Earthquake hits Wash DC area; talking about natural disaster risk

A 5.8 earthquake hit the Washington (DC) area, centered about 50 miles southwest but felt as far south as North Carolina and as far north as Boston. No serious damage appears to have been done.

Normally we wouldn’t remark on this, but as it happens, just yesterday we were talking with a Seattle-area person with direct interest in where Boeing builds assembly sites. We naturally talked about Boeing’s 787 site in Charleston (SC) and the bombshell dropped by CEO Jim McNerney that Renton (WA) can’t assume it will be where the 737RE will be built (we can’t yet bring ourselves to call this thing the NE737). Among the considerations is natural disaster risk.

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787 certification expected this week

Bloomberg News writes that 787 certification may come August 26. In a superb article giving a current assessment of the program, Bloomberg cites Bernstein Research as estimating the first 1,000 airplanes will cost an average of $116m each. The program accounting block–the point at which the 787 will break even–is expected to be at least 1,000 airplanes, according to most forecasts by Wall Street analysts. Boeing’s accounting block historically has been around 400. Boeing should give the accounting block on this program with the third quarter earnings call in October, assuming first delivery in September.