Honeywell has shed more light on the causes of the flight control software delay that has helped push back the Boeing 787’s first flight by three to four months.

The manufacturer’s CFO Dave Anderson says the software should be ready for delivery soon now that definition of the flight control system has been finalised.

"It’s a complex task because now we’re really in the integration phase," said Anderson during a speech 11 September at Morgan Stanley’s Industrial CEOs Unplugged conference.

"That requires a special skill set and also requirements stability in the bill of material - the design and other features the software is integrating," he says, adding: "So we’re really very confident that we’re going to meet the commitment in terms of Boeing’s timetable."

In early September Boeing VP and general manager for 787 Mike Bair called out Honeywell’s delays with the flight control software as one of two primary reasons for the three- to four-month postponement of the first flight, which has been pushed back to between mid-November and mid-December.

The other major source of delay was a fastener shortage that led to an unexpected amount of travelled work to Boeing’s final assembly line. This situation was compounded by a lack of documentation, forcing Boeing to painstakingly retrace and replace thousands of temporary fasteners holding the aircraft together.

But Anderson’s comments at the Morgan Stanley event suggest the software was delayed because definition of the 787’s fly-by-wire flight control design by Boeing also fell behind schedule.

Rockwell Collins CEO Clay Jones said on 10 September at the same conference that the company’s pilot control hardware was delayed because Boeing fell behind schedule on finalising the design.

The pilot controls were delivered late, but arrived in time to meet Boeing’s original first flight date, he says.

Boeing CEO Jim McNerney today praised Honeywell’s efforts in responding to the software delays. "Honeywell really responded well," he said, addressing the Morgan Stanley event.

"They added hundreds of people to the program. And that team institutionally responded about as well as I’ve seen anybody respond when they saw they were getting into trouble."

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