Home' Asian Aviation : AAV October 2010 Contents 14 AsianAviation | OCTOBER 2010
Boeing struggles with fresh 787 delays
What do Shanghai,
Singapore, Tokyo, Seattle,
and London have in
common? Among other
things, the cities are
all hosting Boeing 787
Dreamliner "training suites".
Continuing delays to production, ight-testing , and
certi cation of the new aircra -- Boeing disclosed the
seventh hold-up in late August (see box) -- have given
Boeing Training & Flight Ser vices extra time to make
sure it is completely ready to meet demand as deliveries
get under way next year.
By September, almost 150 Boeing instructor pilots
had been trained. At the same time, the rst ve 787test
aircra , two of which will eventually be delivered to
customers, had own more than 1,875 hours in just over
600 test ights.
Launch customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) aims
to operate its rst 787 domestic commercial ser vices a
month a er the rst delivery (whenever that might be),
making time to familiarise pilots with the new aircra
before introducing international ights up to three
months later. e Japanese airline has said simply that
the latest delay in 787 development is "regrettable".
In August, Boeing received provisional US Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for its 787 pilot-
training courses and was awaiting similar recognition for
the equipment used -- including full- ight simulators,
ight-training devices, and desktop "simulation stations"
-- a er which formal pilot training will start.
Course approval is an "important step in ensuring
readiness of 787 support products and services", says
Boeing Commercial Airplanes 787 ser vices and support
director Mike Fleming. Some initial tuition may be
started under the provisional training approvals.
As the stock of instructor pilots has grown, so has the
number of 787s awaiting completion. In mid-September
almost 30 positions on Boeing's ight line at the Everett
factory near Seattle were occupied by 787s, with more
on the way. e additional machines were expected to
be parked on Paine Field's new ramp near the 'Future of
But one aircra that Boeing had not counted on parking,
as the manufacturer struggles to build up ight-test hours
towards certi cation, was the rst airframe, ZA001. On
10 September, the aircra su ered a surge in one of its
two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines while preparing
to take o at Roswell Airport, New Mexico, where
Boeing was conducting 'Block 1' rejected-takeo , brake-
demonstration certi cation and control-and-stability
testing. (Previously, in February, a precautionary landing
had followed an uncommanded power loss in one engine,
caused by problems with a pressure sensor.)
While ZA001 was grounded for an engine change,
Boeing o cials were determining whether the event
might aggravate the heavy delays in development of the
787, which was originally scheduled to be delivered to
ANA in May 2008. As Asian Aviation went to press,
Boeing had not con rmed whether it could stick to the
revised schedule announced in August, for rst delivery
in the middle of 2011's rst quarter.
Several factors, including required airframe
inspections, work on the 787 tailplane, and the lack of
a production engine for the No 9 airframe (which will
be used for extended operational testing), contributed
to the latest o cial delay.
Additionally, on 2 August, Rolls-Royce had su ered
an uncontained failure involving a 'Package A'-standard
Trent 1000 destined to power 787 No 9. Uno cial
reports suggest an oil re had developed in the engine
during high-power runs, so ening the intermediate
pressure (IP) shaft. A consequent shaft failure is
understood to have permitted the IP turbine (IPT) to
over-speed and disintegrate. Shed parts punctured the
engine casing , damaging test equipment.
'Package A' engines, which introduce changes aimed
at reducing a reported 4-5 percent shortfall in targeted
speci c fuel consumption, power the rst four aircra .
Airframe ZA004 is expected to receive an improved
Trent 1000 'Package B' model, incorporating further
improvements developed during the 787's 32-month
(and counting) production delay and designed to get
within 1 percent of fuel-burn targets.
is latest variant, which entered ight-testing last
March, sports enhanced low- pressure (LP) turbine
aerodynamics, better IPT cooling, and secondary air
system changes to tap sealing and cooling air at a lower
pressure stage. Fan-blade twist has been modi ed to
suit pressure-ratio changes arising from a reduction in
In September, Boeing was conducting a second
round of 787 tailplane inspections, which had begun
with the discovery of poor workmanship by Italian
programme partner Alenia. Ironically, this has proved
a blessing in disguise: a planned tailplane weight-
Boeing recently announced its seventh delay to the 787 Dreamliner programme as the fleet of uncompleted
aircraft at its Everett production site grows, writes Ian Goold.
By September, Boeing's 787 test fleet had completed more than 600 flights.
Boeing received provisional US FAA approval
for its 787 pilot-training courses.
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