9:50 AM: Good morning to some, good afternoon and good evening to others! Welcome to Flightblogger's liveblogged coverage of the December Boeing 787 Program Update. We'll be getting underway here shortly once the call gets started in about ten minutes or so.
The consensus inside the financial world this morning is that a change in schedule isn't expected in this call. There are many things to listen for though, including the status of fasteners, flight test software, assembly progress and some serious questions about Vought's future in the program.
Full coverage below the fold.
9:57 AM: I have joined the call and have been greeted by lovely hold music.
10:00 AM: Yvonne Leach welcomes participants. Scott Carson and Pat Shanahan will be on the call. The call is expected to last an hour.
10:06 AM: Carson: Shanahan's energy enthusiasm, and drive have made a difference to this program... Still time to score a few more orders of the 787 for this year. Unqualified confidence in the global business model. Notwithstanding challenges, full confidence in 787 team and global partners. Plan is unchanged. End 1Q08 for first flight. 109 still to be ready by end of 2009.
10:08 AM: Shanahan: Direct line of sight to work with Scott Strode at Vought. Design of 787-8 100% complete. Daily interaction with partners with Mark Jenks and Steve Westby. Meet daily in factory to ensure the right processes are followed and disciplines are applied. "We have made considerable progress. I am confident we have the right leaders and partners."
100% complete design
FAA and Boeing have agreed to all rules
Component testing on composite structures is 80% complete.
91% of hardware is flight test ready.
Weight reduction still proceeding and flight test aircraft.
Factory more oriented and disciplined. Installation of systems and insulation underway and part shortages are less of an issue. Honeywell flight control software are ON TRACK to support power on 92/92 systems will be ready in late January.
Will move to 40-22 in January. Body join is underway for all three sections.
Traveled work being managed more effectively across then entire assembly.
Near term goals:
Power on and flight test
Working with partners to transition to production ramp up
Q: Endorsing schedule you were given? Sensitive constraint areas?
A: Traveled work. Redesigned the process to ensure success.
A: No real surprises. Traveled work again has been the challenge. It's not physics, it's details. We have a clear understanding of the work statement. We've mapped every open whole.
Q: Reason to change budget?
A: Not yet.
Q: Any problem joining 997 and 998 barrels?
A: Nope. Those problems just aren't there.
Q: Production rate?
A: We're not going to specify a granular timetable. Automation makes the rapid assembly possible. 2.5 a month for 777, 4.3 a month for 767 - goal is 6 a month for 787. The composite makes the production rate possible.
10:32 AM: Shanahan: Getting systems installed on the first unit taught us a lot about how to assemble future aircraft.
Note: Look for more lessons learned throughout this call.
Q: How have you managed the situation with suppliers?
A: Eyeball to eyeball contact. Just being there and doing detailed review with partners. What help can I provide? How can we make this better?
Q: Most challenging initial problem in flight testing?
A: Carson - early flutter tests.
Q: What metrics are you using to measure readiness?
A: Discussion begins with tooling, 9 criteria we review with suppliers production rate increases.
Carson: There have been people moved across programs but the 747 program is fully staffed.
NOTE: No mention of 777F program and if it is fully staffed.
Movable type is having serious issues. I apologize for slow updates.
Scott, were you displeased with Bair's comments?
Carson: Mike was going through a hard time and he was answering a hypothetical question. I was neither pleased nor displeased.
Q: What is the weight situation with the 787-9 and will -8 testing effect it?
A: The flight test will determine all of this, nothing is set as of yet.
Last question: What metrics should the outside world use for measuring your progress?
A: LN7 arrives in March. All six flight test aircraft will be flying by end 2Q08.