Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Dec Jan 2010 Contents The closing days of 2010 should
have marked more than 30
months of Boeing 787 commercial
operations by launch customer All
Nippon Air ways (ANA). Yet as
Asian Aviation went to press the
new twin-aisle twinjet remained a troubled project,
uncerti cated, with the test eet grounded as analysts
and customers expected the announcement of a
seventh formal programme delay.
Boeing was unable to say in late November when
ight-testing would resume, a er an in- ight electrical
re on the second 787 test aircra (ZA002) led to an
emergency landing in Texas earlier in the month. e
US manufacturer still awaited the results of initial
investigations into the event, with at least one Asia-
Paci c customer -- Australia's Qantas -- reportedly
understanding that there had been a "signi cant"
problem and that deliveries would slip to the end of
next year (see box).
Likewise, Air Lease chief executive Steven Udvar-
Hazy -- who had been the 787's largest customer in his
former role as chairman of International Lease Finance
Corporation (ILFC) -- was saying first deliveries
would "de nitely" be postponed: "It's a big setback
for Boeing," he said.
Udvar-Hazy's remarks came a day a er Morgan
Stanley aerospace analyst Heidi Wood had said the
rst delivery "could" slip as far back as 2012, with the
second half of next year the most likely timeframe
for ANA to receive the new aircra . Wood said she
expected test ying would not resume until at least well
into December. Wedbush Securities analyst Kenneth
Herbert suggested a delivery delay until June or July.
A prospective delay had already been accommodated
in the pricing of Boeing stock before the re, so there
was relatively little volatility. Nevertheless, Boeing
shares o ered on the New York stock exchange were
seen as providing "a buying opportunity because so
many investors already are braced for a delay," said Alex
Hamilton, managing director of Early Bird Capital.
" ere's no certainty as to when ight-testing is going
to resume. Wall Street hates uncertainty."
By definition, Boeing's best forecast for when
deliveries might begin applies only to the rst aircra .
Given the circumstances that drove August's re-
scheduling to early 2011, it was already likely before
November 's fire that outstanding work on early
production aircra would mean subsequent deliveries
would be held up.
Boeing told analysts that the 20-30 aircra parked
around Seattle's Paine Field were "in various stages of
nal assembly" and that deliveries would "take longer
than expected, particularly those with the Rolls-Royce
engine". RBC Capital Markets aerospace analyst
Robert Stallard suggested that following the handover
of the rst ANA 787, the delivery ramp-up is likely to
be "longer and shallower" than previously anticipated.
He said he believes only about 25 aircra will reach
customers next year, compared with earlier projections
of as many as 80 deliveries in 2011.
Te chnical issues awaiting solution included
identi cation of the cause of the earlier Rolls-Royce
Trent 1000 engine failure during test in the UK,
correction of errors in the build-up of the Alenia-
supplied 787 tailplane (required to prevent premature
fatigue), and reported problems with instruments.
In late November, Boeing was understood to be
working with the US Federal Aviation Administration
(FAA) to consider how at least ve of the grounded test
aircra could be returned to ight while investigations
continued. Two 787s involved in remote testing were
later own back to Seattle. Prototype 787 ZA001 was
being refuelled in South Dakota when the re occurred
aboard ZA002 Boeing decided to forgo additional
ights. e h aircra , ZA005, was in California.
e incident ight involved two FAA people among
the 42-strong crew : a pilot, who was ying the 787
from the le -hand seat at the time of the re, and a
systems engineer on board to observe during the more
than six-hour ight. Failure of the electrical-power
panel was noticed as the 787 passed through 1,000
above ground level while preparing to land at Laredo.
Multiple warning messages reportedly appeared
on flight-deck displays. After load shedding , the
information is understood to have been con ned to a
single display on the le side of the instrument panel.
is is likely to have determined whether the aircra
was landed by the FAA pilot or a Boeing test pilot
(acting as the ight commander) in the right-hand seat.
Within days of the incident, investigators had
de veloped a detailed understanding of the fire,
although Boeing said more work was required to
In-flight fire compounds
Boeing's 787 challenges
The latest setback to the Boeing 787 programme could see entry-into-service
pushed back as far as 2012, writes Ian Goold.
AsianAviation | DECEMBER 2010 / JANUARY 2011 29
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