Boeing elevates 787 chief pilot to new product development post

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Boeing has created a new office to integrate pilot inputs into its product development division for new commercial aircraft.

Mike Carriker, formerly chief test pilot of the 787 programme, has been named as the new chief pilot for product development. Boeing also promoted Randy Neville to chief test pilot for the 787.

Carriker's advancement comes nearly one month after Boeing completed certification testing of the 787-8, which is being delivered on 27 September to All Nippon Airways.

The new position is one of the lessons learned from the 787 flight test experience, Carriker said, speaking to reporters on the eve of the ANA handover ceremony.

As Boeing develops advanced new variants of the 777 and 737 families, Carriker's job will be to ensure that the new designs are acceptable from the pilots' perspective.

The role formalizes an ad hoc process that helped avoid several problems on the 787 programme, Carriker said. He cited structural posts in the cockpit that were inserted into early designs. Carriker complained they were unacceptable, and a mock-up proved that the structures would block the flight crew's ability to see other airplanes on approach from certain angles, he said.

Correcting such design flaws after the first aircraft is rolled-out is a more complicated problem, he said.