Boeing to implement structural design change in 787-8 for production commonality

April 17, 2018, © Leeham News: Boeing will implement a manufacturing shift later this year designed to bring the 787-8 into more conformity with the production of its larger siblings, the 787-9 and 787-10.

Boeing 787-8. Source: Boeing.

The move, involving the aft fuselage production, will reduce costs and increase commonality between the first family member and the two larger models.

The plan was first reported by David Wren of the Charleston Post and Courier.

The 787-8 became Boeing’s problem child, plagued by design and production issues that caused the entry into service to be nearly four years late. Cost overruns in the program peaked at $30bn+ in deferred production and tooling costs. Boeing will be reducing these costs for the next decade.

Lacking commonality

The 787-8 lacks commonality with the 787-9 and 787-10. The latter are 95% common, making production easy and cost effective. The 787-8 is only roughly 30% common with the 787-9, Darrell Larson, director of aft-body operations at Boeing’s Charleston plant, acknowledged during a press briefing in advance of delivery of the first 787-10.

The lack of commonality complicates production and boosts costs on the 787-8 as it can’t benefit from learning on the 787-9 and -10 on the part that differs.

“There’s a concerted effort to get more cost out of the -8, manufacturing, contracts, model conversion, etc.,” a non-Boeing source with knowledge of the situation tells LNC. “Several different people are tasked with improving the relative economics.”

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg and his predecessor, Jim McNerney, were frank in their earnings call statements that the company’s preference was to sell the higher margin (more profitable) 787-9 and 787-10.

Indeed, sales of the 787-8 virtually dried up until this month’s order by American Airlines for 22. Deliveries begin in 2020.

Implementing the change

Boeing will implement the production change later this year, Larson told the press briefing.

“The Dash 8 is built significantly different than the Dash 9 and Dash 10,” Larson said. “We have changes that will be introduced between the Dash 8 and Dash 9 so they will be highly common later this year, such that the 8 and the 9 and the 10 will all build very, very similarly.

“The 8s and 9s in this building will build the same. The only variability we’ll see is the 10 is eight feet longer. We’re very excited about this common aft.”

Larson said that all of the design and elements in the Dash 9 are beginning to be implemented in the Dash 8’s structure. “The unique elements between the 8 and the 9, whether it’s part of the frame design, they’ll build the same.”

No further comment

Boeing’s spokespeople declined to amplify Larson’s remarks.

What this means for cost cutting and how common the 787-8 will be with the larger aircraft are two key questions.

“We have always said that significant commonality across the 787 Dreamliner family is one of its top-selling points,” a Boeing spokesman at the Renton headquarters wrote in an email. “The commonality allows our customers to seamlessly operate the -8, -9, and -10 across their network. And we continuously look for ways to optimize our family of airplanes.”

Breathing new life into the 787-8?

Does the investment mean Boeing is breathing new life into the 787-8, supporting sales of this model that had all but been abandoned?

It would seem so.

Given the aggressive war Boeing has engaged with Airbus to kill the A330-800, Boeing’s renewed interest in the 787-8 is apparent.

But the renewed interest may conflict with the potential New Midrange Aircraft, or NMA (aka 797). This two-member family concept is 220-270 passengers, a similar size to the 787-8/9, but with ranges of 5,000nm and 4,500nm respectively. The ranges for the 787-8 and -9 are more than 7,000nm and 8,000mm respectively.

Boeing publicly insists the NMA won’t cannibalize the 787-8, but it’s known to be a topic of debate internally at Boeing’s Longacres sales headquarters.

Furthermore, only 30% of the 787’s missions are more than 5,000nm, according to an LNC analysis. The mission and product overlap is obvious.

 

149 Comments on “Boeing to implement structural design change in 787-8 for production commonality

  1. Interesting, good news for Boeing and BAD news for especially the 338.

    Hope AB realizes that they will have to do something, panel beating of the 330 won’t work. The strength of the 787 will now be a 3 aircraft family high commonality.

    I have said this before with many negatives coming from it, AB should develop a new smaller and lighter wing wing for the 350 for a shrink (350-800 size – 275 seats) with ~7500Nm range that could also be used on a 359X with ~6500Nm range (787-10).

    This will result in a very competent 359 family that could compete with the 787 by this modification will really have many strengths.

    • I’ve read quite a few times over the years, to the point it’s an aviation maxim: “Shrinks never work.”

      • @MontanaOsprey

        THX! I tried to explain it Anton a few times, but he’s obsessed with this idea.
        YOu can’t take fuselage and wings out of the box and tada, there’s a nwe plane.
        Not working like this.

        Also ppl tend to forget that the A350-800 was canceled due to lack of market.

        • “Also ppl tend to forget that the A350-800 was canceled due to lack of market.”

          Fake News 🙂

          The A358 got demoted by Airbus. All (most) customers were moved to A339 or A359.

          cite WP:EN:A350XWB@2008:
          “As of 30 November 2008, 30 customers have placed 483 firm orders for the A350XWB. There are 182 orders for the A350-800, 226 for the A350-900 and 75 for the A350-1000”.

          IMU: the 800 was a decoy to keep the Mk1 customers and to obscure that the XWB no longer was a 787 centric competing product.

          • LOL…..

            Airbus canceled the -800 as it was a shrink, orders were upgraded to 900 or switched to A330neo.

            It’s far away from fake news, and Airbus offers with the A339neo a plane with about the same specs (800 was 60m aircraft, A339 is 63,66)

      • The Dash 8 is not a shrink it is the B787 Genesis model.
        It is outcome of the original engineering shambles that had to be re-engineered in 3 years flat.

        The only shambles that comes close in Big Auto would be the Chrysler / Plymouth Horizon twins — later made into a film starring Arnie and Danny de Vito.

        Failing that it could be the Renault 21 which had two different vehicle architectures clothed in the same bodywork.

        Consequently epic train wreck — and yet they sold.

        The whole thing was played out in plain sight — Wiki shows all the gory detail.

        Dash 8: OEW is 120T with MTOW at 228T.
        That is a 90% difference in a world where the TA difference is 100% plus.

        Consequently it was either designed weak or built fat.

        No wonder BA had to instigate a 3yr crash redesign to bring things back to normal.

        The only similar situation in Big Auto would be the Peugeot 305 where it was transformed from a Gallic oddity to mainstream after 4 years on the market.

        One issue for all those who have purchased a Dash 8 — how do they feel after buying a dog with no realistic second market value?

        Looking at 350 aircraft with the kerb appeal of AIDS.
        Make that Ebola if they happen to have T1000C engines installed.

        Where was the critical comment on this situation?

          • Pretty funny, all those people who make a living successfully running airlines simply have not a clue how badly they got took.

            Let see, AA? Bunch pf pikers for sure. Through in ANA, JAL. Twits for sure.

            Funny though, I see ANA and JAL used 767s coming through all the time.

            Darned if they don’t look like they just rolled out of the factory.

        • I agree with FBoT for once.

          The 787 was redesigned after they realised the 787-8 wasnt going to have the lower weight and cost/production advantages they had hoped ( and sold them at !)
          It was goodbye 767 replacement , hello 772 replacement

          • All aircraft are overweight to start with.

            Its not that they had to revamp it (and all new materials so cautions which if you look at things like the Washington State Narrows Bridge break up is a good thing)

            What is surprising to me that the easy pieces to make common were not.

          • TW you are defending the indefensible here. To suggest that airlines were taken in is probably true to some extent, the early discount pricing will be scant compensation when they try to move these on. You suggest all early aircraft are overweight but the B788 took this to another level on the early birds and even after much work they were hardly svelte. The original B788 was a botch job 4 years late and never produced below price as far as I understand it. A loss on every single one. Mark 2 (9/10) seems to be doing a tad better and is slowly chipping away at the $30bn Black whole of the original programme.

          • I am not saying it was not overweight though apparently it met the specs Boeing sold it at.

            It would have been conformed to normal if they had cross fit the improvements.

            I am still trying to wrap my mind around why you would not bring it into line with the -9 and now -10. They still had to build two different structures in the same factories.

            As I recall the A340 was also seriously over weight.

            Airbus did major changes on the A350 after the first 17.

        • Can I just say that as the local big-auto intelligentsia and French car enthusiast, I really appreciate all the car examples? The Omni/Horizon with its French and US iterations and IIRC even a VW diesel? engine variant, is a great analogy.

          I have no opinion on the 787-8 except to wonder, if it was indeed built fat, has that indirectly led most airlines to choose 9-abreast seating?

          JAL and ANA’s 787 decisions came from a more political place, to secure the 30% Japanese participation (excuse the inaccurate terminology) and maintain intimacy with uncle sam. To a lesser degree it was also a typical East Asian twin rivalry so they each had to have what the other’s got. Things have changed in the decade since, with JAL scheduled to replace all 77Ws in its fleet, one for one, with the A350-1000.

      • Take the 737-600 as the poster child as the new wing & engine on the 737-700 added 10,000 lb to empty weight but sold only about 60 ships and the real winner was the -800 except for Southwast which was stuck on their -300’s & -700’s for frequency. Re: Srink never works !

    • Where are the good news for Boeing and the bad news for Airbus ? Boeing is forced once again to rework the 787-8 and to spend more money on this program to keep the -8 alive against the A330. Not a good news. In addition, as said in the LNC article, the NMA and the 787-8 risk to cannibalize each other because of the obsessive attempts to kill the A330 (still trying after 15 years of efforts). Not a good news either.
      As for me, it’s another evidence that Boeing is forced to move because of its competitor. Airbus patient strategy works much better than many think and can’t be judged in the short term and only in light of just two (overhyped) lost sales in the single US market.
      In the past, Boeing was leading the game especially in the widebody market by killing the A340 and by forcing Airbus to change the A330/A350 strategy several times. But these days are gone. At the end the A350 program is in a very good shape and the A330 is still alive despite the “game-changer” 787 which was supposed to kill it. One could say that the A330Neo is the swan song of the program but it’s a very long song which is to be sung more in Chinese than in American English.

      • Boeing are not really spending more money on the 787-8. Quite the opposite really- by bringing it in line with the -9/10 they are making the -8 cheaper to produce.

        • Before making the -8 cheaper to produce, they need to put some money on the table to pay the study, tools, documentation, validation, etc… If it was easy and free of charge to do it, it would have been done before. With only 30 % of communality with the -9 or the -10, it won’t be a walk in the park. If Boeing thinks it’s worth it, it means that a significant market exists for the -8 and the A338.

          • “If Boing thinks it’s worth it, . . . ” (to invest in updates to the 788 for commonality and lower cost) means (IMO) B has believable future sales opportunities for the 788, as part of the 787 family. Your assertion that this belief and action by B proves there are believable future sales opportunities for the A338 is not proven.

          • Pretty much says it.

            So, let us say the 787-8 cost 120 million.

            787-9 cost 100 million (more made, crosses with more -10, better process).

            You do a one time spend of 10 million and each aircraft (-8) then gets you 20 million more sales price.

            In my world we call that the gift that keeps on giving!

          • Do we get to have to recertification the result at some level? It sounds like we are screwing a rear fuselage from one variant to the front fuselage of another and hoping that it all works!

          • Sowerbob: Don’t think so. You’ve already got 87-9 and 87-10 flight-tested and proven rear fuselage barrels. You’re using the same fabrication methods going forward on the 87-8, also under FAA-designee approval. Presumably, in factory, FAA-designated BA employee agency reps will “sign off” on the needed paperwork.

          • @MontanaOsprey
            In case the empennage has different aerodynamics maybe the whole flight profiles for the fly-by-wire system had to be recertified: a lot of hours in the air.

          • Boeing will have a substantial yearly budget for the 787 under ‘continuous improvement’
            It could be around the $100 mill level, I dont know.
            I have heard the A330 series has something similar.
            This sort of amount could be targeted for manufacturing improvements or design changes to save weight or improve reliability. Final assembly line processes could be targeted as well.

          • MHalblaub: I would think computer modeling, along with it being “proven” on the 87-9 and 10 gets you almost there. The only real complication I see may be that it adds laminar flow to the tail surfaces and a flow vent (?) on the afterbody. And there are additional flap detente. These issues have presumably has been worked out with the FAA, given that BA’s manager of afterbody construction is “out there” with commentary that all afterbodys will be the same (except for length, of course) by this year end.

          • @MontanaOsprey
            I don’t think these changes may require FAA‘s approvals. The airlines want optimum settings and computer simulations won’t help much there.

      • “At the end the A350 program is in a very good shape ” – Not according to numbers published in Wikipedia. According to these numbers between 2014 to 2017 A350 recorded around 40 (Neto) orders. I don’t remember any new sales this year, just cancellations. Not a great sign for an airplane , especially since sales dried once it started commercial operations i.e ended it’s life on the salesmen brochures and presentations and started them on the real .

        • It is mainly due to lack of export financing options, now when that is behind we expect Farnborough Air Show to be different regarding widebodies. Boeing can surprise and lower prices to fill its 14/month planned production for years to come. Airbus will sweat getting 10-12/month out of a single FAL in Toulouse.

    • To the degree that the 737 is a shrink of the 707 fuselage, it has been very successful. Would that recipe would work by putting a code D wing on the A350 cross section? I believe the A350 and DC-10 dimension is the best solution for the optimization of competing factors, passenger count/passenger comfort/freight/fuselage drag, if two LD3 containers is a given.
      A potential design option for the mid-range heavy freight market, could be a 60m to 62m long aircraft, A350 section, and a carbon 52m wing with split wingtips.

      • The 737 used the same cross sections (as did the 727) the build method very likely changed.

        Frankly it was more a 727 than a 707.

        And for sure over the years the fuselage other than the size has nothign to do with either one now.

        We can also mention tube engine and fuel cost no object back in those days as well as a complete regulated airline system.

        Kind of like equating continental drift to a high speed train.

        • The 707 had a bigger below floor hold than the 727/737. The cross section wasnt the same , just the upper lobe

  2. 30% is much lower than the 50% quoted in 2016 http://aviationweek.com/commercial-aviation/simplicity-vital-boeing-787-10-execution, and even then, one could think even if parts number are different, they ought to be very, very similar.

    What could be interesting, would be to give the -8 the 254t MTOW of the -9/10 from the current 228t, empty weight would bump by 2-3% but range would jump from 7,350 nmi to 8,500-9,000 nmi, a bit like the 251t A330-800 😉 Another kangaroo route contender.

    • How is commonality defined in this context.
      by partcount, weight, value …

      Recently interesting numbers were posted about ( rather high) 787 US content.
      A bit of scratching and they must have counted every fastener to get there.

      • Boeing was covering up and Leeham was the one that brought out how amazingly low the commonality was.

        I always thought it odd that at least the front and rear sections were not taken from the -9.

        Mid might be a bit harder do.

  3. If the 787-9 has better payload and range with the 787-8 production cost almost the same, what is the point of selling more 787-8’s when you get a better price for the 787-9’s and they are produced cheaper and faster?

    For the remaining 787-8 production run of approx 70 Aircraft is it worth certifying it with more common structures? There might be other big cost reductions coupled to this we don’t know about making the 787-8 much cheaper to produce than the 787-9?

    • What’s the point? Well, successful fleet sales, and better meeting customer needs. See BA’s recent American Airlines 787 sale.

      • That order is a one off for this year so far. From 787 Line #750 down to line # 600 there has been 7ea 787-8 produced.
        AA seems to take the last 787-8 produced unless the USAF comes in and buys the last off the line as JSTARS or similar.

          • Don’t think so.
            A B767 means putting 80 or 90T OEW into the air and keeping it there while a new style Dash 8 means putting 120T plus of OEW into the air.

            That should mess up quite a few route economics.

          • Fat Bloke on Tour: You’re really “missing it”. You’ve got a much, much more capable, 30 year newer frame and engines. New carbon technology, advanced avionics, a/c health diagnostics “built in”, the list goes on and on. Following your logic, no need to update, just keep cranking out 767s “as was” in the beginning (early ‘80s).

          • I think that BA had the future sorted with a B767 MAX for quite a few months before the market said no and we moved on to the NMA as this season’s answer to the MoM’ster question.

            As for the B787 — it has done many things but structural efficiency does not seem to be one of them.

            Dash 8 = 120T OEW for a 56.5M long TA fuselage.
            Comes with the ability to load on another 108T.
            All of this while including a 255T wing.

            Consequently it seems that a lot of money has been spent on CFRP fuselage barrels which might have many advantages but structural efficiency does not seem to be one of them.

            Compare and contrast with the many iterations of the A330 family.

            Base point is that a B767 to Dash 8 transition will be a challenge for a lot of operators on a lot of routes.

            As for all the good stuff you mention — seems to the norm across the industry as different OEMs find ways of getting that functionality into air without generating the huge development costs of the B787.

            As for the future — on the B767 replacement front.
            Waiting for the 90T OEW A360 to hit the brochures.

            Could be quite a goer — 360 std long haul seats out to 6K NM nominal. Some might call it an A300 Block 4 if they were being old school.

          • If Boeing could sell 767s in numbers they would.

            As they can’t, that means airlines are not keen (won’t buy) the so called 767 Max.

            Its not a single aisle. Different ball game.

            Good bird, but not a 797 either.

  4. Where does this leave the current 788 and their owners? This would be a belated admission that the first iteration was fundamentally flawed. You could argue that the B789 was the first production aircraft ie one that could be produced without exceptional rework and one that can be produced to target cost.

    As MO suggested a ‘shrink never works’ so does this suggest that the use of componentry from the 9 and 10 will make it heavier or not. Perhaps all the hasty reinforcement made to the original B788 means that almost regardless of what is done to streamline production weight changes will be negligible or positive.

    I am surprised it has taken so long to get this far, I suppose it takes a while for all those who had a vested interest in the original debacle to move on. The motivation to do this is pretty simple, am guessing that pushing to 14 per month means you need as many options for customers as possible and not making the B788 was not an option.

    • I don’t see how it could affect current operators, at least not significantly. It’s not like they’re going to pay Boeing more than they already have for aircraft they already own.

      It might make them wary of being early adopters again.

      • Boeing will support the early aircraft until they wear out.

        While not as dramatic, all aircraft are changed as the era they were introduced in moves along, not major changes, but small ones here and there.

        You have a build sheet on what EACH one has and you know what parts it has.

        You may even be able to replace things like A/C packs with the newer version.

        Both Airbus and Boeing do it and its not an issue.

        • Remember, a good number of the buyers got “good deals” (below cost of manufacture!) on these 787-8s. Now, it’s been noted, up through the “terrible teens”, they had lots of fabrication issues and some weight issues. I don’t know many get by first user issues…except maybe “Won’t take it” Al-Baker at Qatar! LOL

          • Many of those are owned. Be interesting to look and see how many lessors bought the -8.

            Having seen the MD-11 for from 100 million or so (listed probably) to under 10 Million used, its not like there is a lot of re-sale value.

            Get far more to part out and to die for the engines (and they can use all the RRs they can get!)

          • I count all of 27 of the -8 bought by Lessors.

            The Airlines owners will run them till they are not viable. 25 years from now.

          • Rumor has it that Boeing thought the 787 would cost the same as 767 to produce and sold 787-8 Aircrafts (without Engines) for $75M-$85M/ea until they discovered that the cost curve did not dip from +$200M/ea as quick as an old aluminum frame Aircraft. Hence those “767” priced deals disappeard overnite and customers instead ordererd the 787-9 with better payload and range for reasonable prices and Boeing got the cost reduction right on the 787-9 starting to make Money.
            The 787 is designed as a very long range Aircraft dimensioned for full tanks loads and is not thus suitable as a MoM Aircraft. The 797 will be a much lighter, narrower airframe designed to be built by robots and does not carry that much fuel.

          • Seems to align all the moons of the B787 saga and explain some of the kinks and question marks of a very disjointed narrative.

            Using previous BA tactics the 787 was being developed for two different MTOWs — at a guess 210T and 250T.

            The 210T vesrion came first — BA management believed the hype that the B787 was transformational and the economics would follow suit.

            Big hype to the industry generates a lot of interest for Dash 8 at a very competitive price that was snapped up.

            Then came reality and the hype and good feeling evaporated in the face of engineering issues and a design that was nowhere near buildable or capable.

            Design STD 1 / MD Dash 8 is then cobbled together with Q+D solutions to get the aircraft into production at almost any cost — figure set out in plain sight in the company balance sheet under project accounting rules.

            Design STD 2 / HD Dash 9 with more time learns from all the previous mistakes and delivers a much more capable aircraft at a much more economic cost to build.

            BA now has 350 plus problem children out in the field.

            However it has just about cleared the decks and can re-launch the Dash 8 using Dash 9 knowledge and experience.

            When will the first of the problem children be retired?

          • Nothing unusual about early aircraft going very low.

            They wanted a smash hit and got it at a cost.

  5. At age 75, I well-remember 1954. We were scheduled to fly aboard a BOAC Comet I. Can still ‘see’ all of them grounded, then scrapped. Boeing learned a bundle from DH’s misfortune. Now it’s OUR horse race. Cut ‘Longacres’ some slack, guys!

  6. A good idea of course, few will disagree. Discussed all over the web in recent years ( & of course strongly denied until Boeing themselves says so) http://www.airliners.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1339807

    As Scott reported 2 yrs ago, the 787-9 was substantially improved over the 787-8, but reduced commonality.

    I wonder what harmonizations are possible on the system level. You dont want to create a series of gradual improved 787-8 versions. One good 787-8 mkII would be preferable IMO. But as said this is already a good one for potential new customers / existing -9 operators.

    Maybe Boeing can develop a good upgrade package for the -8 fleet’s first heavy check cycle, together with a few MRO’s. Getting out some of the bigger commonality cost drivers.

    • Yes you can do gradual changes as well, its part of the business.

      They simply have a master build sheet and they know what configuration ghat particular SN aircraft is.

      These are hand build custom machines, not cars that are cranked out by the 10s and hundreds of thousands that have shade tree mechanic scratching their heads.

      And on those it happens, the only place that knows what the right shoes for my rear on the Pickup is Ford!

      Why, they have the master build sheet, they know its a 1 ton not a 3/4 ton. The auto shops think its a 3/4 (and yes there is a large difference in the brakes!)

      Me, I know what I got and I just order 1 ton brakes from the parts place.

      So even on autos it happens, aircraft, the call 1-800 Boeing and “what do we have”?

      • Funny you say that, I had a lot of problems getting the right brake pads for a Ford. Early build had smaller, readily available, pads and linings than my car, and no readily available info on when the change was made.

        • Dealer probably would have had that.

          It does happen, rear end seal on a Chevy Suburban same thing.

          Bad leak, bad dealer, went to an independent . Ooopps, sorry, its a new seal and we can’t find it.

          two weeks of scrambling……..

          One of my better decisions as the owner asked me to fix it. I could have, but, err, warranty, make a mistake, all gone, big bucks. Dodge (pun) a bullet.

  7. The commonality has been there for airlines already. This is just to make it cheaper and easier for Boeing to make the dash eight.

    • Yes, the commonality has been there for airlines already, for around 30% ..

      • The commonality mostly is there where it matters for the airlines. Airlines could not care less if major structural pieces like the aft fuselage/tail fin are built or designed differently. They are not buying and storing those structural pieces in warehouses/hangars, and (hopefully) not regularly altering them, replacing them, and/or repairing them.

        It matters to Boeing because they are building and using the pieces. Not all production differences matter to airlines though.

  8. With a 100% new NMA going to cost BA ~€10++ billion… could this be laying the groundwork for a semi-NMA solution perhaps – via a 787-8 regional or some derivative of the 787 airframe [787-3 kinda thing]? With AB using [or trying to] the a330neo for their semi-NMA solution… maybe BA is trying to find a a330neo comparable solution to the NMA opening [they’ve created] without a whole new model? If BA do a new-model NMA, they’re opening up a can-of-worms that will likely be shared with whatever AB come back with. Hard to see the numbers add up, with the risk, with the timeline, the engines, the ability of AB to react quickly and capture the lower end of the marker [at least] faster than the NMA can get model 1 out the door.

    The NMA seems to be becoming an a310/a330 regional replacement of late, doesn’t it?

    Anywho… just some meanderings.

    • Also worth pondering is that A330neo is very nearly in service, and Boeing’s NMA is just so much vapourware at the moment. That must make it tough to decide exactly what to do.

      I know that Boeing aren’t keen on moonshot style projects just at the moment, but I can’t honestly see what choice they have. Double whammy – Airbus got C Series for free, Boeing require some sort of brand new development to even begin to compete with that.

      You’re right to hint that Airbus has the luxury of seeing what Boeing come up with. To completely out-strip Airbus on all fronts it’s possible Boeing will have to develop three brand new models (C series competitor, A320 competitor, and an NMA). That’s a big ask. Especially as the trade dispute being instigated right now threatens to cut Boeing off from the biggest market out there (China).

      • One mans moonshot is another mans well thought I program.

        Moonshot was coined as an excuse for the screw ups of management. That blames the engineers rather than put the blame where it belonged on a poster child of crappy management decision on the program that led to the debacle.

        • The “moonshot” is far, far from dead. Certainly anyone relying on RR for new NMA engines will be taking a “moonshot”. Heck, upsized GTFs for it may be at least an “asteroid shot”! LOL

          • No, I would call that you buys your ticket and you takes your chances.

            RR prior to the Trent 1000 was doing good.

            P&W actually hit it out of the park, the wind blew it back in.

            Easily fixed stuff.

            Bad seal is easy. Bad crank, whole different story.

          • Trans world: Gotta disagree strongly on RR, and “moonshot”. RR’s Trent 1000 Package C fiasco’s blackened their reputation worldwide. Major airlines scrambling worldwide for replacement a/c. Who? BA, Virgin Atlantic, LATAM, New Zealand, Ethiopean, ANA, and Norwegian. Hell, LATAM’s sent all 6 of its 787s affected to Victorville. Victorville, Ca., 6,000 miles from “home”, Santiago. New blades? Sorry, not available till next year. Which airline management, in their right mind, would order 797 engines from RR, if they’re even allowed by BA to bid? On “moonshot”, ALL these engine guys have been away a good while from the latest 40,000 lb. + thrust engines. You don’t get a ticket to ride anywhere on your shiny, new $100 million dollar jet without ‘em!

          • Make the MoM’ster a quad and the issue disappears.
            Looking to get 140 / 150 / 160T airborne then the answer is out in the open,

            Off the shelf, high volume engines with good on the wing metrics / economics — just a case you have 4 to look after rather than 2.

            So instead of 120 / 150 passengers to provide the revenue you now have 240 / 300.

            Good fight: A321NEO LR vs Super Duper Sixty.
            Efficiency vs capability.

          • Montanna: You seem to not have read my comments on RR.

            They totally hosed up the Trent 1000.

            They do have a black eye. Equating P&W issue with RR is a major mistake, they are not remotely the same.

            P&W is the seal, easily fixed. Easily updated (or going back to previous lip seal)

            Breaking, cracking and shedding vanes and now knowing the root cause for all these years is stunning.

            What has lead to those mistakes is?

            Too much on bribes and not enough on engineering?

            P&W had issues with the first 747 engines as well as the 757 (PW4000?)

            It comes and goes.

            I don’t know that I have ever seen an engine that can’t be fixed and was simply replaced (starting the new Ten design about 2 years after the 1000 went into test on actual aircraft)

      • The 797 will be Boeings first trail with a mostly robotic built Aircraft structure and maybe even having robots help out with installation work.

        The Learning from this will go to a 737 replacement NSA or one version of the 797 will be cost reduced to be the new 737 starting at 180 seats and up.

        The advantage of robotic build is that you can set up FAL’s in each big market with the same type of robots and software code and turn them out quickly and exactly indentical.
        We will see how well they succeed this time.

        • Ah — the Tesla option.
          Interesting to see how that would turn out.

          • Tesla is assemling cars in one plant in Calif. Freemont where Chevy failed to make it.
            You would expect Egon to open a plant smack in Detroit at River Rouge where the model-T was made but no, or more logical down south right between the BMW, Mercedes and the new Volvo factory getting trained assembly workers and managers from those plants.

            He might be smart but he does not seem to understand how to control the innings of high volume car production. Tesla also need to renew each model not to turn out the Plymoth Valiant of the 2000’s as years go buy.

          • Robots, robots and robots.
            Big jump that will need a huge anout or preparation.

            ***Limey humour alert ***

            Or you had the long forgottten Austin Ambassador …
            A car built by Roberts.

    • I think that issue here is that when the B787 was in its definition and design phase the Dash 3 Model was very much a goer and commonality was the management mantra.

      Therefore the B787 tried to do too much and the original design was very much a camel and not fit for purpose.

      7 years later BA admit as much.

      • Well you have a vastly different take than I do.

        Me, I think Boeing was short sighted when they could have been saving a lot of money on the -8.

        A million here and a million there and soon you are doing much better, even if its lowering your losses.

        Loosing 1 million a plane is better than loosing 10.

        • It’s “losing”. (Though pointing this out here—and elsewhere—is “a losing battle”. LOL)

        • OK — so what is the alternative take on the B787 development farrago?

          Was it supposed to be a Renault 21 type of product?

          Same name but two different platforms / architectures covered by the same external skin?

          How would the Dash 3 have turned out if it had seen the light of day?

          Becoming more and more like the MoM’ster that got away.
          Lots of real estate and a 4K NM plus nominal range.

  9. Are the only changes going to be to the aft fuselage or are other changes being made to increase commonality? For example, will the laminar flow tail become part of the -8? If this is a bigger overhaul to really make things common, presumably they can develop a higher MTOW version with longer range than the -9.

    If we’re only talking the aft fuselage itself, that is only a small part of the aircraft, so surely the “commonality” won’t be able to increase by more than 10-20%.

    Also how extensive/expensive will the recertification process be?

    • Currently – you don’ think they can’t do the same fore?

      Wingbox, wings?

  10. What happened to the risk sharing suppliers in the original designed 787-8? Were they squeezed out by a Boeing strategy of not selling that model? Commonality will reduce costs by using a new generation design but likely also by losing the original supplier obligations.

    • Some of them were bought out by Boeing years ago. The Charleston plant mentioned in the article use to be Vought’s until Boeing bought them out in 2009. I’m guessing those not bought out are still doing work for the entire 787 family, not just the -8.

    • Fair comment about the contracts with their Tier 1 suppliers where they — the suppliers — had to buy into the programme and design their module or system.

      BA stiffs their customers so that they don’t have to payout to their supply base as the volumes would have come up short.

      • Man you are really knarly on them.

        I have this image of a miniature Pit Bull biting Boeing’s butt.

        Kind of like a mosquito taking on an Elephant. Eh?

  11. I think the 5000 miles mission for 787s is a bit of data out of context. That same aircraft may have an 8k route or the need to switch to it.

    The NMA will probably average 3000 mile missions.

    It will carry a lot more people far more economically .

    It will have the ability to fly further for some routes.

    Or as I have seen, I see a 737-800 flying two 250 miles routes but at some point I suspect it jumps 1500 or 2500 miles on a route, turns around, does it again.

    Its all about the route mix of each operation as to how it all works out.

    • @Transworld you said “The NMA will probably average 3000 mile missions.”

      That might be strictly true but also not reflect the missions it flies – it seems to me that 3,000 mile trip lengths are a bit of a “dead zone”. The NMA might average 3,000 miles by doing a ~4,000 mile transatlantic followed by a ~2,000 mile cross-continent flight.

    • Flown about 10 times on 787s, only twice would have been over 5000mi. At least one of those airlines didn’t have any routes which would be over 5000.

    • A lot of customers have been sold a cart horse where a pony would have done.

      The power of hype, of the herd and marketing.

      • Yep, them silly buggers just don’t know what they are doing or buying.

        • Yes normally 63% -75% of Airlines show a loss at least 3 years out of 5. Most “Flag Carriers” get goverment support as they are part of their Air Force in war time planning.
          So approxly 10% of Airlines are professionally run making shareholders happy year after year (SWA),
          some others only show profits after Chapter 11 US goverment treatment like offloading some pension funds and getting new aircraft lease rates.

      • You’re analogy’s way off base. I think you’re nearly totally discounting fleet replacement, commonality and flexibility. This a/c can profitably do Denver Narita and back, and “add on” legs from DEN to IAH and back (United), for example. It’s a true 767 replacement. And, to finalize, are you willing to also throw numerous airline fleet planning departments recommending the 87-8 “under the bus”?

  12. Another piece of news that could mean that the 797 will not happen.

    • Well you have the CS300 taking over the 700 area. The -8/9/10 it still can’t do.

      NMA would do the same thing.

      Complementary rather than one or the other.

  13. 32″ pitch on an A321 is about 34 rows x 6 is 204 seats. On a 787-8 is about 36 rows x 9 is 324 seats. Halfway in between could be the NMA-7 at 264 seats with plenty of breathing room in either direction.

    • It’s not the seats it is the range when it comes to the MoM’ster.

      Route of 3,999 NM = Choice.
      You can go high volume SA or you can go high capability TA.
      Starting at 50T OEW to Buy and maintain.

      Route of 4,oo1NM = TA lord bucket is the only show in town.
      That is 120T OEW for a Dash-8 aka the BA Quasimodo.
      Or 125T OEW for an 800 which is AB legacy after it pumped some iron.

      Not good.

      • Yep, you can pedal for a lot less to. Take a bit longer, can’t haul as many passengers as you need.

        I flew a number of 767 flights that were domestic.

        All in the balance of routes and capacity vs frequency needs and how it all averages out.

        If it was easy anyone could do it.

        • This in a world where Everyman and his dog seems to be setting up a new airline and the US Legacy cohort is a well known case study in business failure and the benefits of Chapter 11?

          Couple of gaps in that viewpoint I would suggest.

          • 1) US Legacy airlines — “yep those buggers don’t know what they are doing”

            How does Wall Street / Finance view those same people?
            You got it in one — any sarcasm intended was misplaced.
            Value destruction / Chapter 11 addicts.

            2) Airlines start-ups — “If it was easy everyone would be doing it”.

            As I noted above “everybody” does seems to be starting an airline. The rate of change in the industry is quite startling in the context of Big Auto or Big Oil.

            3) Flying 4001 NM or more — why should it need 120T or 125T OEW of expensive HD TA lard bucket to do this type of route?

            The MoM’ster lives or at least in any sane world it should.
            Big Aero needs more tools in its box.

            The C Series is a small step down a verylong road.

          • Fat Bloke on Tour – “The C Series is a small step down a verylong road.” – Well, According to WikiPedia CS300 OEW is 77,650 lb (35,221 kg) and MTW is 134,000 lb / 60,781 kg , well below 100 percent . Quite bad according to your standards or do I miss something?

          • C Series: new tech and lots of it, different layout, new manufacturer for the SA sweet spot @ 150 seats.

            Well Y2K sweet spot was 150 seats.
            Y2020 sweet spot will probably be around 200 seats.

            Regarding OEW — seems to have been designed to be big boned with growth potential.

            However it adds depth to the current SA product offering.

            Next bold step would be the A322 @ 55T OEW.
            Then it is MC-21 tech and / or an A325 style Super Sixty.

            SA offering at 65T OEW or even 75T OEW.
            How would that fare in any MoM’ster battle?

            Passenger aviation in the 21st century.
            More people making more flights in more countries.
            New city pairs, new densities, new markets.

            All seemingly being well served by a duopoly each with less than three product lines in their “toolbox”.

            Looking like volume vs specialisation/ segmentation.
            A320 / B737 total volume heading towards 1500 units pa.

            Did the Model T every have this level of market dominance?

  14. For me, Boeing is not going for MOM then.

    The B788 ist the B767 sucessor, as most of them were -300 versions, and thats right about where the B788 is.

    No need to built a MOM if you can also sell your B788

      • 787-8 is longer range, the shorter the run the better off you are with a 767 (or a 797)

        • Fuel’s near $70 a barrel, and climbing. Much as I love the 67, and 57 for that matter, BA is NOT producing 57Xs and 67Xs, for whatever reason. Lower utilization freighter futures are “out there” for both!

          • I think fuel is going to stay in the $55 to 70 range.

            Too much shale oil in US that can easily be put on line.

    • From other sources with much more insight on some *net, the NMA aka 797 is a given and may launch as early as Farnborough but also later. GE is set as engine supplier, maybe Rolls as second one. Let’s see what happens.

  15. Still don’t see why this would hurt the NMA. It’s not just the optimized frame for NMA-ish range/missions, it’s being optimized for quick turn-around times, a truly versatile aircraft that could cover domestic/regional routes let alone the medium-long-thin international missions that the 787-8 is clearly too much airplane for, regardless of whether it’s 95% common with it’s larger sisters.

    • Yes, I agree. NY-CHI, CHI-DEN, DEN-SEA, SEA-LA, for examples. Presumably, still with strong frequencies of service. (We luv us our frequencies; this is maybe one area that the airlines don’t seem to fight the passengers! LOL)

  16. What happens to the people that bought the original 2011 Model?
    Where are they tonight as they look out on a second rate plane?
    After only 7 years max in service they have been left with a pup.

    It will be the runt of the B787 family.

    At least some of them will have been launch models with a launch price tag but what about everyone else?

    • Way too negative. Proof? Cite some RECENT complaints, except for those dog’s breakfast, billion dollar extra repair cost, RR screwups of engines. And, how many 87-8s are currently available for purchase? And, as you somewhat noted, a good many airlines got them for less than manufacturer’s cost, a situation now very probably remedied going forward.

      • It is not about now.

        It is about 10 or 15 years in the future when the Block 1 Dash 8’s will have no value other than as scrap.

        A lot of people have lost a lot of money with this announcement.

        As noted earlier the question has to be why now?
        The suggestion is that the timing is BA friendly.

        They seem to have seen out small print of their Tier 1 module development contracts which will have included some sort of minimum order / use quantity.

        BA = OK.
        Tier 1 = OK.
        Customers = Not OK.

        • Well, the year after I bought my Pickup they came out with an all new one.

          I can get parts for it for the next 20 years still.

          What you are missing is as long as you can maintain it and it does the job you bought it for it doesn’t matter.

          In their case its the cabin that is changed, re-do it and you have better than new because you got it low cost and its paid for.

          It ok to hate the 787, just don’t buy fabrication fake reasons (or reasoning) to do so.

          And I will be the first to have said the 787 program was a monumental mess.

          Its still a very good and advanced aircraft other than the CS and that is saying a lot.

          A350 is just another Pneumatic wonder, and Pneumatics are gong away (I know, what I started with is going away)

          I could rant and rave or I can accept and deal with the new world.

          Note that the CS went with electric brakes just like the 787 did.

          • The 87 engines don’t provide bleed air either. They’ve power generators which provide electrics for a/c packs, anti-ice, pressurization, etc. “No pneumatics”.

          • There is a well known pick up development cycle.

            Common knowledge that the Dodge Ram was up for renewal this year — consequently few surprises.

            The Chevy also having a major mid cycle refresh two years in on the other hand was news.

            Same with the Dash 8.
            The question has to be why now and not nearer the Dash 9 introduction.

            The suggestion is that the announcement of the new much improved Dash 8 was down to minimum build quantities for modules and systems where the Tier 1 had invested their own money.

            That number has been reached or will be reached pretty soon so it is now in BA’s interest to make the jump.

          • FBOT:

            You keep carrying on.

            You are speculating on suppliers, where they stand, what their contracts are an no substance to the statements.

            All the players are big boys in the world.

            I am sure there are Charities in your area (sans being the Middle of the SIA) that you could lend an ear and money to if you need to support someone or something that is acualy needy?

            All those big airlines that bought it and don’t know what they were doing?

            Your reasoning is someplace out there with Pluto orbit.

        • Fat Bloke: They’ll very likely get their 25 years out of them. Heck, at 20, though they may be sold off into the freighter conversion market at a very decent price! And, avoid the second “heavy check”.

          • Wont be doing the freighter role. Thin shell fuselage was optimised for passenger loads.
            Could a large door be even possible ?
            Maybe Boeing will surprise us and the 787-8 changes are just the lead in for the 787F from the factory not as passenger conversion.

          • @dukeofurl: I read recently the 87s were built with an eventual freighter conversion option in mind. (Presumably, they’re built keeping cabling/wiring bundles, etc. away from eventual door framing, etc.) Supposedly, BA “.baked in” an eventual rear of wing cargo door conversion option. Is this not true?

          • Yes it was done with that in mind.

            Have you actually seen a cross section of the so called THIN shell? (yes I have)

            It ain’t so thin. I was shocked it was so thick and still lite.

            I will see if I can get the number but it was someplace around 1/2 inch (12.2 mm for those of the Metric persuasion)

        • It might be in 10-15 years time that the 787-8’s are worth more as 8130-3 tagged spare parts than sold as an airline. The A380 risk the same destiny at Emirates when they decide what to do of their first A380’s and the spare consumtion on their newer ones.
          RR might buy the engines and redo them with T7000-TEN core engins like a T900-TEN’s and ship to Emirates as they swap engines for the +5% better than GP7200 config that a RR sales team promised Tim Clark and just mailed to Derby “JUST FIX IT CHEAP AND FAST”.

    • Well, of the 80+ airline customers that have already bought 787’s have exercised their options or purchased additional ones. Obviously they are suffering buyer’s remorse. Contrast with the MD-11 where none of the original customers exercised their options.

      I find it humorous how wild this is extrapolated. The article is about the Aft section production in Charleston. It may only be “common” in the sense that they can run both versions through the same machines…

      • Agreed though FedEx was happy with the MD-11.

        Still bought a whole bunch of pax version and converted them.

  17. South West airlines 737 700 turbine explodes in flight to Texas damaging airframe and sucking a passenger half way out of the aircraft and held on too by other passengers landing in Philly safely.

    • So many CFM engine problems recently, expect the FAA to come down hard …..LOL

    • The Aviation Herald website has an excellent, professional review of this incident—and pictures.

      • Another front cowl it seems.
        After the last Southwest lost cowl in in Aug 2016 the NTSB hasnt issued any reports since Sep 12 2016.

        A grounding is in order dont you think as the debris is impacting on the fuselage ?
        With Southwest, Boeing and GE lined up against NTSB (and maybe FAA) who do you think will prevail ?

        • I think it’s still too early to tell, but I’m leaning more towards an SW preventative maintenance failure. I read the 1998 manufactured a/c had more than 50,000 flight hours, and 35,000 cycles. I wonder what the histories are on the engines? Near the same as the airframe? For an airline like SW (very big, and very profitable), I wonder if they shouldn’t be dumping a/c that hit 50,000 hours anyway.

          • The United 767 un -contained engine failure of a turbine disk was a few months later in 2016 and the final report was in Jan 2018. Nothing on the Aug 2016 SW 737 cowl and or front fan failure yet ?

        • Both Engines in the SWA blade out events seems to have been contained. The surprise failure mode is that the inlet aft flange stayed in Place (historically they have snapped off here), and the continment in the inlet seems to be intact as well (inlet containment was introduced years ago after fan parts exited forward thru the aft part of the inlet).
          In this case at pretty high altitude and flight speed the g loads from the blade-out, both vertical and torque seem to have deformed the inlet so it disintegrated with the help of aerodynamic forces.
          The NTSB has to show the failure sequence and then the FAA has to decide if each 737NG inlet shall be reinforced to take a fan blade out at M0.85 without disintegrating.

  18. I know this is a little late, but it still would be helpful for many for this “Pontifications”: Go back to Scott’s Pontifications of March 21, 2016, and “hot link” Geo’s 20th entry’s “Flight Global” hot link. It shows the changes at least to the 787-9 from the 787-8! (Helps to get a handle on commonality!) Thanks in advance to whoever can do it!

  19. No surprise really. End result is a better aircraft at a better price (for both buyer and seller).

  20. Final pebble in the pond.

    B787 meet the RR T1000 — The engineering challenge …
    Products with a chequered design history.

    Normal industry talk is the terrible teens.
    In Auto terms these would be VP / PP units in terms of design maturity but instead of being crushed they are reworked and sold. Or in a recent case from BA the immature design level aka as “QBIAS” is built for 7 years

    A350 = 17 units allegedly.
    B787 – 8 = 360 units by all accounts.
    However I digress.

    Engineering Chane Management.

    RR: the T1000 becomes the T1000 TEN — Part number change at the highest level.

    BA: the B787-8 keeps its high level part number and you will need to look at serial numbers to identify the different design levels.

    In Big Auto terms you have the following …
    B787-8: MY11 not so good — MY20 / 21 / 22 good?

    Does Big Aero have a Blue Book?
    It will make interesting reading.

  21. Scott;

    LNC wrote:
    “Furthermore, only 30% of the 787’s missions are more than 5,000nm, according to an LNC analysis. The mission and product overlap is obvious.”

    This is a very interesting statistic. Do you think airlines are using a 787 where a lesser aircraft would work. Or do airlines want/need an aircraft that can fly a mix of long and short missions?

    • As with the A330, which is flown on routes of 2,000nm, the 787 is “too much airplane” for many of the routes on which it is flown.

  22. Does anybody know the number of tape layers and/or thickness (min/max or average is OK) in a typical B787 barrel section?

  23. The Dash 8 was over weight and had a bunch of adhoc production fixes. It carries essentially the same fuel load but has 300 nm less range. It doesn’t have the active boundary control system in the tail. Basically, the 787 was way late and way over budget so the -8 was the imperfect 787 that was rushed into service. The dash 9 and dash 10 was the 787 restored to what it was supposed to be. If and when the 787-8 is brought up to 787-9 standards in everything except fuselage length it’ll be pick up about 800~1000 nm in range — approximately the same differential as between the -9 and -10. This 787-8LR at 8,200 nm range carve out its own little niche where the -9 and the “early” -8s couldn’t.

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