Production transformation key to Boeing NMA

March 20, 2018, © Leeham News: As Boeing builds the business case for the New Midrange Airplane (NMA, or 797), dozens of major factors come into play, along with the hundreds or thousands of smaller one.

The market demand, of course, is a well-known business case element.

So is price to the customer, the design and capabilities of the airplane, the engines and the technology of them, whether there will be a sole- or dual-source engine, where the airplane will be assembled and how it will be produced.

One Boeing official told LNC that the 797 is as much about production as it is everything else. This goes to cost and cost goes to pricing.

Automation, robotics, digital design, 3D printing and additive manufacturing are key to producing the 797. Many elements are already in place on other Boeing programs, most described in the media already.

One key supplier is Dassault Systemes.

Mandate for competitiveness

Michel Tellier

 “The mandate for market competitiveness is pretty aggressive,” says Michel Tellier, VP of Aerospace & Defense. “That’s not just non-recurring costs, it’s also recurring costs that are most influenced by the production capabilities.”

The target sale price for the NMA is between $65m-$75m, according to lessor Air Lease Corp, Boeing and others.

Tellier, mindful of proprietary issues, declined to outline how Boeing might achieve a cost basis that will allow a sales price in this range. He said that from a broad and general perspective, Boeing fundamentally wants technology across the board to rebuild their digital infrastructure.

“They want to have a digital infrastructure that allows them to develop from planning through production. Boeing is a strong believer in continuous improvement, progressive improvement,” Tellier said. “The only way this works is (A) the experiences you learn you can contextualize against what you said you were going to do; and then you have the flexibility to act upon it.

“The flexibility to act on it really means it comes down to an affordability equation. ‘I have an idea here that will take 10 cents out of this part, or $10,000 out of this process,’” he said. It could also be taking weight out of parts.

“If each one of those opportunities is too expensive to implement, none of them will be implemented.” There are “parking lots” at aircraft manufacturers where ideas sit because the cost to implement is too high.

Tellier said Dassault Systemes is a supplier to several aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus.

Second century

“You really need to take the cost barrier down quite significantly to make all of that continuous improvement affordable,” he says. “I think Boeing came to the realization that current course and speed or tuning different parts of the business separately wasn’t going to work. That’s when they created this second century strategy.”

Indeed, Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg alluded to the second century in a 2016 speech.

“To achieve these lofty goals in our second century, we are focusing on two primary strategies: First, to continue building strength-on-strength to deliver on our existing plans and commitments and improve them where needed. And, second, to stretch beyond those plans and sharpen and accelerate our pace of progress on key growth and productivity efforts to achieve our full potential,” he said.

The second century initiative is to rebuild the infrastructure within Boeing, reversing a lot of the outsourcing that was done with the 787. For example, the wings were outsourced on the 787 but in-sourced for the 777X. Nacelles for the 737 MAX are now done in-house.

“They have the flexibility to continuously improve effectively,” Tellier says. “They have infrastructure so they have digital continuity end-to-end. They have the infrastructure so as they execute, they do what they said they were going to do,” allowing the experience being gained to inform the next decision.

Dassault Systemes has been engaged by Boeing to equip them with the infrastructure to support this work “for everything from design through production,” he says.

A new moonshot?

With Boeing saying the NMA is as much about production as anything else, all these initiatives and all the production automation on other programs appearing to be heading for convergence on the NMA, the question is obvious: is this another moonshot that former CEO Jim McNerney famously said would be avoided on the next airplane?

The 787 was the first airplane to undertake a large-scale composites (more than 50% of the fuselage, tail and wings are composites). It was also the first electrical aircraft and the first where industrial partners took on large parts of the design and production of the aircraft. Before this, partners did “manufacture to print,” following Boeing’s design.

“I think the 8-7 had five moonshots baked into it,” Tellier says. “They sort of multiply each other in terms of risk.

“I can’t comment on where they are in terms of disposition and whether they are going to be integrated and collated in the NMA. But I do know the way we’re working with Boeing today is not based on moonshots. It’s really pragmatically building technology levels and progressing the technology into production in an effective risk-free or risk-mitigated way.”

91 Comments on “Production transformation key to Boeing NMA

  1. Sounds that Catia PLM software will solve “Everything”.
    There is a risk that careful and thorough engineering with excellent tooling design and bold managemement decisions are needed as well along the way to an “All composite, super high tech widebody aircraft with ultra high efficiency new engines” for $60M.
    There is a risk that just a pair of fully QEC’d RR Ultrafan engines with all carbon/ CMC Composite Nacelles will cost $60M.

    • There will be issues, there always are. In this case a history of making it work will likely overcome any.

      And sooner or latter you have to take the LEAP (pun intended even if a bit off)

      So in this case, you cannot (or should not) allocate all the cost to the 797 as it will be used for the follow on aircraft.

      How you work that out (or not) accounting wise is beyond me (bring on AP Robert!)

      But it has to be a factor in how the 797 is assesed cost wise as like the 777, its going to be the trail horse for the methods going forward.

    • Catia is the CAD package.
      Enovia is the associated PLM product.
      Not sure how much aero focused customisation is available.

      The real world revenue figure is interesting.
      Anyone with an idea of the figure for a A321?

      • My guess would be that Airbus has the full tool chain working now.
        Guess where Boeing got the “shiny, wanna” from.
        But as I said Cargo Cult : just like with distributed manufacturing and design they only see the outside.
        “Must be easy”
        Boeing backtracked from the Airbus production model.
        They gave up.

        • Yet they are 500-750 787 ahead of the 350 in deliveries and the gap is growing still fast. So not sure that production system is winning where it matters.

          Few seem to want 330s. BA seem to have succeeded in freezing that market shut with the NMA.

          • No petard around. only soft brown stuff.

            You seem to overlay the effectiveness of “integrated design, simulation, production” as apparently proven on the A350 with other effects like different position in production ramp up or predatory sales campaigns
            and then judge on those secondary and unconnected to the primary “things”.
            From the box of Schopenhauer’s “How to argue to win”.

          • @Uwe, Logical Positivism is dead. Kurt Goedel killed it about a century ago (look him up wikipedia)

    • Sounds that Catia PLM software will solve “Everything”.

      Unless Boeing is using one version and Embraer is using another to design it. You know what can happen.

  2. If the sales price includes engines and cabin fit its mighty ambitious.

    • From mr Hamilton’s most recent Pontification:
      “Airbus list prices include IFE and Buyer Furnished Equipment (BFE). Boeing list prices are only the airframe and engines.”

  3. “The target sale price for the NMA is between $65m-$75m,”

    Is that “list” or “achievable” sales price?

    After Airbus sucessfully did the A350 in a fully digital integrated environment ( design, simulation, production management … )
    Boeing deigns to copy that too like they did with the distributed production setup that was to have made the Dreamliner a cheaply snapped together instant production success. ( and the announced sales pricing reflected that. It is so easy we can give them away 🙂

    This IMU is then the next round of Boeing going Cargo Cult.

    Color me unimpressed.

      • So list will be $150 .. 170m 🙂
        That is about as lowballed as the initial asking price that came up for the 787.

        If they sell off the planes cheap and expect to recoup via services ( 787: still $25..30b out, right? ) how will customers view being gouged in the future?
        To start with Boeing has to at least one up project accounting to cosmetically cover that financial bow wave topped of with wipped cream of profit 🙂
        For the 797 the story is a retelling: because of a multitude of gimmicky changes ( largely copied from the competitor ) this plane will make every body rich.
        Interesting that they focus on the beauties of Lady Catia X ?

        • Remember the 1B$ deal Dassault did with Catia for software 1-2 years back? Albeit for 30 years that’s not a bad one when it comes to software licenses.

          Without such electronic environments, no one can built state of the art complex assets these days.

          • To use all the fuctionality in the Catia system is smart and you can keep good control of parts, progress, test schedules with its results, technical reports, analyses made with its results/concusions and the whole Project with time&money spent and planned to be spent. Boeing/Saab probably did on the T-X Project.

            But it does not replace good engineering for parts/systems and tooling designs as other popular software packages like Ansys, Comsol, Altair come into play together with experience from eralier made misstakes and its solutions.
            Advanced software on fast computers is a bit like racecars, you can go fast but you can also go terrible wrong fast without others seeing it and the FAA recognize it until way later.
            So you need the checks and experience to smell when its results turn on the wrong track.

        • Well, Boeing could do like Airbus with the A380. Write of the loss and claim the program is profitable.

          • “Write of the loss and claim the program is profitable.”

            Alternate facts or false witness, Mr Shaw?

  4. Although not specifically on this topic, I was really curious about the potential market size, so I came up with a way to check the potential routes for such an NMA. Depending on the airport sizes there are some 1,000 – 3,000 routes that are between 5,000 and 9,260 km. And that doesn’t even count the fat short routes. https://www.asroutemap.info/nmaroutes.asp

    • I changed the upper limit to 13,000 km and count of possible routes increases by 60 %.

        • Every article this month about the NMA/B797 mentions a 5000 nm (9260 km) range for the smaller version and a 4500 nm range for the stretched version.
          So we’re more or less talking about 10 hr flights max. Definitely not 13000 km (over 7000 nm and 14 hour flights)

          They could build a BBJ 797 with that range thouh.

          • BA look to be in the market to develop a teenie weenie Light duty TA.

            Next step will be the medium duty ER version to get the range out to 6K NM nominal.

            LD = 60-65T OEW.
            MD / ER version = 70-75T OEW.

            Weight will be king.

            Looking to build the world’s lightest TA plane.
            The challenge will not be in beating AB.
            The challenge will be in beating the MC-21.

            I still think a Super Duper Sixty based on the A32X platform / component set will win in the end.

            The curse of the B767 looms over the whole endeavour — not enough floorspace.

  5. The import of this move is writ large on the subsequent launch of an NSA. When you consider the consistent historically high volumes produced of most products now there is considerable scope to improve, refine and streamline the production process.

    When looking at the B787 and the A350, as recent examples, it has struck me the substantial increase in the industrialisation of the designs. Part of this will relate to new capability (eg autoclave, will this be seen to be a technological dead end?) but there is also significant investment in automated flexible manufacturing.

    I am not very familiar with the current Boeing practises, as I understand it they have focused on a more traditional strive for efficiency through developing their ‘line’. Airbus have countered with more investment in automation based around ‘stations’. Personally I would be very keen to learn more detail on the relative efficiencies/ benefits of either approach.

    There is nothing wrong with having an aggressive approach to improvements, something I really appreciate of the American psyche, the only issue is not to always believe in your own hype and bull.

    • That bull word also sprang to my mind when reading this endless stream of metaphors, PR-speak and buzzwords.

      • Your missing the point in what’s going on around digitalization and full virtual mockups. 2004 is ‘light years away’ from 2018.

        It’s accelerating. Iterations are now happening very fast… concurrently.

        • You have got my attention, how does what you suggest relate to manufacture as opposed to design or design to manufacture.

          • Sowerbob, see what @Layman says (far) below in the comments around design/manufacture iterations in terms of trials and entering results in the PLM/CAD systems. That’s how those systems are fed and design/manufacture go hand in hand.

          • Use control-F on your browser. Insert “Layman” without the quotes. Find. Go there 🙂

  6. Again, alarm bells need to be going off when the word “moonshot” is anywhere near a BA conversation! (“Learn from your last fiasco!” LOL) As I noted in my post after the previous LNC article, go for a downsized, 787-8 II/797 at about $90 million. Hold the line at $5 Billion in direct development cost. Boeing, “Incrementalism is your friend!”

  7. I see a lot of this as ‘Hokey Cokey management’. Flavour of the month with the B787 was outsource and sharing for success, or to be more cynical let tier 1/2 take more of the risk and Boeing take more of the profit. This clearly did not work on the basis that risk was not transferred to suppliers but instead multiplied by a loss of direct management control on key processes.

    So this time we have an approach that says we can’t rely on the suppliers and we will do it more in-house (already started with B777x) as we have the means to do it better and more efficiently…

    So put the left wing in, put the left wing out, in out in out and shake it all about……

    • Sowerbob: That is not being cynical, it was the core part of the whole program.

      How often do we see a CEO come in, change it all, leave and then it gets changed back or to something else?

      What you need is good managers, not overcompensated glory hounds.

      • Companies of this type/product complexity do not survive without a core set of very capable people throughout.

        2018 is not 2004. They learn. Witness the learning curve on the 787.

        • The learning curve on the B787 has been impressive but some extent that was predetermined by starting from a massively high cost of unit one

          • Given the $$ gushing right now out of BA, i believe there is more than on cash cow program and this is not defense. My intuition at least.

          • “.. $$ gushing.. ”

            That probably is more wagging the dog than anything else. indicator reversal.

          • I think it’s safe to say pretty much everyone on here agrees it’s better to spend all that cash on developing a B797 instead of buying back shares.
            However, given their accounting m.o. it’s also safe to say it’s unlikely they’ll fund development from cash flow.

  8. If Boeing history is any indication of a Boeing future in regards to development costs of a “Moonshot,” then ten years from now they will be talking about a 35 Billion dollar plane. I’m factoring in Boeing accounting, foreign engineering, trying to outfox the unions, MBA-ing in general, etc…

  9. Many words,no enlightenment. I am none the wiser for having read this article.

  10. Must remember that one of Boeing’s big long term drives is to generate sustainable income from service contracts. So they are prepared to sell at near cost, and take sales away from Airbus?

    HA 789 order an example?

      • Trouble with that ‘sevices model’ is that a big chunk of the revenue is either line maintenance at 1000s airports or engine maintenance.
        You arent going to get that sort revenue from having 5 big maintenance centres around the world which be economic scale. The engine makers arent going to let Boeing come in late and take their maintenance revenue

      • Not at all, its just an example of Boeing’s business model and what they could potentially have in mind with the 797 to sell at around $70m?

        • They tried to suffocate the competition with cheap 787 tupperware to exterminate the competing product. This did not work out so well.
          All hidden by program accounting but that reservoir is full and not running off fast enough. Boeing is running on money borrowed from the future so to speak.

  11. Buying those blades could catch up with airlines?

    Can see a 797 being sold at these prices with a (rich?) full service contract including engines.

    • Agree that you can sell cheap and force the buyer to sign up for a $ 5000-$10 000/hr full service maintenance program and some additions with a min 3000hr/year utilization.

      • Airlines are the real experts in such slice and dice add-on model. Not sure air-framers can con them so easily.

        • Well some Airlines might go for it to be first with the 797’s for a bargain price (Norwegian…)
          but others will get stuck in negotiations with Boeing regarding doing the work in house (Delta Tech Ops) without first signing a mega expensive Total Care package and then be a subcontractor to Boeing/GE and get paid $50/MHR for the job on their own fleet only.
          This includes Boeing/Aviall providing all the spares for the whole Aircraft under the Total care deal.
          Planeloads of lawyers will shuttle to and from Chicago for years until sales are getting to be closed only when the Airlines start replacing their 767’s and A321ceo’s en masse with a321neo’s and A322’s.

          • If AB optimizes the 322 for typical <6 hour flights with 2nd door in front of the wing (apologies for repeating) it could be a compelling alternative in many respects.

  12. I disagree that the 787 was a moon shot. It was a well crafted and well designed aircraft. Certainly leading edge but not so far as to have issues because of the tech.

    The moon shot part was not tech it was outsourcing and management believing their own BS that you could get something for nothign. Step right up folks and drink the purple cool aid.

    The moon shot was their attempt to shift the blame to the program and not on themselves. Self serving is putting it mildly.

    The one I followed most closely was the battery.

    1. Not a SAFT product and if you are going to do batteries for an aircraft, SAFT is the one to use (let alone a whole new battery). They do it all under one house.

    2. There were 4 Seperate companies involved with the battery all having different aspects of it with only nebulous coordination. Thales (management, right), Secura Plane (battery charger , who was a security aviation firm for crying out loud) Yusa (their motorcycle batteries are good) and an obscure Japanese Electronics firm (made the monitoring board)

    Boeing could easily have lost aircraft in the air over that one, all because of management outsourcing and in the most incompetent way possible.

    3. Yuasa had not a clue and amongst their other high crimes against technology was their filthy battery plant for a battery that requires a clean room environment (and there wee other issue)

    Overcoming all those vastly spread out issues was what caused the program debacle.

    • This bring me back to engines, monopolies are not good, competition is. But, look at the MAX’es, one engine type as is the 777’s and the 350’s. Then look at the current 320NEO issues, tow engine types.

      Hope for the 797 its one engine type and optimize/”perfect” it for its application, larger volumes should reduce production costs and payback of development costs. Build the aircraft around the best engine.

      Each engine type needs its certification, the NEO’s an example, 6 certification programs.

      • I was at Engine Americas at the end of January. You can see now the durability expectations for new engines between major maintenance is growing astonishingly from like 20y ago. This is incredible engineering.

        Not sure there is a market for 3 or 4 (Safran?) manufacturers long term. P&W is only back in the game because they could survive and invest with our massive military $$. They’d be out for the count otherwise.

        There’s nothing elsewhere anywhere near this tech class in russia/china.

    • @TW

      A well crafted and well designed aircraft? The first 20+ needed to be rebuilt. From the B789 onwards we have a masterpiece that dominates its sector but the whole B788 was a debacle that even today is something Boeing wishes to quietly walk away from.

      It says something when multiple brand new aircraft are being wheeled unceremoniously into museums within a couple of years of being built and others have been sold at knockdown prices after having failed miserably to meet even the most basic design specs.

      And all that I refer to has nothing to do with lowest bidder batteries.

      • Sowerbob:

        That was a direct result of all the outsourced mistakes.

        Boeing had no teams at the suppliers, basically the assemblers fidgeted and adjusted the whole thing together.

        Fastener were missing, large numbers of them.

        Boeing had not a clue because they had no one at the supplier watching that and no one watching the common stream of fasteners all suppliers used.

        Shoot, the -8 is still so hosed up that its not common with the 9 and 10.

        The wing join issue was a result of a panicked weight loss program.

        Again, you scatter it all over the world and no control, then you get the parts and its, hmmm, they added a bit of a fudge here to be sure theirs did not fail. If I designed the part and I would do the same thing.

        If Boeing designed it, it gets built to spec and you know what you should have.

        The fuselage worked, the wing worked, the tail worked (when shimmed right) etc.

        Electrical isolation failed when it should not have.

        • ‘The fuselage worked, the wing worked, the tail worked (when shimmed right) etc.’

          They may all have worked but not necessarily in conjunction with each other. You have explained some of the many failings hence validating my point I think

        • I think BA learned. This was 15y ago. HBS has written about it…:-)
          Time to move on.

          Dassault digital mockups now can model these things. Pretty astonishing.

          Of course you have to mass produce (to quality). Small ‘detail’.

          • Too true, it is history and the future is far more interesting

    • Boeing did want too much- what else is your definition of moonshoot?

      Changing production, materials, design, tech, suppliers and development process at once was a too big chunk to swallow, and it did almost cost them the company.
      They were just 1! incident away of killig the 87. If just one of those faulty planes did light up inflight over an ocean, bye bye Boeing.

      The first 20 where to heavy, almost each a unicat, and had issues.
      A well used saying mentioned Boeing workers wouldn’t fly 788 – because it’s not safe.

      It was late, faulty, too heavy and too expensive.
      For me this is a disaster. It speaks for Boeing they got out of it and made the 789 a sucessful plane.
      But on the way they should have died, they were just lucky they didnt have fatals and the authorities did bystand for so long. Otherwise, the B787 could have been grounded for years, not jut months.

      • I don’t buy that the 787 in flight failure would have destroyed Boeing.

        Huge impact, killed the program maybe.

        Boeing lost 20 billion on it (total 32 or so) and they still were buying back shares!

        As stated, they were lucky not to have an in flight battery light off.

        DC-10 had several crashes and it went onto live a fairly productive life and certainly the MD-11 did.

        • Losing a test airplane as they came very close to…would not have killed the program.
          Losing an ANA jet over the pacific through a fire and 250 dead Japanese citizens may have been hard for then to keep the 787 without major changes to the airplane and lots of additional B$+3-4 years.

          The 777 and 737 would have kept them fully alive still. No doubt.

          But they were very strong $$ and survived the accounting loss to now making real money.

    • The problem with the 787 was the compressed time frame. They thought they could design, produce and EIS in four years.

      They began production before the first one flew. Then they kept introducing design changes that rippled through the supply chain. It resulted in a lot rework and of out-of sequence work, delays and expense.

      Many of the subcontractors were not up to the task and Boeing had to take over for them.

      • “Many of the subcontractors were not up to the task and Boeing had to take over for them.”

        Boeing Uber Alles. rewriting history.
        Boeing ran them into the ground with “trash in trash out”.
        Buying them up cheaply when they were financially overextended ( due to Boeing incompetence.)

        • One problem was that James McNerney thought he could repeat the GE system of Risk and Revenue sharing partners for the 787 without much Control and Review of the selected RRSP,
          McNerney did not dig deep enough into the GE system of it, just saw the $ benefit of it. Boeing engineering and Q was not strong enough to put a GE system in Place of similar quality shops before it was launched with the RRSP fee paid to Boeing and with the date July 8 2007 for roll out in everybodys mind you got the troubles recorded.
          Boeing did a great job on the 787-9 Learning from the 787-8 and now probably have solid profitable 787-9’s rolling out from 2 FAL’s.

          • In an environment where you don’t even do “real” prototypes anymore achieving a good product only with the Mk2 incarnation is IMHO unacceptable.

            Being deemed merchantable items the first frames
            were expected to be production items only needed for certification and not really for testing. How deranged 🙂

  13. First step to my mind is for everyone at Boeing not actually performing numerically-based, fully documented decision tree models to stop using the word “risk”. There are technical meanings of risk in decision/fault tree analysis and in technical finance analysis, and there was historically a colloquial /everyday English meaning of risk that corresponded pretty well to what actually happens in business. But MBAs + PR + legal have come up with multiple mutations of the word, somewhere between the financial and colloquial meanings, which when ladled over the problems, difficulties, failures, and wrong paths taken of a real large scale effort is supposed to make them all go away and ensure (reassure) that the project is right on the published plan. That way lies disaster.

    “At this point 80% of the risk [in the 787 project] is retired” – guess the date

    • So something for which the likelihood can be quantified with clearly understood outcomes perhaps rather than uncertainty which simply identifies a range of outcomes.

      I am sure the remaining 20% of the risk (as you suggest) is sufficient to screw up the whole project. Perhaps the best thing would be for projects to be managed from an engineering/manufacturing perspective rather than an accounting/marketing perspective.

      What I have found is that even with the best laid plans and strong effective management when you do something new at whatever level it takes as long as it takes regardless of the exhortations of those who manage the strategy.

      You can’t manage by wishful thinking.

      • You can budget time and money to fix problems that have a chance to surface and have a well trained line organisation with solid engineering skills to get going and help solve the problems once they pop up.

        Boeing used to design a new aircraft a few times over with full drawing releases and for each iteration get more test data and detailed analysis to make it cheaper and more reliable for the final release. Don’t know how that will change now.

        That is normally better than shipping products that are too heavy, cost to much to make and fail early in service, then issue SB’s to increase life often in panic mode with old engineers recalled from retirement that has seen these problems 2-3 times before, then SB’s to reduce cost that causes new problems and finally a new set of SB’s to fix problems introduced by the last Lean/cost reduction exercise without increasing cost too much. This is one reason launch customers used to get good deals for the first batches until SB #200-400 is released for each major system.

  14. Pundits clamor for a new airplane.
    OEM promises a new airplane.
    Pundits slam the new airplane: wrong technology, management, suppliers, risks, etc. 🙂

    What i can say is systems like Dassault Catia are becoming the platform with which enterprises have the end to end: design capability, the mathematics model flexibility, the variants expression options, the ‘what-ifs’ memory, and the ‘in practice’ what happened history and reasoning ability to build+track what is will be happening/has happened to mind mindbogglingly complex assets such a modern airplanes. All suppliers must adhere or out.

    All complex asset building enterprises today use them. Their know-how on how to use tools like Catia as an organization is one of the top 5 competitive advantage they can have.

    These PLM tools are the real brains that afford key tech. capabilities. And very fast iterations. They are a *central* part of discovery process even for moon shots… the ‘what-ifs’, the new modelling algo., the view of how it all fits.

    BA knows this, so does AB. Dassault has won in the aviation/aerospace domain. No one else serious left at that complexity scale.

    ps: But they are dangers: remember when the Germans did not want to upgrade to Catia v7 early 2000s while working on the A380? The AB FR guys upgraded because of key Catia capabilities for their part of the work share… rest is a few careers ruined and B$ in additional costs. Better be aligned! But anyone in IT can tell you this. I think everyone has learned.

    There are no real moonshots left with such tools

    • BA bringing Dassault “inside”, and becoming reliant on them. Is that “Fox welcome to henhouse?” LOL

      • I really hate the word moon shot. Even the acualy moon program was a step by step process.

        At some point you reach the point where you can’t practice nor do what is needed (Moon, Mars landings) you have to have your analysis in, tested.

        The risk to me is the market (if its not there) and the build (if it does not work as envisioned)

        Done right both are low risk, but not no risk.

        787 market was there, how they went about it was the issue.

        Can Boeing repeat that market assessment?

        From what I saw on the 787, the tech had been tried and they were confident it would work (and did)

        Back to, if its a high risk, its because management made a huge mistake.

    • It was CATIA v4 by German and v5 by French, which delayed A380

  15. I think the safe bet for an NMA engine is a state of the art two spool CFM or three spool RR. These will need about a 90″ fan. Save the tech jump to the geared engine for the 787NEO in 2030.

  16. We are now approaching the next era in CFRP design and manufacturing and is probably a very clever move to try that out not on a volume model (single aisles). It will certainly be neither the barrel-design of the 787 nor the (traditional) panel-design of the A350. I think the key question here is how large an complex the major parts of the plane can be made to avoid lots of riveting and gluing. That is actually what carbon fiber is really good for, making complex one piece products like for example entire bicycle frames (which were traditionally made from 8 tubes, 4 lugs an lots of bits and pieces).

    We will also see a new generation of engines (geared fan) entering the widebody size, which my bet is on either RR or P&W.

    So for Boeing the task ist indeed mostly production related, as the engine is “just” a supplied part like, but there is still the huge task to design and produce the oval CFRP fuselage.

    • My limited knowledge of CFRP leads me to think that the B797 could be the beginning of a fundamental change in the design of aircraft and could lead to anything from wing box/ fuselage/ wing juncture design through fuselage redesign to something truly revolutionary.

      As I understand it FBW can make a brick fly with sufficient power, flip that and it allows an inherently unstable design fly far more efficiently than the current breed. The qualities of CFRP are fundamentally more flexible than traditional materials and in 30 years the current design philosophies will look decidedly quaint

  17. So Boeing are at a point in their labour and skills cycles where a major proportion of staff have retirement imminent. At the same time, the penny drops that CATIA is the silver bullet. Now Airbus started this Dassault CATIA journey at the A380 genesis which was when, around 2003? It was refined for the A350 and resulted in that plane being mostly sorted before prototype manufacturing. My guess is a 6 year headstart for the Europeans. (Please do not get into a fanboy war).
    My point is that Boeing has a major crunchpoint with skills renewal and major adoption on deep CATIA materials loading. This is where materials are tested and the results recorded into the programmes. A long and tedious process, requiring multi discipline skills – skills that are soon to be scarce.

    • No fanboy stuff but I believe Boeing was first with Catia on the 777.

      I am sure that the 787 used the current version.

      Catia could not overcome the debacle of scattering the 787 around the planet with no management over sight.

      What was needed was that layer of a tech team that involved not only the right engineers, but accountants and logistics management that the now designers did not have in most cases.

      One supplier contacted Boeing when they had been contact by a Indochinese firm. We bid on this, they are asking us to make the same thing, its going to cost you a lot more.

      Stuff got outsourced and then the outsoucee had to go find someone that could make it.

      If I follow the digital design thing, its the whole production process and probably the logistics end as well that gets managed.

      No matter how good the design and mfg, if the right stuff is not where its needed when its needed (including at vendors) then it all comes to a screeching halt.

    • BA major retirements waves are more (i believe?) in assembly.
      That’s not the skill set they need for a new airplane or to master complex PLM tools
      Automation will also dramatically lower the number of people needed in assembly.
      BA also has a major military arm with lots of STEM educated folks.
      And they can poach lots of folks from LockeedMartin since the JSF is nearing design end. The new bomber program will not vacuum them all.

  18. Boeing doesn’t know what is plane will be (yet), neither do Airlines, but yet Boeing has somehow gotten everyone to talk about this plane like something that will solve all woes (another drug-like 787 rush), ignoring the fact that they have nothing viable to currently compete with the A321NEO & LR. Truly a PR masterstroke. Notice their competitor doesn’t have to keep BS’ing people with a non-existent plane? Because they have one that exists and is actually selling

    • (my repeat) They did seem to have frozen the 330 sales though. Not the 321.
      In this sense, it’s working. And BA is very aggressive to stunt the 330 with the 787 from the top end now that the cost learning curve has kicked in.

    • After talking to 50 plus airlines, they’ve got a pretty good idea of what’s needed, what it’ll look like, and what the customers are willing to pay. And, re: the A321 NEO and LR, they’re very imperfect and inadequate substitutes. The fact remains the need is a B767-200 sized, twin aisle replacement.

      • Trouble with that ‘need’ for a 767-300 replacement, that was the B787-8.
        What the airlines really ‘want’ is something that will fit in Cat D airport gates, can carry 250 passengers and is not too close to $100 mill sticker price when buying moderate orders.
        The Cat D is a wing span of 36m , so absolutely brings the A321 into the picture. A resized Cseries wing ( also at 36m) allows the current fuselage to be stretched without adding overall weight and keeps the current 35K engines in the picture.
        This is also quicker to market and through the certification issues than a clean sheet design from Boeing.
        The reason why I think this is the way to go is that is fundamentally what Boeing is doing with the 777X, but Airbus will have the advantage of an existing wing factory and processes with the Shorts facility in Northern Ireland.

        • Question for the technical people. Will it be possible to design a new 32X wing that could also be used on a future NSA?

          What I am trying to say/ask if AB could do this it could be a big time and money saver towards an NSA.

      • You don’t need to talk to the airlines to work out what is needed.

        You start with this decades sleeper hit — A321.
        Then work out it’s trajectory — range before real estate.
        Take onboard the huge 75T OEW gap in the market.

        After all that the answer is staring you in the face.
        Finally put it through the competitor filter — what will be the hardest aeroplane for them to respond to.

        Answer — teensie weenie TA with a full court press on OEW.
        First mover advantage plus first pick of the engine in a three horse race.

        Consequently good fight coming up:

        Wimp spec B767 Neo++ vs Super Duper 60.

      • Must explain why those inadequate and imperfect subtitutes are selling so well, Boeing desperately try to come up with the -10 (I’m guessing you consider that one perfect and adequate) to counter it. Imagine Boeing being so stupid, they’ve built two different models (-9 and -10) to try and compete with one imperfect and inadequate plane. Amazing really.

  19. Are there any ball park figures out there what the 797’s and its engines development cost will be?

    Another question is have Boeing intentions to make money with the 797 as its most likely an investment into transformation and systems for developing the NSA.

    So breaking even and hurting Airbus possibly the initial objectives?

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