Friday, April 28, 2017

Boeing talks about 787 during 1st quarter 2017 earnings conference call

Boeing gave an upbeat assessment of the 787 during the 1st quarter 2017 earning call.  Boeing deferred production cost for the 787 program decreased by $316 million during the 1st quarter.  The total program deferred production cost is now just under $27 billion.  Of course the achievement during the quarter is the start of flight testing on the 787-10 on March 31st.  So fat the sole 787-10 flight test aircraft has flown just under 90 hours and I expect it to be at or beyond 100 hours by the end of the month.

However, the current downturn in commercial aircraft market, particularly in the sale of widebodied  jets has analysts questioning Boeing's drive to increase 787 production from 12 to 14 per month by the end of the decade.  The 669 orders that are still represents about 4.5 years of production.  Given the slowdown it hard to imagine that Boeing can go up to 14 and it may be even hard to sustain 12.

Boeing execs still insist they can reach the order goal to go up in rate and I believe that would take a major order like the one that Emirates is proposing to make between the 787 and the A350.  Still Boeing book to bill for the 787 is not anywhere close to a number that would justify 14/month.  They do feel that they are on solid ground to sustain 12/month but unless there is a decent wave of orders coming through that will be hard to maintain.

Lastly, Boeing is continuing with the cost cutting measures company wide which included a around of lay-offs in Everett last week.  

Sunday, April 23, 2017

787 April 2017 Mid Month Review

Testing Complete3
To be assembled in Everett183
To be assembled in Charleston140
Parts Arriving6
Undergoing final assembly6
Storage/Change Incorporation and Re-Work0
Change Incorporation and Re-Work1
Pre-Flight Prep10
Production Testing5
Non Customer Flight Tests2
Ready for Delivery2

Well most of the way through April Boeing has delivered 8 Dreamliners on their way to delivering 10 787s this month.  An early build 787 for Ethiopian has been pushed out though the delivery date for ZD008, (LN 18, ET-ATI) seems somewhat in flux.  I've heard that delivery can happen in May though I've also heard that delivery won't occur until "after June"  For now I'm listing as stored until there is more definite clarity to delivery.  In the meantime Boeing will deliver 2 more 787 before the end of the month for a total of 10 deliveries.

Production totals for April look to be 11 787s completed and rolled out from the two 787 factories with another 10 or 11 aircraft starting final assembly.  Note that 3 of these 787s were built in Everett and had started final assembly and rolled out within the month of April.

Boeing has gotten the 787-10 flight testing off to a good start.  It appears that they're only flying the aircraft on the weekdays thus far and I'm uncertain that this is going to change.  It may mean that the flight test team doesn't have as much risk to retire or that the flight test schedule doesn't require as many flight hours as the -8 or -9 thus limiting testing to the weekdays.  I'm also expecting that the second flight test 787-10, ZC036 (LN 548, N548ZC) should take to the air around May 2nd, a week from this coming Tuesday. ZC002 is still in final assembly and I expect it to roll out aroune the 2nd week of May and should join flight testing around late June.Thus far the lone 787-10 flight test aircraft has racked up about 72.38 flight test hours.  Boeing needs to achieve Initial Airwothiness Testing which I believe should be down shortly, it will be followed by the TIA (type inspection authorization) which would allow the 787-10 to start the certification program with the FAA and have the FAA on board the -10 to observe the certification flight tests and sign off on each required test flight objective.  The 787-9 achieve the TIA after about 275 flight test hours on the initial Roll Royce powered 787-9 which took about 3 months.  The 787-8 received it's TIA after about 4 months of flying. I believe certification testing for the -10 should start around the end of June to early July time frame if not earlier.

You can follow my log of the 787-10 flight test by clicking the link below for the 787 Spreadsheets.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Boeing delivers 11 787 in March while first 787-10 takes to the air as the quarter ends.

Production Snapshot
Testing Complete3
To be assembled in Everett188
To be assembled in Charleston142
Parts Arriving
Undergoing final assembly8
Storage/Change Incorporation and Re-Work0
Change Incorporation and Re-Work2
Pre-Flight Prep8
Production Testing3
Non Customer Flight Tests2
Ready for Delivery5

Boeing Photo

Boeing Photo

Boeing Photo

The first quarter of 2017 was a busy period for the 787 program and time highlighted by the very successful first flight of the 787-10 yesterday at quarter end.  To the details of the quarter....

For the month of March, 2017 Boeing delivered 11 Dreamliners (4 x 787-8s and 7 x 787-9s) including the 200th 787-9 to be delivered to a customer. However two of these deliveries aren't confirmed: 1 787-8 ZD009 (LN 17, N947BA) left for Victorville to be stored but left under a Boeing flight number.  This aircraft was supposed to be delivered to Crystal Cruises who is now trying to sell it.  So far there aren't any buyers and is the second 787 that is up for sale.  The other 787 delivery in doubt is ZB703 (LN 533, HZ-AR11) for Saudi Arabian Ministry of Finance (leased to Saudi Arabian Airlines).  The aircraft was supposed to be delivered on March 30th but it is still parked on the Charleston flightline.  We'll know more about these two 787s when Boeing reveals its monthly order and delivery results hopefully on April 6th.  For the quarter, Boeing has delivered 32 787s (8 x 787-8s and 24 x 787-9s).  Total program deliveries stand at 532 (332 x 787-8, 200 x 787-9).  Boeing has delivered the 200th 787-9 to the Saudi Ministry of Finance which is leasing the aircraft to Saudi Arabian Airlines.  This is the aforementioned ZB703.

Production is going smoothly with Boeing rolling out 12 787s (including the second test flight 787-10) during this month and starting assembly on a further 13 787s.  Production efficiency declined due to lower deliveries in March.  In fact for the quarter  while the production rate was more or less on target deliveries were lower.  This is attributable to the introduction of the 787-10 into the production system.  Boeing transferred some 787 production aircraft to Everett from Charleston to mitigate production risk but it looks like Boeing can't transfer all of the Charleston 787 production thus deliveries fell.  During the 1st quarter, Charleston rolled out 12 787 (should be around 15) while delivering 10 (again vs. 15).  Everett, as I mentioned, picked up the slack in production (but not all of it) because of the 787-10 and rolled out 20 (vs. 24) and delivered 22 (vs. 28 including 2 early build deliveries). Production efficiency for March was 1.09 (an efficiency rating of 1 or lower is desirable as it shows declining inventory - roll outs vs. deliveries.  Charleston had a March efficiency ratio of 1.33 while Everett was 1.0.  Again this is all due to the introduction of the 787-10 into production and I expect that this will continue into early May until ZC002 (the third and last 787-10 flight test aircraft) has been rolled out from final assembly.

March deliveries were not all that interesting except for the two early build 787-8s (ZD007 and ZD009 and the 787-9 for the UAE Presidential (VIP) Flight.  For April, I believe that Boeing is targeting another 11 deliveries (3 x 787-8, 8 x 787-9).  This batch should include another early build 787-8 (ZD008) which will again go to Ethiopian Airlines as well as Air France's first direct purchased 787-9, they are currently operating 1 787-9 leased from AerCap.  Additionally, American Airlines will receive the last 787-8 that they have on order.

By far the most important event in the 787 program during the past quarter was the first flight of ZC001 (LN 528, N528ZC) the first 787-10.  I've included a few Boeing photos as well as embedded a couple of videos from that flight on March 31st.  The flight began much earlier than I anticipated, 9:38AM due to bad weather rolling in soon after.  The flight lasted 4 hours and 57 minutes and landed back at Charleston International Airport at about 2:35PM.  After landing the pilots reported no squawks and had run through the whole list of tests that they needed to perform as well as a few get ahead tasks.  The plan is for Boeing test pilots to fly ZC001 to Boeing Field late next week (I'm guessing next Friday) where it will be based for the remainder of the test flight program as will the other two test flight airplanes.  ZC036, the next 787-10 to fly and the first with GE engines is already on the Charleston flightline going through ground tests and I anticipate that this airplane will probably fly by the end of this month.  ZC002 will start final assembly by end of this week and I believe it should roll out by the end of the first week of May and join the flight test program around early June.  The 787-10 flight test and certification program should last about a year and there will be additional production ready 787-10 that will perform functionality and readiness testing (F & R)  similar to the 787-8 and 787-9 test programs.

Speaking of the flight test program, I will be attempting to track the flight test hours of the 787-10 flight test fleet similar to what I had done with the 787-8 and 787-9.  This is mainly keeping track of flight test as they're reported on and  I will be keeping these logs on the spreadsheets in a tab called "787-10 Flight Test Hours."  You can view these spreadsheets through the link below.

787 Spreadsheets

I will also be posting updates to the test flight program on the blog as they become available.

Friday, March 31, 2017

787-10 First Flight

Check back to this post for up dates on the first flight of the 787-10

2:35 PM - ZC001 landed completing a 4 hour and 57 minute test flight.
1:57 PM - ZC001 is now heading back to Charleston International Airport to complete its first flight. Boeing is saying landing around 2:15-2:30.

1:35 PM - Some official Boeing photos from today's take off of ZC001

Boeing Photo

Boeing Photo

Boeing Photo

1:10 PM - Here's a video by the Charleston Region Business Journal of ZC001's take off:

10:15 AM - The plan after today's flight will be for ZC001 to return to Charleston and will conduct another flight in about a week after which it will fly to Boeing Field in Seattle where it will be based for the rest of the flight test/certification program.

9:50 AM - Today's first flight should last about 4 to 5 hours.

9:38 AM - BOE001 is Airborne and Airworthy

9:26 AM - Flight plan for BOE1 on FlightAware:

BOE001 Flight Plan

9:22 AM - Still waiting for the first flight of Boeing's 787-10.  Here 's a link for the webcast:

787-10 First Flight

So far I haven't seen a flight plan filed but there is a flight plan for the T-33 chase aircraft:

FlightAware T-33

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Boeing confirms March 31st date for 787-10 First Flight

Boeing just released the date for the first flight of the 787-10 which is March 31st as I had reported earlier.

This is all weather dependent.  I expect that Boeing will fly ZC001 (LN 528, N528ZC) to Boeing Field by April 10th to start flight and certification testing of the 787-10.  This process should take about year.  Currently the second 787-10 (GE powered) is due to roll out of the Charleston assembly building 88-30 today and the last 787-10 flight test aircraft should start final assembly in early April and should be flying around late May.

In the meantime, Boeing has been continuing flight tests of the Trent 100 TEN engine on ZA004 (N7874, LN 004) which is the engine that is fitted to ZC001.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

March production and delivery schedule for 787

With the 1st two months of the year in the books, Boeing is looking to finish out the 1st quarter in strong fashion.

Delivery wise, Boeing is hoping to deliver 11 787s. Some planned notable deliveries include early build 787-8s to Ethiopian and to a yet to be determine customer who is buying the air frame once bought by Crystal Cruises.  I must stress the deliveries are tentative as we have seen in the past that sometime they just don't occur.  ZD007 (LN 16, ET-ATH) was supposed to be delivered at the end of February and now it is scheduled to be delivered at the end of March.  ZD009 (LN 17) was going to be taken up by Crystal Cruises until they found out it was too small for their use.  They may have found a buyer but it is still unknown who or even if there is a new buyer.

The UAE government will be taking its second 787 and first 787-9 for Presidential/VIP duties in March. Other than that it will be a ho hum affair with deliveries to usual suspects like Saudi Arabian (2), Avianca (1), American (1), JAL (1), Air Canada (1), Virgin Atlantic (1) and Norwegian (1).  Six of the eleven have had their B-1 and one 787-8 (for Avianca) has had it customer flights.  The remaining 5 should have their first flight by March 15th.  Most deliveries (9 of 11) should occur in the second half of the month. Deliveries in March will heavily favor Everett as they should deliver 8 787 while Charleston will deliver 3.  This is due to the introduction of the 787-10 into final assembly thus mandating the need to have some production frames moved to Everett so as not to disrupt assembly of customer aircraft.

Production for the first half of March should see 6 787s start final assembly with another 6 rolling out by mid March.

Lastly, I'm hearing that the 787-10 should make its maiden flight by the end of the month.  March 31st is penciled in for the first flight date but I'll you all know as soon as I can get more clarity on this date.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

787 Results for February 2017

Testing Complete3
To be assembled in Everett196
To be assembled in Charleston147
Parts Arriving6
Undergoing final assembly7
Storage/Change Incorporation and Re-Work0
Change Incorporation and Re-Work2
Pre-Flight Prep9
Production Testing6
Non Customer Flight Tests1
Ready for Delivery1

Boeing delivered 9 787 during February (2 787-8s  and 7 787-9s), 1 short of what I expected them to deliver.  Boeing has delivered 21 787s in 2017 (4 787-8s and 17 787-9s) and 521 787s since program deliveries began (328 787-8s and 193 787-9s).  The one airplane that wasn't delivered was ZD007 (LN 16, ET-ATH) for Ethiopian Airlines.  I don't have any information as to why it wasn't delivered but since the airplane flew last week on a VIP flight between Paine Field and Boeing Field in Seattle, I think we can rule out any issues with the aircraft it self.  The aircraft has yet to fly its customer flight for final acceptance.  I am speculating that the delivery delay may have more to do with obtaining financing for the final payment to Boeing since EX-IM Bank still cannot approve financing over $10 million.

The only notable delivery was the first 787-9 for Korean Air which was delivered on February 22nd.

Production of the 787s continued at the 12/month pace as 12 airplanes were rolled out of Boeing factories including the first 787-10.

Boeing Photo
Boeing Photo

Boeing Photo

Boeing Photo
Boeing started final assembly work on at least 9 787s including the first GE powered 787-10.  I expect his airplane to roll out around late March/early April.  I expect that the first flight of the 787-10 should occur within the first 10 days of March as the aircraft is currently undergoing ground gauntlet testing.

Because of the low number of deliveries coupled with the high production output, the 787 inventory around Charleston and Everett has grown.  The efficiency ratio is 1.33 in February for the entire 787 program.  For Everett, the efficiency ration stands at 1.0 while for Charleston the ratio is 2.0 due to the low number of 787 deliveries.

Boeing did grow the 787 backlog by adding yet another unknown Chinese airline, this time Juneyao Airlines.  They ordered 5 787-9s and curiously while both the airline and Boeing made an announcement of the order, it is listed on Boeing's O & D site as unidentified as are most Chinese orders.

I hope to have another post soon of 787 delivery and production expectations for March