Saturday, May 9, 2015

787 Production Surges Past Expectation

The two plants in Charleston, SC and Everett WA, can get the job done without Everett's extra surge line. Exceeding expectations by months, as Boeing originally predicted a 2016 date, Boeing will move in the 777X project into the Everett 787 surge line space after the end of 2015.

This is a solid announcement, and the planning calendar should not change. Charlotte has turned around its production acumen for the 787, and is targeted with 4-5 787's a month by years end. Thus ending Everett's 787 surge line. Everett will continue it's pace of six 787 a month. Eventually, Charlotte will achieve about 6, 787 a month, making the completion goal for its contribution towards Boeing's stated 2016 goal of 12 787 a month.

Charlotte, SC will specialize in the 787-10 production due to an awkward, transportation of its longer barrel required for the 787-10's. This barrel size makes it not feasible for any Everett 787-10 production desires. It makes it so much more efficient for staying home in the low country keeping the longer barrel for Charlotte's aspirations.

The Charlotte 787 production learning curve reaches maturity by the end of 2015 while the other facility (Everett) starts 777X production and takes on 777X floor modifications in the former 787 surge line area.

The 787-10 step-up, will be Charlotte's first solo effort after Boeing goes outside the former Everett only development facility, where it had processed the 787-8 and 787-9 as first builds and testing of the sibling aircraft. The year 2016 will be the Boeing South matriculation ceremony in the Charlotte, SC plant. They have previously built a production 787-9 with success, and now they will build the 787-10 out of whole cloth and probably will fly it back to Everett during a complete flight testing regimen. It should eventually fly north to Everett for further testing, where they have the extensive testing data, collection and expertise available.

All of this can only happen because Boeing South has emerged as a competent and efficient facility. It looks like Boeing's gamble paid off going South, which bodes well for the low country and giving Everett more flexibility with the 777X project. All of this sets up for the 230th decade since counting began.

In the year 2030 everyone expects another Sea Change in aviation. The 777X will probably go plastic with the newest GE engines having all composite internals. An enormous Boeing blended wing could replace the A-380. By then, the 737 MAX is a now a twenty year place holder in single aisle category, where it will go futuristic with a composite make-over in 2030. Finally, the 787, is hard to replace, but three decades of service gives the 787 all the advantages of scientific advances. It will emerge as the ultimate airline with its composite barrel design and all electric architecture made better.