Boeing’s supplemental protest filing

Here is the Boeing GAO Supplmental Filing of Boeing’s tanker protest.

Update: 1000AM PDT: Boeing just wrapped up a conference call discussing the supplemental filing. The call largely went over the filing, and the Q&A was largely expansive on the filing. Read the filing and you’ll get the gist of the call.

A couple of points of interest:

  • We asked how Boeing could be complaining that the USAF didn’t give proper evaluation to delivery of the Japanese KC-767s because the first was delivered nine days before the award was announced and the second was delivered five days after the announcement. Mark McGraw, vice president of the tanker program, acknowledged that Boeing had been marked down (scored “marginal”) on program management but that the USAF knew the tankers were being delivered and added back scoring–but not adequately, in Boeing’s view.
  • Boeing, interestingly, redacted (on Page 8 of the filing) the Air Force fuel burn analysis between the KC-30 and the KC-767 but left in the analysis of a Boeing-funded study that concluded the KC-30 fuel burn was 24% greater than the KC-767. Northrop previously told us that the fuel burn difference in their analysis was about 6%. As the conference call was in progress, we emailed Northrop to ask about the USAF analysis, and NGC tells us the USAF analysis agreed with NGC’s 6% number. On this point, Boeing seems to be playing games by selectively retaining and redacting data.
  • In response to a question, McGraw dismissed NGC’s revised jobs number of 48,000–issued shortly after the award was announced–that would be created for the KC-30 program. McGraw believes that NGC’s original jobs number of 24,000 is closer to being correct. We previously had a full discussion of the new jobs number on our Corporate website here.
  • McGraw remains mystified over the “motives” for the USAF to select the KC-30. He hopes the GAO will figure this out in its review of the protest.

Boeing expects to have a transcript of the call available later, as well as an audio archive. We’ve asked for the transcript when available and will post it here. The audio archive will be posted at Boeing’s Tanker Blog.

We’ll link select articles as they pop up on the Internet.

Update, April 4, 0730AM PDT: A few articles of interest:

Jed Babbin, former deputy undersecretary of defense for Bush 41, writes another well-reasoned piece on the tanker; he’s a pro-Boeing advocate and he, like his previous writing we linked, does a good job of avoiding histrionics.

Aviation Week’s Amy Butler does another in a series of fine reporting. Her piece is here.

George Talbot, reporting from Boeing’s “enemy territory,” The Mobile (AL) Press-Register, does his usual good reporting with this piece.

Meanwhile, in the Internet website wars, Northrop has launched a new site, America’s New Tanker. This serves as another effort by NGC to rebut Boeing’s PR campaign.

Update 0945AM PDT: Here’s another opinion piece, this one in support of the KC-30, from DefenseTech.org.

One Comment on “Boeing’s supplemental protest filing

  1. Subject: Airbus A300 vertical stabilizer & rudder system concern.

    At Miami, FL May 12, 1997 on AA flight 903, the airplane was stalled, the airplane rapidly descended 3000 feet and a woman injured before it was back in control. Airbus found that the vertical fin was loaded beyond the ultimate design load. Their inspection showed no damage so the airplane was put back in service.

    Airbus did not notify the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) of the over load until 903 was again reviewed in 2002 by the crash investigation of AA flight 587 (November 12, 2001 at Belle Harbor, New York). The NTSB made their own analysis and concluded the fin was loaded beyond certification and the rudder exceeded design travel limits. The 903 plane was grounded and inspection found the fin was de-laminated so it was replaced making it the second to lose its original fin.

    The 2004 NTSB report (AAR0404) on 587 crash stated that the probable cause was the first officer’s rudder inputs loading the vertical stabilizer beyond its certification. Contributing to these inputs were characteristics of the A300-600 rudder system design which is susceptible to potentially hazardous rudder pedal inputs at higher airspeeds. The rudder control inputs loaded the fin so that it fractured from the fuselage and resulted in loss of the airplane.

    On March 6, 2005 Canada Air Transat flight 961 lost its rudder when it reached cruising speed. On November 22, 2007 the Transportation Safety Board (TSB) of Canada released its final report (A05F0047) that stated the loss was because the aircraft took off most probably with pre-existing damage to the rudder and that inspection programs for this model of composite rudder are not adequate for timely detection of defects. NTSB (A-06-27 and –28) on March 24, 2006 expressed the utmost urgency inspecting and repairing or replacing the rudders.

    The 587 data shows rudder inputs started at the same time the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recorded the sound of “a thump, a click and two thumps”. In my opinion there is another issue that has not been addressed. The rudder has 7 hinge bearings which are likely in a curved hinge line when the side load on the vertical fin nears limit design load. The actuators and air loads rotating the rudder about this hinge line likely damaged the rudder so it separated from the fin.

    The above pattern forewarns new chapters to this history.

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