Those of you who are not familiar of audits on a mass scale are fortunate not to suffer from stress anxiety while on the the job. Those of you who have gone through that grist mill, learn to brace-up and except the inevitable, you job is under audit! Boeing has, after many a mishap for its 787 gone through a comprehensive performance audit for its manufacturing process and performance building this aircraft with a keen emphasis of processes, procedures and production of its all new aircraft, the 787. A brief review for anyone wanting to know what's under the hood on the 787 , the CSRT report is a must read. Not so much for the detail of what was found, but more for the assurance of what has Boeing wrought with this 787.
The summary report generalizes the overview of the audit. A Team went in to find if Boeing did its due diligence not from the standard production scheme of legacy models such as the 737 or 747, but from a new perspective of all new critical systems with a whole new level of technology. Hence the Critical Systems Review Team. This blog is sort of a primer for this audit report. The audit title hints at the the audit scope in the area of critical systems. The audit will compare past practices and over-all performances of this new airplane, and will diagnose if Boeing has taken appropriate steps while it developed a completely new aircraft. It takes testing in a comparison of the former and compares it with the 787. The Critical system review looks at multiple steps in making a 787 that is so unlike the former aircraft and come up with measurable conclusions that are useful for Boeing and its customers alike.
While examining the former verses the present, the Team filled the audit score card with observations (a kind of word for findings) and then issues recommendations (another kind word/phrase for "do it this way"). Leaving only a proper response for Boeing of, "We Concur". Audit responses from Boeing generally will repeat the findings or observations by stating, "we have implemented a process that directly affects said recommendations on the following observations, we have concurred, as reported by the CSRT. The new process-procedure, or policy, will assure Boeing's reaches the stated audit goal and so forth.
What the CSRT hopes to achieve is a continuity from suppliers through Boeing's ultimate customers (airline company) we all will have a stake in the ultimate goal of sound critical systems. Sounds simple, but it is intended to hone in on the key issue found during the R & D phase clear through the initial customer phase these last three years. While reading this report I kept in mind the "apples to apples" analysis of two divergent airframes. The all metal type compared to the all plastic type with all its new technology systems and millions of lines of code that make it fly. This is not your fathers airplane. What does the team say? The Boeing 787, as complex as the critical systems are, score about the same amount of issues as prior and less complex models (777) did when they were first introduced into the market place. It had comparable glitch numbers over the whole of it as the 777 did when it waas first introduced. That is a remarkable thought, an airplane that has million more parts, code and thousands of new technology benchmarks beyond what the 777 had when it was introduced. It comes out with about the same few numbers of problems.
Every day the 787 flies it just keeps improving as critical systems monitor, manage, and improve performance of the 787. The above last sentence isn't in the report, but it becomes an underlying theme to the 787 progressions forward.
Each day the 787 flies it pulls further ahead of the A350 attempts. Boeing now has a battery system that meets the initial promise. It has reduced its weight further than the first models. The production and supply chain continuously adjusts and improves. The FAA audit team concurs with Boeing that it is doing what it says in regard to a safe airplane. The after introduction period is equally important as the initial test period. During the first year the aircraft was flying it was not flying at the expense of customer safety. Boeing is committed to making the 787 fly safer each day it is in service. The first three year keeps pushing the performance and safety curve upward.
Without going into a line by line regurgitation of the audit report, read it if you will with a knowledge that auditors approach big guys like Boeing, with dull axes to grind away until they sharpen Boeing's back bone. The intent is to find everything possible within the audit scope and report it with no remorse.
Boeing just exhaled a big one. A validation on the over-all effort with the 787. Dinner for everyone at Boeing, on the Boss! Being on both sides of comprehensive audits, I can tell you its similar of a grand validation during finals week at school to get that "A". Boeing missed a few questions as expected by anyone in the loop. But it achieved a benchmark for the 787 history book. It is a "Safe Airplane". The press may recoil a little as glitches no longer merit a headline. If it does print a Glitch Headline, Boeing responds with a statement, "That Dog no longer Hunts", "now go after a real story, the fix is in the works before it hits the press wires". The audit brings a third person imploring continuity for both Boeing's partners and Boeing in delivering a safe airplane. All parties, from top to bottom, will strive to get on the the same performance page when building the 787. After all, that is what Boeing has been working towards, since before the very first airplane was ever assembled.