gunter said.

"As we implement this change, we are not going to produce any new barrels until there is an engineering change that will keep the subsequent units from needing to be modified," she said.

While the company said this revelation does not affect the timetable for its first 787 test flight or deliveries of the aircraft, Boeing shares fell more than 4 percent on the New York Stock Exchange.

"Two months ago they stopped production on (the sections)," said Alex Hamilton, analyst at Jesup & Lamont. "I would argue that it's already baked in. I think it's just more bad news."

"That's what the stock is reacting to," Hamilton said. "The perception from investors is it's getting worse and worse."

The revolutionary carbon-composite 787 has been delayed repeatedly. On June 23, the same day as the Alenia Aeronautica production halt, Boeing announced another delay to the first test flight of the 787.

The company has not set a new target date for the flight. Airlines with orders for the plane are eager for an updated delivery schedule. Boeing data show 850 orders for the plane.

Alenia Aeronautica, a unit of Italy's aerospace and defence company Finmeccanica, is supplying 14 percent of the fuselage of the 787.

" any case the (developments) have not had and will not have any effect on the timing of the first flight of the 787, on the certification of the aircraft or on the start of deliveries to clients," Finmeccanica said in a statement.

The company is a key player in the development of the 787 aircraft's main structure and builds carbon fibre pieces for the aircraft.


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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by fretn » 15 Aug 2009, 18:41

When will the luck for the 787 come back, Boeing doesn't really make a good experience lately with it's 787.
Could it be possible that the A350 might be finished earlier? or the 747-800?

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by PYX » 16 Aug 2009, 04:35

From Randy's Blog:

"787 / Alenia

We’ve gotten a number of questions and seen numerous media reports about a “stop-work” order involving one of our major 787 partners.

So I wanted to clarify a few things about what you might be reading or hearing. The reports discuss work conducted at Alenia Aeronautica, the Dreamliner partner that builds the all-composite sections 44 and 46 of the 787 fuselage.

As the 787 program noted today, the issue involves adding relatively simple patches to the fuselage sections of about 25 airplanes. The repairs will not have a significant impact on the 787 program either in cost or schedule.

What we want to emphasize, and what’s not made clear in a lot of the coverage today is that minor fixes such as these are not uncommon at this stage in airplane development and production. This is not a safety-of-flight issue, either.

Boeing determined in June, after detailed inspections, that there were microscopic wrinkles in the skin plies (or layers) of fuselage sections produced by Alenia at its Grottaglie, Italy, facility. The solution is a simple patch at two locations - to restore full structural margins.

By the way, this solution has already been designed and is being installed now at Global Aeronautica in South Carolina. It will be installed on completed fuselage sections in Italy and here in Everett.

This issue would not have caused a delay in first flight, and did not appear on any of the first seven fuselage units, which include the first five flight-test airplanes, as well as the static and fatigue-test airplanes.

Posted on 14 August 2009" ... lenia.html

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by bollox » 16 Aug 2009, 15:30

Found more data on the problems. It seems that Boeing has been "economic with the truth" on their problems.
I ask myself ' how do you get the wrinkles out without affecting the structural integrity of the barrels?"

By Jon Ostrower on August 13, 2009 9:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (48) | TrackBacks (0) |ShareThis
Alenia Aeronautica has halted production of two major 787 structural components due to wrinkles in the fuselage skin caused by manufacturing flaws in subcomponents of the one-piece composite barrel, according to a letter obtained by FlightBlogger.

The letter's subject: "SECTION 44 and 46 STOP WORK ORDER FOR BARREL" details a correspondence between Jay Campbell, sr. manager for supplier management for the 787 fuselage supply chain, James E. Simmons section 44/46 sr. engineering manager and Ciro Occipinti of Alenia Aeronautica in Naples, Italy.

The letter, signed and dated June 23 on Boeing letterhead, was sent the same day Boeing announced the latest delay in the program citing a need to reinforce the side of body structure.

Boeing and Alenia Aeronautica did not respond to multiple requests for comment. The status of production at Alenia's Grottaglie facility remains unknown at this hour.

This structural issue, sources say, appears entirely separate from the wing fix. Section 44 and 46 are two of the four major structural components that comprise the integrated center fuselage. Section 44, a bonnet section, sits directly on top of the center wing box (section 45/11) while section 46, a complete barrel, is joined to the aft part of the center wing box.

Campbell and Simmons explain the justification behind the production halt as "related to stringer edge steps" causing wrinkles in the skin of the fuselage that were larger than previously "demonstrated during the [preproduction verification] PPV on these components."

Stringer edge steps, as one veteran composite engineer explains, comprise the stacks of the composite fibers that make up the longitudinal structure that is cured and bonded to the skin of the fuselage barrels to give it its strength.

The letter goes on to detail the recommendations for the proper step height of each layer of composite fiber, plus or minus a given tolerance. The letter says that the guide for building fuselage stringers includes a note that says that step heights beyond a given a specified tolerance "will lead to significant degradation of the structure."

The tolerances and dimensions of the stringer were specifically outlined in the letter and are not included in this report due to the proprietary nature of the information.

However, the letter continues:

"Boeing engineering evaluations of the cross-sections provided by Alenia demonstrate that negative margins exist in the line 7-19, and line 20 and on, configurations for section 46. Line 5 and 6 are still under evaluation. While efforts are underway to refine that analysis, it is doubtful that the negative margins will be recovered, and that repair of at least line 7-29 will be required."

Of those 25 shipsets, four have been delivered to final assembly in Everett, Wash, eight are undergoing center fuselage integration at Global Aeronautica in Charleston, S.C. and the remaining 13 are in Grottaglie, Italy.

Each 787 barrel section contains 80 stringers that run the length of the fuselage. The letter did not detail what portion of the 80 would require repair.

The size of the edge steps on the stringers, the letter says, were increased first on "line 5 when Alenia began using the GFM stringer manufacturing cell at Grottaglie."

Line 5 refers to Airplane Five or ZA005, the first General Electric GEnx powered 787, that entered final assembly in January of this year. Sections 44 and 46 were delivered by Alenia for integration at Global Aeronautica in April 2008.

GFM is a company that does milling, cutting, routing and forging of various materials, including composites components.

During the manufacturing process, the composite stringers are fabricated in a clean room, loaded onto the preformed mold, or mandrel, then are wrapped in a preset amount of carbon fiber tape. After lay-up, which is done by a robotic wrapping machine, the mandrel is bagged and moved to the autoclave for high temperature curing.

Boeing's instructions in the letter to Alenia was to complete any carbon fiber placement currently underway, but not to begin any additional bonding or curing of barrels.

According to the letter, specifications were authored to control the height of the "edge step" as a result of what was learned during preproduction verification (PPV). The letter states that Alenia determined it "cannot comply with the requirement" and had requested "that the step height control provisions be eliminated." Boeing concluded that "based on the structural analysis...this is unacceptable" because the wrinkles "represent a risk of a major repair to every unit that is built without engineering coverage."

Boeing's conclusions on this structural analysis were conducted on two scrapped barrel sections identified as being from Airplane 15 section 46 and Airplane 20 section 44. "Sections cuts from the scrapped AP15 barrel show wrinkle geometry well in excess of those found during the PPV." Adding that the specification "does not allow wrinkles in the skin, and the existing effects-of-defects data does not sufficiently characterize the structural performance of wrinkles of this magnitude."

Boeing has yet to provide a revised schedule, known internally Z18, that dictates the 787 production and delivery schedule to suppliers and airline customers. The company has said a revised planning schedule will be available by the end of September.

This structural issue appears to not affect the first flight planning for ZA001 through ZA004, but it is yet unknown if delivery planning of the early production aircraft will be impacted while this issue is being resolved.

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by rolibkk » 17 Aug 2009, 06:02

Is this an engineered or a patched plane? I mean seriously - would anyone ever buy a new car with so many patches applied?

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by regi » 17 Aug 2009, 23:54

prime time for 3M tape

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by smokejumper » 20 Aug 2009, 02:45

Never seems to end, does it?

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by RC20 » 20 Aug 2009, 05:46

There is a lot of Dreamlifter activity going through Anchorage, so the wing problems look to be moving right along

I think the race to watch is the A400 vs the 787, though the 747 could beat both of them (that would be cool to see the Queen of the Skies pull another one out of the hat!)

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by tolipanebas » 20 Aug 2009, 08:39

RC20 wrote:There is a lot of Dreamlifter activity going through Anchorage, so the wing problems look to be moving right along
The 787 has been moving right along for the past 2 years now, hasn't it? :roll:

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by sn26567 » 20 Aug 2009, 11:14

RC20 wrote:I think the race to watch is the A400 vs the 787
Airbus announces the first flight of the A400 before the end of this year.
ex Sabena #26567

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by RoMax » 20 Aug 2009, 11:50

rolibkk wrote:Is this an engineered or a patched plane? I mean seriously - would anyone ever buy a new car with so many patches applied?
Do you think that a car or a Airbus is perfect from the moment the prototype is finished?! Testing is to find such things. The wing of the A380 collapsed also sooner than Airbus expected by one of the tests, they need to fix that to with some of the production planes. Boeing has a lot of problems with the 787 and almost al the problems are caused by external company's. That is Airbus his problem to, external company's cause problems.

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by earthman » 20 Aug 2009, 17:21

MR_Boeing wrote: Boeing has a lot of problems with the 787 and almost al the problems are caused by external company's. That is Airbus his problem to, external company's cause problems.
Almost the whole 787 project is being done by external companies.

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by regi » 20 Aug 2009, 17:57

If somebody wants to blame subcontractors, let us also talk about the strike of months by Boeing mechanics.
There have been times that large companies / manufacturers did not have subcontractors. Reasons being:
  • there were no subcontractors capable of doing the demanded job
    there were no strong labour unions active in the large factories
    it was war time
But if your labourers push you to the limit, you subcontract the job to a smaller company. See the Vestas story on the Isle of Wight. It is - was - a factory employing 600 labourers to make the wings of the wind turbines for the most important wind turbine manufacturer in the world. Vestas decided to close down the plant. Do you think that Vestas has now wind turbines without blades ? :lol: Nope: there are at least 10 small subcontractors figthing to take over the job.

Do I agree with large company managment policies? Don't ask me and don't blame me. It are just the facts of living in this kind of capitalist society.

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by RoMax » 20 Aug 2009, 19:22

I am only saying that the most problems of the 787 are caused by external company's, I don't say Boeing (the management for sure) is perfect. Airbus has the same problems, external company's cause the most problems, but they are also good for the economy and so.

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by airazurxtror » 03 Sep 2009, 21:04

Scott Carson, head of Boeing Comercial aircraft, is to retire end 2009 and his successor has already taken the place : ... apter.html

Carson does not deny that the failure of the 787 program is the main cause of his retiring. A head manager who recognizes his failure is very rare indeed ( in Belgium, at any rate) !

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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by LX-LGX » 05 Sep 2009, 17:21

airazurxtror wrote:Scott Carson, head of Boeing Comercial aircraft, is to retire end 2009 and his successor has already taken the place : ... apter.html

Carson does not deny that the failure of the 787 program is the main cause of his retiring. A head manager who recognizes his failure is very rare indeed ( in Belgium, at any rate) !
I'm not a "head manager" myself - even not a lower manager - but it's a pity you haven't read his message to Boeing's staff yourself. Because contrary to what you say, Carson hasn't said that he is resigning because of the "failures" of the 787 program, but because those problems have been solved now.

Your remark "his successor has already taken the place" is from the same poor quality, as you will read in both men's messages:

Scott Carson:

An incredible journey

Today I am announcing my retirement from Boeing, effective at the end of the year. For me this is the end of a journey that began nearly 41 years ago when I joined Boeing for the first time. It has been an incredible journey. I have seen many changes but the constant throughout has been the amazing people of Boeing who believe so deeply in what we do, and are so proud of the products and services we provide our customers.

My decision is tied to many factors, but perhaps the most important reason for me was resetting the schedule on the 787. With this baseline in place the new leader will have a clear path forward. Tomorrow Jim Albaugh will assume the reins here at Commercial Airplanes. I have worked with Jim over the past 12 years and know him to be a strong and focused leader. Between now and the end of the year, I will help Jim as needed in the transition and assist on special projects for the company.

It has been my honor and privilege to work with each and every one of you over the past three years in my present capacity, and before that in the Sales organization. Throughout my career I have treasured the rewarding experience of working with and serving our customers around the world. It has been one of the great highlights of my years with Boeing, and one that I will always remember.

Despite the current challenges facing our global economy and the industry, I remain confident in the future. I also know that you will give Jim the same outstanding support and world-class effort that you have demonstrated to me over the past three years. I wish you every success and thank you from the bottom of my heart for the journey we have taken together.


Scott Carson

Jim Albaugh:

Joining the Team

Earlier today, Scott Carson announced his retirement from Boeing after 38 years of service. I've had the pleasure of working with Scott over the past 12 years and know firsthand his dedication and commitment to Boeing and the aerospace industry. He has made many contributions to the company over the past four decades and I am honored to follow in his footsteps as the new leader of Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

Growing up in eastern Washington, I remember watching the contrails from 707s and B-52s flying overhead. As I grew older, I recognized the great significance of these aircraft. To this day, I believe Boeing did more to change the 20th century than any other company on Earth. Over the past 90 years, the men and women of this company have changed the way people travel and experience the world, the way we communicate, the way we protect freedom and democracy, and the way we look at our universe.

And much of this was done in Puget Sound. From the 707, which marshaled in the commercial aviation jet age; to the revolutionary 747 with its signature upper deck; to the increased fuel efficiency of the 757 and greater flexibility of the 767; to the 737, the world leader in single-aisle passenger transportation and the all digital airplane, the 777, Boeing has led the way in commercial aviation.

It was also here in Puget Sound where commercial derivative military aircraft were born -- a product line reaching back in history and one that will take us far into the future. From the 707 came the KC-135 Stratotanker and Stratolifter; the E-3 AWACS; E-6 Mercury for the U.S. Navy and the E-8 JSTARS. From the Boeing 737 come the T-43, AEW&C, the P-8 Poseidon and the P-I for India. The 747 became today's Air Force One, the E-4B National Airborne Operations Center and the Airborne Laser. The 767 became tankers for Italy and Japan and also the Japanese AWACS.

Boeing is truly an iconic company and I believe we have the opportunity to change the 21st century just as we have changed the last one. The 787 is the starting point.

In its soul, Boeing has always been and remains an engineering company. As an engineer I look forward to learning from and working with you. The heart of this company is the skilled machinists, technicians and mechanics -- true craftsmen and wizards -- who deliver on their promises everyday. I look forward to understanding what you believe can be done to make the company even better still.

Being part of the world's most capable and largest aerospace company is a privilege. Working with the world's premier commercial airplane company team as we prepare to fly two revolutionary airplanes -- the 787 and 747-8 -- is an opportunity of a lifetime.

Greatness, though, does not come easily. It is not an entitlement. It must be proven time and time again each and every day. We work on some of the most complex and challenging systems in the world. With challenges oftentimes are issues. And today we are facing significant issues on our two major development programs. It is imperative that we face into these challenges and deliver to our customers. Going forward I believe we have three imperatives: flawless execution, profitable growth and improved efficiency. It will take the personal commitment and leadership of all of us to achieve these goals.

We have much to accomplish. I know we have the right team in place. Over the next several months, I look forward to meeting you and learning from each of you. Together there is nothing we can't do...



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Re: More 787 woes?

Post by airazurxtror » 05 Sep 2009, 21:02

If you want to believe that kind of press releases .... would the 787 head manager retire if the program was an unmitigated success ? I very much doubt it.
That said, I posted the news just for information. As long as the 787 is put on track again, that is the main thing.
In Belgium, in such a case, the manager would remain firmly at his position, and a few hundreds workers would be fired, as we have seen recently.

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