back to article Boeing knocks back Dreamliner first flight

Boeing today announced that the first flight of its 787 Dreamliner will not now take place until "around the end of the second quarter" of 2008 - a roughly three month delay which will see the first aircraft delivered "in early 2009, rather than late 2008". The company late last year rescheduled the 787 programme in the face of …

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Coat

Lessons learnt

"Our revised schedule is based upon updated assessments from the 787 management team of the progress we have made and the lessons we have learned to date."

That doesn't include lessons learnt from competitors, like all the delays Airbus had with the A380 then?

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Flame

@Lessons learnt

No, they only thing they learned then was how to snigger and point fingers at Airbus. Interestingly, Airbus executives didn't seem to pick up on that lesson, as there has been a dearth of sniggering from Europe.

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Object Lesson

I remember working at Shell when a load of Boeing people came in to take over IT project management. Their methods would stop all the late and over budget business. I'm not knocking Boeing but if this was an IT project it would be classed as a disaster. Goodness knows how over-budget it is - they're not saying. It all goes to show how stupid current predictive project management is.

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Anonymous Coward

Calling Boeing fan boys, calling Boeing fanboys...

... Where's your smugness now?

I was accused of working for Airbus (which I don't) when the Dreamliner hit delays the first time and I commented on that. Yet the Boeing fanboys kept on sniggering. I guess this makes it even...

Airbus 2 : Boeing 2

Building planes is not an easy task. Both Airbus and Boeing know that now.

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Anonymous Coward

Boeing did learn

My understanding of the Airbus affair is that different versions of Catia were used for reasons of false economy and politics. They depended on accurate conversion between versions. Sad to write, the discrepencies were not caught before assembly. The IT chief at Boeing did get this bit right by ensuring that everyone had the same versions of all software on the same platforms.

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Pirate

Learned? Not likely...

my mom worked for them years ago. Boeing is one of the most dysfunctional organizations on the planet, about what you'd expect for something that big and old.

if they learned any lessons from this, it would be a first. their organizational memory doesn't last longer than 2 years, as turnover among talented technical and line employees is absurdly high.

i chuckled when Boeing talked up their new supply chain that they were going to use for the Dreamliner. it sounded like a worldwide nightmare of coordination and management. turns out, that's exactly what it is.

they should have outsourced the coordination and logistics to Toyota, and laid off all those expensive Vice Presidents. would have saved money, and probably delivered on time. now, Boeing is performing the same way they do for the Pentagon: really late, and over budget. the Dreamliner will probably come with some interesting problems, too, like the V-22 did.

typical First-World defense-establishment corporate wankers.

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Thumb Up

"same versions of all software on the same platforms."

Indeed so, but in different circumstances that would have been called "being held to ransom by the software and systems vendor". Take your pick.

Anyway, whatever happened to IGES, and then PDES and STEP (which iirc were part of CALS), acronyms whuich were all going to solve all the multi-vendor integration problems faced by big MCAD users (and vendors) back in the early 1990s, as was Boeing's very own Technical and Office Protocol (aka TOP), which in some ways was to aerospace design what the GM-driven Manufacturing Automation Protocol (aka MAP) was intended to be. By now, all been replaced by that ultimate pair of TLAs, IBM and SAP, probably.

Back to 787: has there been any more analysis of the lightning-resistance of the 787 (being as it has no natural Faraday cage being as it's mostly made of Plastic Padding) since it was featured unfavourably in (of all places) News At Ten some months ago?

And how about the 787 network security thing featured in El Reg and elsewhere only a few days ago, which Boeing rolled out a PR bunny to respond to, when what was actually needed was detail, e.g. conformation that there was an actual "air gap" between the "safety critical" network carrying flight control data, and the "other" network, carrying important operational data (duty free stock levels, ETAs of hot lemon scneted towels, etc)?

http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2008/01/hacking_the_boe.html

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Lightning

@AC

The problem Airbus had o the A380 was trying to make CATIA V4 and CATIA V5 work together, something that you get told at the beginning of any CATIA conversion course will not work. Why Airbus thought it could ignore this, I'm not sure, probably money is at the root of it (couldn't afford to upgrade all the software and workstations at the same time). Competition is very much still about, directly in the form of UG NX and also a variety of other CAD packages depending on cost (UG and CATIA are thousands of pounds a seat, cheap compared to upwards of £40K+ for an Finite Element Analysis licence).

IGES, STEP, et al. exist but sending data means the part creation history gets lost. CATIA and UG NX native files are parametric, so by tweaking a dimension the rest of the model (and any drawings based on it) automatically update. Using IGES, etc loses this data, leaving a 'dumb' solid and the result is not always very good anyway.

The slippages for Airbus and Boeing are just reminding everybody that jet airliners are complex and getting more so. The airworthiness rules keep raising the bar (as they should, as more and more understanding of the causes of aircraft crashes get fed back into each new revision). The time that has lapsed since the last major aircraft designs will definitely not have helped (B777 and A330/340 in the mid '90s). The experienced people changing jobs/company, managers who have never had to project manage something this big before, etc.

As for lightning protection there will be a copper mesh incorporated into the composite layup of the panels and this will provide the faraday cage effect required. All the various layups and design configurations would have to undergo lightning strike testing (and obviously pass!) to achieve airworthiness certification.

The approach is well known, for example, the engine nacelles on a variety of jet aircraft (Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Embraer, etc) have been manufactured in this way for more than a decade.

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Boffin

Re: 787 & lightning

There is conductive mesh embedded in the skin. This avoids the catastrophic damage that composite panels can suffer from a strike.

I know an (ex-)employee was complaining about all sorts of possible risks from the composite construction & how the mesh was inadequate, but based on some of their statements I don't think they were credible.

After all, this isn't the first composite aircraft structure or fuselage, the only differences are scale and volume. So things are pretty well understood.

Not that I entirely trust the thing - never be the first to try something new! - but I don't think it's that bad.

As for the whole network thing, the various networks are separate & use different protocols (especially anything a customer could get at) but as there's a common switching & processing resource that most things ultimately link to, there isn't a true 'air gap' as such. I would suggest that this is basically a concern that both networks connect to the same box at one point rather than there being a genuine risk even from a properly prepared & equipped assailant.

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Pirate

Speaking as a Frequent Flier

I'm in no rush for Boeing to launch the B787. I would rather that it be 1-2 years late and fully bug free than be launched on time as a Friday afternoon rush job.

I understand the prestige issues, the marketing PR and the other political ramifications of launching an aircraft late, but Boeing will deal with this and if it goes on to be as successful as the B777, they may even make some money on the programme.

BTW, the A380 is a fantastic aircraft and I wish Airbus well with their leviathan.

Next up will be the replacement to the A320/B737 space for the volume market. I can't wait to see how the companies deal with this.

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Re: "same versions of all software on the same platforms."

"...ETAs of hot lemon scented towels"

...meanwhile, there will be a delay... ^_-

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Coat

Airbus - Boeing issues completely separate

The differences between Airbus's delays and Boeing's are two completely separate things which they cant learn about from each other. Airbus's was technical issues (CATIA V4 & V5 interoperability and use of Aluminium wiring), Boeing's are supply chain.

Very different.

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Happy

Re: @Aubry Thonon

"Passengers, your attention, please. We are currently awaiting our supplies of yellow, lemon-scented paper napkins for your comfort and refreshment. In the meantime there will be a short delay. Please remain in your seats, as stewardesses will be serving you coffee and biscuits shortly."

Typed from memory :-)

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Paris Hilton

@ Stefan Paetow

There are Boeing and/or Airbus fanboys? I sincerely hope you're wrong, but I fear you've got it correct.

As for Airbus and Boeing now knowing that building planes is not an easy task, one would have assumed that they knew that some years ago, or am I giving these companies too much credit?

Paris Hilton: Tenuous aeroplane/airhead link.

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Gold badge
Dead Vulture

Boeing IT.

"The IT chief at Boeing did get this bit right...."

If he's any good it's a shame they didn't ask him whether saving a few shekels by putting the plane's flight control systems on a common internal network with the "script kiddie please plug in your laptop here" services was a good idea.

(Dead Vulture, 'cos it doesn't look like getting off the ground anytime soon either)

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