New 787 delay coming Aug. 27

Update, 1:30pm PDT: A reporter has found a confidential memo to Boeing CEO Jim McNerney outlining five more reasons for yet another 787 delay. Here is the report.

Update, 12:00pm PDT: The finger-pointing begins. The Seattle PI has this report quoting Rolls as saying the new 787 delay isn’t its fault.

Update, Aug. 27: Here are some key stories with details about the delay:

Seattle Times


Original Post:

Boeing is expected to announce another delay in the 787 program Friday, Aug. 27, Leeham News and Comment has learned.

First delivery of the 787 of the long and oft-delayed 787 was supposed to be next month, then in December; a delay to mid- or late first quarter is expected to be announced.

Others believe the first delivery could slip to the second quarter.

Last week’s uncontained engine failure of a Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 during static testing and, according to our information, problems with Alenia’s tail construction, will be blamed. We first reported August 13 that the tail problems could result in more delays. The Trent threw a blade, but an assessment is still being done as to the precise cause.

Boeing’s 787 flight test program hasn’t grounded the airplanes but in the word of one customer, it is being “babied.” The flight test hours have fallen far short of expectation and a GEnx-powered unit, #6, hasn’t flown at all and will be at least three months behind schedule before its first flight. The reason is unknown.

20 Comments on “New 787 delay coming Aug. 27

  1. How could Rolls Royce screw up so badly after all the time they had to get these engines ready.

    Originally, Boeing said the stabilizers were just a matter of workmanship.Only One was found.

    This is getting pittifully tiring and nothing that Boeing says ever ends up being what they say.

  2. Failure after failure…delay after delay…excuses followed by more excuses and delays follow3ed by more delays. How could Rolls Royce not be ready after a two year delay. It is almost inconceiveable

    • RR essentially seems to have been ready: First Flight didn’t happen for lack
      of a working set of engines 😉 My understanding is that this was a “production”
      On the other hand the further delays in activating the #6 test specimen haven’t
      been assigned to any cause yet, have they?
      I remember talk about a target of 7-8000 hours towards certification. And I remember people doing arithmetic to fit that into a 10 month schedule with not quite plausible results.
      Having done <1500 hours up to now the theoretically remaining 5000+ hours would require another 20month at least.
      So Boeing again posted "Pravda" while the real truth is more like "the flight test and certification programme has lost any adherence to the schedule as (re)planned meeting other delays and uncertainties for a first delivery in the far future."

      Strategically articles about "imminent" A350XWB delays very recently perform as detraction just like the A380 bashing in the runup to the B787 rollout.

      When (if ever?) Boeing has Dreamliners ready for EIS they will have burned through
      three Airbus programmes leveraged as lightning protection.

      • I am sure that one should not infer from your comment that you think Boeing could have in any way influenced or stimulated recent speculative reporting of alleged delays to the A350.

  3. this is both sad and hilarious at the same time. Once more the rumour mill is proven right. At this point I think it will indeed slip to Q2.

    Could it slip even further due to engine problems? I certainly dont hope so and info is sparse but the risk seems there.

    #6 could it be one of the planes with the tail problem? or they might have a problem related to the genx engine?

    Lots of opportunites for some Angst and Doom.

  4. The issues with Rolls ad the H-Stab are out in the open and even though it adds up to a few more months of delay, I believe these issues are not as big as some make them out to be.

    But the hidden “gem” is this line about the GEnx powered aircraft being 3 months behind schedule without any reason being given. That, to me, is more ominous than the thrown blade since the blade is a known issue, whereas the reason for the GEnx delay is a big unknown. One thinkg demonstrated so far on this program is that when something is occurring and Boeing doesn’t want to explain it, that something leads to bad news (another delay).

    Lets see if the GEnx issue follows this pattern.

  5. I’m sorry to hear this, I’ve long since lost sight of any entertainment value from the 787 troubles.

    can’t quite help myself:
    This is a record breaking program, a genuine dream of an a/c.

  6. All these again can only be interpreted as bad news for Airbus!
    Cue the Kc135-Bafoon and we are set!

    By the way where is the laughing stock of these days?

    He has vanished from every blog and comments thread that he used to provide unstoppable laughter to all of us.

  7. Far from overstating the issue, I think this could be some of the worst news from Boeing in a while. Engine issues seem to be the most devastating for aircraft development. It seems Rolls Royce is redesigning its engine on the fly, while GE’s engine isn’t usable at all right now. Shades of the A400M, I fear.

  8. Frankly, the Rolls Royce problem appears a convenient source of blame.
    Definitely something everyone could have done without, but not a three month delay issue.

  9. My current analysis is simple. The TAIL IS WAGGING THE DOG. There are several recent reports of defects in the tail area – empennage – that only would have been detected if they were doing a a very detailed inspection. The structural flutter finding on the 747-8 report, caused in part by the hydraulic system suggests the same type of problem on the 787 . . . FLUTTER!

    The only 707 to crash due to a structural problem happened when the right hand horizontal stabilizer snapped off on approach to landing in Africa.


  10. The issue seems to be did RR have any idication of problems with their engine before the uncontained failure? Has the FAA and/or EASA placed any issues or restrictions on the RR engine, that has effected the B-787 EIS?

  11. Pundit :
    I am sure that one should not infer from your comment that you think Boeing could have in any way influenced or stimulated recent speculative reporting of alleged delays to the A350.

    I would be very happy if that could be ascertained to not be the case.
    But we do live in “Real World” ™.

  12. I have digested my anger and disappointment and am surprised that the market greeted the news by boosting BA’d stock by over a dollar. This certainly surprised me but mayube this delay was expected and can be blamed on RR yet provide some catchup time for Boeing.

    Nontheless, there still remain question about the lateness of Test plane #6 as well as the three month delay with the Genx engine for that plane.

    In addition there remains questions about the restrictions or issues FAA and EASA placed on the RR engines. RR disclaims that the test bed failure had anything to do with this but it confuses me and still presents what new/revised needs there will be on the RR engines for certification.

    Boeings language is always such that the issues are never clarified sufficiently and they raise as many questions as they do answers.

    • You sounded rather down earlier today.
      Would that slight rise indicate anything factual in conjunction
      with the ~$10 decrease starting early August? ( obviously I am a stock noob,
      but afaics valuation often goes more with uncexpectedness than the
      actual quality of newly released information, those in the know already
      unobstrusively having adjusted their portfolio in andvance )

      RR is rather adamant that the dismembered engine has no influence
      on Boeing delays. (from seattle pi )

  13. My guess is that an early customer like ANA, who were due to get the 787 with Rolls Royce’s Package A version of the Trent engine, heard about the engine blowout. They have told RR and Boeing, we are not flying with THAT!

    So Boeing, who were originally going to get the 787 out as fast as they could by testing with the Package A engine and then certifying Package B at their leisure, have decided that it’s no longer worth putting resources into testing an engine they’ll never use. Getting Package B into test is now on the critical path, hence the comments by RR and Boeing. In the meantime, they can use the pause to catch up on other things.

  14. 5) The Alaska Way Viaduct ?? ( confidential note content )

    Was that the Rennie (TM) for your twittering gut ?


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