787-10/777X: Aspire Aviation has this long analysis of the current status of these developmental programs.
737NG Engine Issues: Aviation Week on February 8 had a report of thrust irregularities on the Boeing 737NG. The Seattle Times reported it on line last night and in print today. And then the Seattle media went mad. We’re perplexed. The issue goes back five years, it happened 32 times and not since December when a fix appears to have–fixed it. What’s the big deal?
American-US Airways: The long-awaited merger was announced today and to our great relief, the US Airways management will run the place. American CEO Tom Horton is booted upstairs to non-executive chairman, much as was Glenn Tilton in the United-Continental combination. Unfortunately the AA-US merger keeps the awful tail livery rolled out by Horton a few weeks ago.
Scott thinks the 787 won’t get back into service for at last 3 months.
I just found out Scott Hamilton is also an Olympic gold medalist and the winner of four consecutive U.S. and World Championships in figure skating. 😉
And you are who? A 45 year old fanboy that never grew up?!
whats this ?!
Watch it. No name calling.
Keesje, according to Wikipedia, the former figure skater is Scott Scovell Hamilton who resides in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife and two sons. That Scott Hamilton is a man of many talents but aerospace analysis is not among them
Given he used a 😉 smilie, I’m pretty sure Keesje was well aware that Scott (the analyst) is not the same person as Scott (the figure skater) 🙂
I have to admit that it would be pretty cool if he was, though 😉
It is probably a common denominator thing: This and the battery are unknown cause i.e. “Gremlins in the walls” .
Anyway a couple of pretty pictures seems to have worked its magic and turned attention away from the grounding ( a.net : 8 posts/last24h ) to discussing a set of CGI art ( a.net 75 / 1d )
Even though the “tail falling off” was an obvious misfire it is interesting to note that not only the articles that took this up ( ~350 ) were purged but also googles cache. This is imho rather unusual.
Am I the only one who likes the new AA livery? It’s bright and distinctive. It doesn’t have that “overly polished” look that a lot of them seem to have these days.
Personally, I find it messy and perhaps a bit brash – although that might be the effect they are going for. The American name by contrast is somewhat suppressed in gray, when the whole point of branding is to promote a name. The one bit I really do like – the eagle symbol – which would look great on the tail is placed as an afterthought next to the logotype.
I do agree with you that it does at least,look like a livery. The old US and United brandings look like they were designed as company stationery first and then stuck on a plane.
Isn’t overly distinctive branding without positively distinguishing features more or less just dead?
So much branding and all it got them is Chapt.11 ?
No, you’re not. 🙂 I’m also a big fan of the new livery. Finally a big airline that dared deviate from the “logo on tail, white fuselage, titles above window row” formula that’s all too prevalent these days.
Nope, you’re not alone. I’m a huge fan too. Never liked AA’s old livery anyways as the silver always looked unpolished compared to the likes of Aeromexico or Aeroflot. Won’t be missed in my eyes. I like the grey, the new eagle and yes even the tail.
How romantic of US and American to get together on Valentine’s Day. Let’s hope Mr Parker remembers the roses.
Call me crazy but I really like the new American Airlines livery. I’ve yet to see it in the flesh (or metal) but from what I’ve seen of it in pictures it’s quite nice.
My only quibble is the flag on the tail should have had the stars on it in the blue area, rather than white stripes.
A very good livery for AA IMO, we’ll soon see it at allmost all types of commercial aircraft.
Except the A380/747-8i for now, but its chances grew today.
” To our great relief, the US Airways management will run the place”? No way. I support Horton and his MUCH more than Parker and his team. Horton was doing was a great job in getting AA back to a great airline. From the blockbuster order to getting labor rates in-line with competitors.
Parker is a shrewd business man, I will give him that, but I don’t like his way of running a business.
I predict within a few years, Parker and his management team will have major conflicts withe pilots and F/A unions.
As someone who is only a few thousand miles away from lifetime status on AA, I am not so sure this will good as it was prior to this merger.
Hmm, it may look as if the reality of the situation is starting to sink in whatever the “Boeing people” are saying about it.
Want the manual 😉
Securing alternative flying stock for the summer season does not imply that LOT believes the 787 is not going to fly until after summer. This is called risk mitigation.
That does imply, though, that LOT see a risk of not having their 787 back in service by October. Enough of a risk, anyway, to already plan ahead for it. Seems to me they’re not 100% convinced the grounding is going to end in the next one or two months.
LOT said that they were urgend by Boeing to …
i.e. they acted on guidance from Boeing.
( who pays the lease and who gets that money ?)
More cognitive hubris from Randy, it seems:
Translation: Our executives really want to kill that A330 aircraft badly by using the 777X as a “weapon” as well. Never mind that the 777-9X will be much bigger and capable than the A330; and since the A350 is nothing but a mirage, the -9X should finish the job — with Airbus going out of business in the WB category!
We’ve seen how well positioning a revamp works against a new design wirks in the 747-8i and the A350 Mk I.
The 777-9X may fare a little better, chiefly because it’ll be much bigger than the A350-1000 and the existing 777-300ER. Which also means that a) Boeing realises what the -1000 is likely going to do to the -300ER and b) the 747-8i will be killed altogether by the 9X.
…oh, also don’t forget how they initially said the 787-8/-9 was already going to see off the A330. I’m sure the -10 would put some pressure on the A330, but I’d not necessarily take Boeing’s publicity for gospel.
I had previously linked the Fortune Magazine article from 1985 and the similarities are incredible. Boeing really need to change their record, nearly 30 years have passed and it’s become worn out…
I love this “We essentially push the A330 out of the market”, they have been trying to do that for the last 15 years!! First with the B764 then the 787, the result? Airbus is pushing production to 11/month… Yep, the A330 is really lying in its death bed.
I also cannot see how on Earth the A330 competes with the 777X and the -10X. If anything they will push B748i out of the market, not that it is making much of an impact anyway.
Tinseth is making himself look like a clown, same nonsense as Forgeard’s “787 is a chineese copy of the A330”. Pity that our ‘in-house expert’, who loves to get get his teeth on Leahy, seldom criticises stuff like this, although we could probably view it as a comedy piece.
Let me address your perplexity on why I “went made” and actually wrote a story about the 737NG engine instability problems.
As my story notes:
No. 1. Boeing hasn’t even firmly established the root cause, much less found a fix.
No. 2. The incidents when BOTH engines were affected in flight happened last August and last November. Not five years ago. In one of those 2012 incidents, one engine had to be shut down. That’s not a trivial incident and it dramatically elevated the priority of the investigation inside Boeing.
No. 3. Since the incidents are relatively rare, the fact that there hasn’t been one since the CFM software update TWO MONTHS AGO, is hardly evidence that everything’s now OK.
You make it sound like I overplayed the story. It wasn’t. It’s tucked well inside the paper and not the least alarmist.
But it is comprehensive. See http://seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2020352932_boeing737enginesxml.html
I was referring to radio and TV, which were ringing my phone off the hook last night and as early as 520am today.
Dominic’s article is based on sober facts. Dominic also took care to put the number of incidents into perspective. Not the faintest trace of alarmism.
It is obvious that alarmism is exactly what other media were looking for, so they tried somewhere else 😉
Well re the 737NG story- IMHO- its in the news simply because all the problems with 787 and the results of outsourcing combined with the possible impending strike.
A lot of focus is on Boeing.
It is NOT helped by the arrogant attitude of Boeing management- especially those who haven’t got the memo about do not threaten employees for labor actions.
and the to be or now immortal words of Delaney – ( major paraphrasing follows ) ” we dont need no stinking ( SPEEA) engineers”
Boeing has both a PR and financial disaster in the making- while crying poor poor poor ..
For example- from SPEEA late yesterday
SEATTLE – The Boeing Company was charged Wednesday (Feb. 13) with new Unfair Labor Practices (ULP) after company security, acting on management orders, banned engineers and technical workers from leafleting at the Everett factory. The actions are in addition to reports of managers holding mandatory meetings with employees to interrogate and intimidate them regarding the current contract votes.
“We are extremely disappointed in the company’s misconduct,” said Ray Goforth, SPEEA executive director. “Boeing’s contract proposals should pass or fail on their merits. This illegal intimidation must cease immediately.”
Ballots were mailed Feb. 5 and will be counted Tuesday (Feb. 19) to determine if 15,550 engineers and 7,400 technical workers accept Boeing’s latest contract offers. Union leaders are recommending members reject the offers and grant their negotiation teams authority to call a strike if subsequent negotiations fail.
Heckling of the competition will increase further.
Is it noteworthy that the floated images were seemlngly taken by phone camera from a paper printout ? Doesn’t look like a well prepared presentation, imho.
Scott, regarding the possible strike over retirement benefits. Would it make sense for Boeing and the engineers to consider offering both options to the new hires and let them choose? Ie 401k or traditional pension? For the new generation (millennials) the likelihood of staying until retirement at one company seems small and a large percentage may choose a transportable 401 plan they can easier take with them. Is that a reasonable compromise?
I think thats an unfair question to ask Scott- since the Pension issue is VERY complex- and few reporters or journalists have sufficient background other than to make a SWAG.
There could be 3 choices by the way- the pension plan known as heritage or by the acronym BCERP which is what IAM and SPEEA have, the Boeing 401K plan which I **think** they have hosed newer employees on already, and a plan covering over 100,000 employees known as the PVP- or pension value plan – (aka the so called cash balance or crash balance plan ) put in place for many-most in 1999-2000. The PVP plan has elements of traditional (BCERP) plan AND 401k type plan but requiries working till age 65 to get full 100 percent bennies. The BCERP plan gets 100 percent at age 60. the 401k plan _IF one is lucky and works till ?? and gets an average of 7 percent or so returns will probably come up short of either existing plan.
And BA calling ppor poor is NOT supported by the Annual report since ERISA counted funds are now at 100 percent of required. ERISA does NOT count beans the way most think.
In either case- neither BA or SPEEA seems to have offered the PVP as an alterantive, nor any other feasible compromise- BA says its 401k or nothing, SPEEA says no way jose for 401k – and we’ll have to wait about5 or 6 days for the vote.
BTW- 2001-2004 I submitted shareholder proposals to give employees a choice on retirement between PVP and BCERP. I got each year between 30 and 50 million votes
Boeing of course objected- and eveni if I had won- would not have had to implement.
2003 proxy shareholder proposal statement
RESOLVED: Shareholders request the Board of Directors adopt the following policy:
(1) All EMPLOYEES vested at time of conversion be given a choice between their Heritage plans or the Pension
Value cash-balance plan at time of their termination or retirement.
(2) The cash balance plan to provide a monthly annuity at least equal to that expected under the old pension plan,
or an actuarially equivalent lump sum.
Boeing implemented the Pension Value Plan (PVP) in 1999 for over 100,000 non-represented employees. Although
the PVP is primarily one of benefit formula change, Boeing has previously claimed it could not comply with
eligibility, vesting, benefit and funding requirements by giving employees a choice at retirement or termination. We
believe, however, that the Company can allow such a choice, as other companies like Kodak, 3M, Motorola, Delta
Airlines, and AT&T have done.
In their February 23, 1998 message to shareholders, Boeing said “A company, any company, is nothing more or less than the people who make it up.” We believe Boeing should “walk their talk” in pension issues.
The Company’s pension plan documents state that gains arising from experience under the Plan will not serve to
increase the benefits otherwise due any participant but will be used to reduce future Company contributions.”
Boeing, like many corporations, legally improves earnings with non-spendable pension gains based on anticipated
pension fund returns.
boeing BOD against in proxy ( typical extract from a full page NO way Jose
The PVP preserves all benefits earned under the former plans, and allows these benefits to continue growing in
proportion to the employee’s salary.
Employees began earning new benefits under the PVP formula immediately upon the PVP’s implementation
rather than having a “wear-away” transition period before they could accrue any new benefits under the cashbalance
The PVP increases the percentage of pay that is credited to the employee’s cash-balance “account” as the
employee’s age increases. Thus, the PVP gives the Company’s oldest employees nearly four times more benefit
credits each year than their youngest counterparts receive.
Well, you clearly are knowledgeable about the issue. I (like probably most of us here) don’t know much about the nitty gritty details. But I was wondering whether there is some compromise that could be reached. I train younger people coming into my company and I believe that they have much less corporate loyalty to any specific company. Numerous studies seem to indicate that there are major differences in how the generations view their employers in terms of long term commitment, hence my question.
As to whether it is a fair question, I think Scott can give an opinion as he seems to have contacts in both camps and he is likely the most neutral party present.
If Scott said that he does indeed deserve a gold medal. I don’t know about his skating skills, but he kind of broke the ice by saying publicly what many people think deep down inside, including Boeing probably. It takes a lot of nerves to say something like this around Seattle.
Thank God the Wall Street analysts prefer to listen to, and chose to believe, what Boeing has to say on the matter. That’s because both parties are riding the same boat and no one in New York wants to see Boeing take a plunge.
Actually Scott made it sound like if both TST and AWST overplayed the story when he said “What’s the big deal?” I disagree with Scott on that point. On the other hand, when he said “And then the Seattle media went mad,” I don’t think he was targeting the author of the TST article in particular.
Scott’s explanation of the phone ringing off the hook makes a lot of sense in the context of the 787 world fleet grounding. Boeing is presently under the microscope and the media in general might have a tendency to overreact to potential problems with any Boeing aircraft.
As far as I am concerned your article was fascinating to read and I compared it the AWST article on the same subject, which I also found to be very interesting. I had never heard of the problem before, but it reminded me of the mystery surrounding the rudder reversal problem of a few years ago. Obviously this new problem is much less serious, but nevertheless must be addressed to prevent another “Hudson River incident.”
Your article puts the emphasis on fuel contamination as “the leading suspect in the problems.” In AWST fuel contamination is barely discussed. Where a comparison is in order is when the instability itself is discussed.
In TST it says “Boeing in December also issued a bulletin to flight crews flying in the Western U.S. that re-emphasized existing instructions to pilots to reduce the throttle smoothly and continuously after takeoff.” The way this is phrased it could be interpreted to mean that some pilots might actually be inducing a compressor stall by throttling back too abruptly on top of a climb after takeoff.
In AWST it says “Boeing has issued a Flight Operations bulletin to airlines advising pilots to use existing quick reference handbook (QRH) procedures for engine surge or compressor stall events.”
“The QRH instructs pilots to disengage the autothrottles and decrease the thrust levers until abnormal engine noises or engine performance indications (rpm and exhaust gas temperatures) return to normal levels, after which the power can be increased. If noises or performance do not stabilize as the power is decreased, pilots are instructed to fully retard the thrust lever, shut down the engine and land “at the nearest suitable airport,” using the one engine inoperative checklist.”
What I gather from the Aviation Week article is that the fuel instability is inducing a compressor stall, and the pilots are instructed to handle the instability like any other compressor stall.
Again in AWST: “Boeing says it has made a software change to the CFM56-7B electronic engine control module, part of the full authority digital engine controller, to lessen the chances of the problem occurring.” To me this could mean the bleed valve schedule has been slightly modified to mitigate the possibility of a compressor stall in certain flight conditions.
The TST article points in the same direction when it says “Engine supplier CFM in December recommended a software update to enhance throttle control. There have been no incidents since that update, Tull said.” Statistically speaking, two months means nothing in this case. In the meantime I will wait for followups in TST.
Thank you Dominic for your articles in general and this one in particular.
Best Regards, Normand
Scott et al, ref my earlier posts, are you assuming that “back in service” for the 787 is the day of the first revenue flight of the a new airplane incorporating the as-yet undefined fix? That same fix would bthen e installed in every new 787 from then on.
A retrofit cannot be certified until the production fix is done. There are 50 previously-delivered airplanes now parked at their owners’ facilities. Add to that the who-knows-how-many 787’s in various stages of rework before the grounding. Then add the airplanes being built during the grounding. Maybe 100 or more aircraft? How long to get all of them done?
Besides the DC-10, an earlier example of the grounding of a commercial airliner was the Douglas DC-6. It was grounded in late 1947 following two crashes, one of them fatal. At that time the airplane had only been in service since the previous March. The grounding affected 80 DC-6’s and lasted four months.
“back in service” ~= available for revenue flight.
i.e. grounding retracted and mandatory changes applied.
“never delivered” should be around 50 frames ( groups ranging from >3y old to just built )
Every month gone by will bring another 4..6 into storage: LOT date Oct. 2013 :: ~100 frames
( and another $15b in added inventory ).
What is the chance of Boeing being allowed to testfly these ( maybe just to get the chance to store them elsewhere ) ?
Uwe, everything coming off the line will need to fly at least once just to verify that everything is working. If the airplane needs to be sent somewhere for rework, that’s another flight.
Are there any airworthiness experts out there who could tell us if and how that could be done before the fix is installed? Would Boeing need an experimental or provisional C of A for the check flight plus a ferry permit to get to the rework facility?
Its unconfirmed- but there are rumours around that many of the 787 delivered so far had to have several more test flights and corrections made than usual. IOW many other planes 737 require one or two flights to trim and correct minor items before a delivery flight by the customer. 787 seem to have taken 4 to 6 such flights before delivery- and that was BEFORE the battery issue.
If true – then at lest some of rework/corrections could be done after a ferry flight – but its a good bet the battery fix will be at the top before very many flights of any kind take place.
IMO_ we are talking months plus lots of travel for AOG crews and DER/AR types.
The strange part of the 737NG engine problem is that it appears to have only occured on the US west coast. If one wants to read more into it, focused more on the northwest.
That suggests either a climatalogical issue or as they themselves have pointed out, fuel contamination. Had there been any volcanic incidents in the area when these events occurred?
Right wing engines do not work well on the Left coast 🙂
To that end, not much progress since the times of the Roman Empire when augurs did pretty much the same job as analysts and rating companies do today. 😀
It has always been about drawing others into your spiel / stage piece.
Reality tends to be a side issue and a detraction.
That statement could be part of the introduction for the book “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Boeing Empire.” 😉
From where you sit OV, what path do you see ahead for Boeing and its 787 batteries?
Normand, that was a quote from CM in an earlier thread. 🙂
He was responding to an earlier comment of mine:
We now stand at the one month mark into the grounding with apparently very little tangible progress to show so far. It may now look as if Mr. Arvai analysis could indeed be closer to how things will transpire than how things looked for CM a short month ago.
I now see my mistake. I was quite surprised by “your” statement, not realizing that it came form CM.
I thought you had momentarily lost your mind! 😉
What kind of developement would bypass Mr. Arvai’s view while still fitting CM prediction ?
For example, if Boeing was to be given carte blanche on a new containment set-up by the FAA, then we could be talking about say a 3 month grounding. 😉
There is nothing that Boeing, nor the FAA, can do before the NTSB issues its preliminary report next month. Both the FAA and Boeing have been politically isolated and the NTSB is now running the show.
Remember that “Joint Announcement” last january with Boeing, the FAA and DOT all in the same room? The NTSB was not invited, and for good reason.
The first part of the Aspire article is a nice summary of the situation with the 787. Although there is nothing new there, it’s full of gold nuggets.
– “I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight.”
– “Last week it was safe.”
– “The 787 will not be allowed to conduct commercial flights again unless safety regulators are “1,000% sure” it is safe.”
– “We are confident about the safety of this aircraft.”
– “I am 100% convinced that the airplane is safe to fly.”
– “The redundancies that we have put into this machine are phenomenal.”
– “Unlike nickel-cadmium and lead-acid batteries, some types of lithium ion batteries use liquid electrolytes that are flammable.”
– “The replacement cycle that we’ve been experiencing there has been for maintenance reasons, there’s been no incident that we are aware of where our batteries have been replaced due to any kind of safety concerns.”
– “Nothing we’ve learned has told us that we’ve yet – that it has told us that we have made the wrong choice on the battery technology.”
One of McNerney’s more irritating media spins IMO was to claim the dispatch reliability of the 787 fleet was similar to the 777’s.
Then Jon Ostrower found out Boeing and the airlines moved heaven and earth to keep the fleet on schedule, including back-up aircraft. Apparently usual high battery exchanges rates included.
I’ve been tracking United’s fleet ever since the MSY diversion and based on their last 375 flights (which doesn’t include all the advanced substitutions etc) would be very hard-pressed to believe UA has been operating their 787s with a DR over 92% since Dec. 7th.
UA having to position two extra 787s to LAX for the NRT inaugural says everything about their lack of confidence in the aircraft’s reliability in my opinion. Note the article mentioned “at least” two spare aircraft, as technically there was a third spare 787 available. UA flight 3 operated IAH-LAX in the morning and arrived 2 hours before the NRT flight with nothing further scheduled that day. Thankfully, they picked the right frames – one of their 787s operating out of IAH went tech twice that day and ended up being substituted the second time around.
I found it unfortunate that while the media was sensationalizing and drooling over such trivial issues such as ANA’s cracked windshield, none of the local media ever picked up on or looked into United’s operations.
ANA looks to be in much better shape and is no doubt bringing up the worldwide DR average, but I’m very skeptical if they manage to lift it to that of the 777 (was it 97.9%?). Quite frankly, solid positive figures simply don’t call for creative PR-speak. Instead, they claimed:
“Its in-service performance is on par with the industry’s best-ever introduction into service – the Boeing 777. Like the 777, at 15 months of service, we are seeing the 787’s fleet wide dispatch reliability well above 90 percent.”
Such statements leave far too much room for interpretation.
Anyway, it’s kind of interesting reading the old article again, wherein Al Baker defended the 787 stating “If there was a safety issue, the FAA would have [grounded] all 787 operations”.
Whoops. Maybe he jinxed it.
If Boeing says 99% reliability, you have to believe it. And when it says that the 100 + batteries that have been replaced so far on the 787 were for regular maintenance, you also have to believe it. Especially if you are a stock analyst. 😉
“I found it unfortunate that while the media was sensationalizing and drooling over such trivial issues such as ANA’s cracked windshield, none of the local media ever picked up on or looked into United’s operations.”
Seen the recent press rush over “A380 flying with open door at 27000′ ?
Or imagine the press feast if forex LH had worked from a stash of reserve frames for their first long range A380 revenue flight.
Do the presented 787 fuel numbers have similar magic behind them?
Dispatch reliability has nothing to do with aircraft reliability. If two aircraft go tech but the third leaves on schedule, dispatch reliability is 100%..
If the aircraft arrives with a list of faults after most flights, but a big team on the ground manages to fix them before the next flight, same thing : 100% dispatch reliability.
The sneaky logic behind claiming high dispatch reliability for the 787 is 98.3% of the press/ public doesn’t know the definition & assumes the 787 has a high reliability.
Goal achieved without formally lying..
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