Sunday, April 21, 2013

You Want A Challenge? Then Become An AOG Guy During Boeing's Retrofit Arama Days!

Retrofit fit Days are upon us as we wait for the 2nd First Flights for the 787's . Some of you may wonder about the one airplane fixed per four day cycle that's is going to return the airplane into the air. On Friday April 19, "the return to air switch" was thrown, causing a deployment of 10 Boeing teams, kits and locations matching up with its aircraft, the 787 in various locations. Some are in Seattle, but the road warrior aircraft of its customers are stopped in its tracks around the world, and it will get the lion share of the AOG's service teams. This is only a scratching the surface part of the effort. The behind the scenes effort by airlines is now switched on as well.

JAL and ANA need to update 787 pilots on aircraft skills, maintenance teams training, and the ancillary flight crews abilities to answer questions and make the customers extremely confident in traveling on the 787. None of this could have occurred in advance of the FAA announcing that it validated a battery fix for the systems involved. The following is a brief below this introduction, is inserted from Boeing's website on what the AOG has for its things-to-do plan. It is now into a third day since April 19, and the 10 teams are nearing a stage for the first 10 airplanes for a handover to its operators and customers. They will shortly be going airborne with customer tests and familiarization of systems. These customer tests will impart, do double duty of training crews with the updates and refining its pilots flying skills on the 787. Finally,  further observing reliability for the system changes.

By the end of May most of the Aircraft will be retrofitted with the new Battery system. Some will begin to carry passengers for revenue miles. By the end of June, the Works -In -Progress 787's, at Boeing's respective factories will roll into the sky. These are a total of about 34. Maybe a half dozen a week depending on customer readiness for receiving an aircraft. In total there are 50 aircraft with customers needing the retrofit and about 34 at Everett and Charleston awaiting kits; B-1 flights and other final steps, after the systems are live. Then the customers need to come for them when ready.  This total of 84 787's will be flying with customers by end of August. By the end of the year there will be over 100 787's flying.

Timeline analysis:
Number of days projected times before all backlog and customer aircraft fly in service; 4 days for each cycle times 10 teams = or about 34 working days for retrofit not counting time off or travel time relocating to next project. 84X 4 days= 336 days of work divided by 10 teams = 33.6 calendar days in a straight line of time not including the above mentioned non production days that is necessary for any task. Middle of June should have a good idea of what to expect with deliveries and return to service. I just hope the GAO doesn't get involved, but since it is not a military thing it, will remain AOG guys.

Boeings AOG 101:

Supporting our airline customers, on-site and real-time. (Boeing Link To AOG article below)

For Boeing's Aircraft-on-Ground Team, known as AOG, unplanned trips in support of customers all over the world are a routine part of the job.  Consisting of advisors, engineers and mechanics who are experts in their fields, the AOG teams frequently fly to airline customers around the world to get their airplanes back in the air and in service.

AOG teams have unique capabilities allowing them to perform on-site, comprehensive and integrated modifications to return airplanes to service.  Such capabilities include:
·       On-site technical support to recover Boeing airplanes.
·       Consultation on appropriate recovery equipment and methods for the customer's operations.
·       Airplane recovery documents that provide critical information such as lifting, tethering, transporting, and other needed data to recover Boeing-manufactured airplanes.
·       Training on aircraft recovery and establishing an airplane recovery team.

AOG team members take on the challenge with the same professionalism and determination for which they are known. Like all of Boeing, the team considers the safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes as their highest priority.

Before the AOG teams could begin retrofitting the grounded 787s, however, some of the unique parts had to be made. That’s where the Boeing Fabrication team came in. At Auburn, Washington, U.S.A., and other sites, they fashioned numerous parts including the new stainless steel battery enclosure to contain the airplane’s improved batteries in the electronic equipment bays. The Fabrication team then shipped the parts to the Spares Distribution Center (SDC) in Seattle, U.S.A.

The SDC team packages the parts into battery containment kits, destined for shipment to each customer. Each kit comprises two ventilated battery containment boxes and the vast majority of the parts needed to complete the modification, including insulation, tubing, wiring and supporting hardware like brackets and fasteners. The batteries themselves will be shipped from the manufacturer to the airline.

Now that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has approved the installation, the AOG teams have begun installing the new battery kits.