Crane Co. reopens 787 brake software questions

As far back as May of last year, Boeing publicly discussed that the brake control system was a key pacing item for the 787 program. Tracing the evolution of this issue, which Crane and Boeing have stated is resolved, today we find Crane announcing they need to develop a new version of the software, potentially for the 787-9, later blockpoint 787-8s, or even an additional evolution for initial certification. The recipient of the new software is unclear at this point, but it certainly something to be aware of moving forward.

Aviation Week – May 23, 2008:

While Boeing VP and 787 General Manager Pat Shanahan says mostsystems are ready to go, the airplane’s brake control monitoring systemsupplied by Crane Aerospace to the former Smiths Aerospace division ofGE Aviation has fallen behind schedule and remains a threat to firstflight in the fourth quarter this year.

Design concerns about the brake monitors arose during build and testreviews by GE and Crane. As those issues were being worked out, powersupply issues also cropped up. A joint GE-Crane team is addressing theproblems at Crane’s Burbank, Calif., facility.

A GE manager says the team is making “good progress” towardsupporting Boeing’s flight test schedule. “They are later than we want,but they will support first flight,” the manager said.

FlightBlogger – August 5, 2008:

Boeing expects to have all of the hardware on Dreamliner Onequalified by the second or third week of August, “with the exception ofthe brakes.”

Boeing – October 31, 2008:

“The issues with the brake software are behind us, functionalityrequired for flight test is in the labs and is working well. (The final”blue label” version — for flight test — is in the lab and isundergoing tests, all known software problems are resolved. The formal”red label” version will follow in two weeks. We plan on aservice-ready update during flight test that adds some additionalfunctionality including tire pressure, operator initiated test, anddataload),” said 787 spokeswoman Yvonne Leach.

Crane Co. CEO Eric Fast – February 18, 2009:

“The Company expects to complete development of thebrake control system for the Boeing 787 that meets the originallyspecified requirements during the second quarter of 2009 althoughengineering efforts at reduced levels will be needed to support testflights.

However, Boeing has communicated certain changed aircraftrequirements that affect the brake control system, and we have recentlyentered into discussions with our customer, GE Aviation Systems,regarding development of a new version of the 787 brake control system,including whether this additional development work will be funded bythe customer.

It is the Company’s position that it is not required toundertake this additional development work without customer funding,and the costs of such work, which could be material, are not includedin our guidance.” Emphasis added.

6 Responses to Crane Co. reopens 787 brake software questions

  1. Vero Venia February 19, 2009 at 4:06 am #

    Boeing, GE Aviation, Smiths Aerospace and Crane (Gee! That’s a lot of parties involved) should tackle the issue before full production ramp up starts.

  2. GW February 22, 2009 at 1:16 pm #

    interesting, but his is the tip of the iceberg. There is at least one that is a greater problem and not getting any attention

  3. Jon Ostrower February 22, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    Would the person who just left the previous comment please contact me at flightblogger (at) gmail (dot) com.

    Thanks,

    Jon

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