Photo of Note: The Front Page – June 27, 2007

The 25th, 26th and 27th of June 2007 were three days that will forever remain vividly embedded in my memory. I went to sleep on the 25th having just posted this message to the two-month old experiment called FlightBlogger:

Update 3 – June 25, 2007 – 10:25pm

Sources inside Boeing say, “There is not much left to do before moving to paint shop. All doors are installed. All slats, ailerons, flaps, and spoilers are installed. They are working on access doors on the wing.” Another source says, “Most everything that will be “seen” is on the airplane, save for a few odds and ends.”

According to the schedule Dreamliner One will head to the paint shop after 10:00pm PDT (1:00am EDT). The airplane movement from assembly shop to paint shop usually occurs after dark to minimize the distraction of the drivers on the freeway below the bridge.

Mike Bair said today, “The aircraft will be structurally complete at rollout but will still have systems, ducting, wiring and similar work to be done before first flight. When those tasks are completed, it will be powered up and proceed to ground test before it flies.”

I woke the next morning to find out what had come from the post the night before. A day later, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran Charles Conklin’s photos on the front page of the paper. It was perhaps the first moment that I realized anyone was actually reading what I was writing. What a two years it has been.

15 Responses to Photo of Note: The Front Page – June 27, 2007

  1. Jason June 27, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Well, at least they have painted it since then. Can’t say they haven’t gotten anything done.

  2. chris June 27, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    Wow, what a great front page. Pretty much none of that was worth committing to memory except as cautionary tales.

    * Dreamliner – Still Vaporliner, configuration in photo does not meet spec
    * Sonics – Long gone. Now all that can be heard is distant Thunder.
    * Seattle Home Price Rise – I guess that market isn’t “different” after all.
    * GOP support for war slips – Is the GOP relevant right now?

    So, all things considered, Boeing is no worse than anybody else. Well, I guess Apple is still torturing users with AT&T.

  3. Lee June 27, 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Good one, Chris. And btw – that newspaper, The Seattle Post-Intelligencer? Gone too!

  4. Oussama Salah June 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm #

    Must be the longest time I ever held my breath.

    I always believed that Boeing will always find a technical solution to any problem is starting to wane.
    I still believe that this is a technically superb aircraft but The Dreamliner is slowly turning into a Nightmareliner.

    I hope Boeing gets its act together and get this show on the road


  5. Nico June 27, 2009 at 3:25 pm #

    One subject of concern, which could have commercial impact, is the way this plane is late. Compare to the A380, the situation seems similar (for now, both are late by around 2 years). But behind this number, the scenario becomes complicated for the B787.

    The A380 was late because of industrialization issues in the passenger area. All in all, the first flight was on schedule. The B787 is late because it cannot fly.
    In other words : the A380 had 2 extra years of flight tests to check, validate and optimize the plane (and also check some airport compatibility), while the B787 will have to hurry for certification and commercialization.

    More than that, while late the A380 was not bad regarding its specifications, despite a little overweight (little in percentage of course, regarding the size of the big bird). Time will tell, but it seems that while late, the B787 will be far above its specifications.

    This [delay '+' specification] issue is not only a problem for the B787 vs. A350, but becomes a challenge for the B787 vs. A330. Every airline is specific and will have its own answer. But the last B787 problems might change a little their calculations, as a switch from B787 to A330+A350 becomes more viable… assuming the A350 will be on time…

  6. Dave June 27, 2009 at 4:36 pm #

    I remember hanging around the house on 7/8/07 to see the unveiling. I was really disappointed that it was long and boring. Still, I remember the optimism I had for this plane. Rather hilarious to read the comments of Mike Bair, that the plane was supposedly close to flying. So here we are, about 2 years later, and I think it is no closer than they said it was then (although their comments then clearly looked to be false and/or intentionally misleading).

    So, with as revolutionary as this plane is supposed to be, with the added weight, and what appears will add some more weight, my question would be this: How will the revised, updated 787 compare to a re-engined 767-400? They’ve spent billions on this plane, I’d hope the improvement over the 767-300 and 767-400 is large. Also, how will it compare to the “obsolete” Airbus 330 line?

  7. JE June 28, 2009 at 1:21 am #

    In defense of Boeing:
    Given what was there at roll out a heck of a lot has happened in two years. I’m backing the engineers who started with a mass of parts with little documentation from suppliers of different cultures from all over the world. The jigsaw puzzle had to be assembled and vetted; no doubt with substantial redesign and repackaging. But…

    The wing failed because faulty modeling underestimated the loads resulting in failure at an unpredicted place well below max test load. Why? Did Boeing simply accept the calculations of its’ subs? Did an attempt to lighten the wing contribute? In the old days a structural prototype would have been built to justify the design and choice of materials. With a radical monococque, more plastic/more titanium design one would expect to see overbuilding and excess weight. Yet they ended up with an underbuilt wing. Why were the calculations so far off and not caught? Testing saved the day but why so late? The whole wing has to be reanalyzed. I hope the FAA forces Boeing to break this wing before flight. This is not the same situation as the A380.

  8. jsarf June 28, 2009 at 4:22 am #

    Could one says that the huge overweight ( 8t or 80 pax less) problem stems from an invalidated digital model ?

  9. Guru Josh June 28, 2009 at 8:59 am #

    JE said “Did Boeing simply accept the calculations of its’ subs? ”

    No, in case the subs were forced by Boeing to design to weight specs that the subs deemend as unachievable and to use design principles the subs were not fully convinced of. Of course, the prime knew better…

    BTW, Gillette ordered his engineers to use the same “zero-margin” approach on the 787 that Airbus used for the A380 (i.e. zero margin beyond ultimate load, which already means a margin of 50% over limit load, which in turn is the maximum load assumed to be encountered in normal ops)

  10. Liz M June 28, 2009 at 10:41 am #

    I wish I had been able to be there for that first rollout, or for the official party. But, work came first, and so the first time I laid eyes on the Dreamliner outside the factory wasn’t until January 2, 2009. It was just a line move, making room to assemble more Dreamliners behind it, but I expected to see her pretty much complete… So much for that, here’s how she looked 6 months ago:

  11. Layman June 29, 2009 at 8:01 am #

    It is interesting that many comments refer to Airbus when refering to the problems with the B787. Airbus and Boeing are totally dissimilar in style, culture and engineering – so any comparison between a delay of a model at Airbus has no bearing on this current delay at Boeing.
    What appears to be at the root of the B787 issue is that Boeing totally underestimated the enormity of the challenge of a totally new plastic jet (lack of prior finite model), a distributed model of manufacture (distributed design and decision making) and not having a fall-back existing jet that is acceptable to the market. These issue have created their own pressures and cumulatively contributes to the heat that appears to be felt. In three years time, when the B787-9 is flying, Boeing should be in better shape.

  12. alloycowboy June 29, 2009 at 9:26 am #

    A Joke for JE: (I think this sums up the current 787 situatuion pretty well)

    A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts: “Excuse me, can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

    The man below says: “Yes. You are in a hot air balloon, hovering approximately 30 feet above this field. You are between 40 and 42 degrees N. latitude, and between 58 and 60 degrees W. longitude.”

    “You must be an engineer,” says the balloonist.

    “I am,” replies the man. “How did you know?”

    “Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but I have no idea what to make of your information, and the fact is I am still lost.

    “The man below says, “You must be a manager.”

    “I am,” replies the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

    “Well,” says the man, “you don’t know where you are, or where you are going. You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep, and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in the exact same position you were in before we met, but now it is somehow my fault.”

  13. T. Varadaraj June 29, 2009 at 11:13 am #

    Couldn’t agree with Layman more. The more I think about it, the more it’s becoming obvious to me that the problem here is Boeing’s attempt to change both the technology and the process on one airplane at the same time. Boeing should have mastered building composite planes in-house before farming it out, probably on the 737 or 777 successor.

  14. April July 2, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    Very nice…well done, Jon, and Charles too. I’m proud of you pups. :-)

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