(emphasis added to quotes below)
Flashback to April 26, 2005: Orders fly in for Boeing 787
Currently the 787, due to enter service in 2008, has a two-year head start on the A350.
November 7, 2006: “Good, steady progress” on 787 as Boeing works to lighten up
Boeing’s 787 is on schedule. Early practice production is going smoothly. A plan to take off extra weight is in place. And the new jet’s boost to airline operating economics will be significantly better than originally projected.
That was the vigorously upbeat status report Monday from 787 program chief Mike Bair.
With the airplane less than a year from its first flight, the program is under intense scrutiny for early signs of the kind of disastrous stumbles that have led to two-year delays on the Airbus A380 superjumbo.
But if Bair is feeling the pressure, it isn’t showing.
July 8, 2007 (7-8-7): A Dreamliner comes true: Boeing’s 787 debuts today:
The Dreamliner has been elevated to a worldwide stage because it uses parts produced around the world and shipped to Everett for assembly. It’s also the first Boeing plane built extensively with composite plastic parts.
And while today is devoted to a celebration, the plane’s real test will come in August or September when it’s scheduled to make its maiden flight.
Fast-forward to July 22, 2009: Boeing 787 may not fly this year:
The structural flaw that delayed the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner is more complex than originally described by the company, and the plane’s inaugural takeoff is likely at least four to six months away, say two engineers with knowledge of Boeing’s problem.
“It’s got to take at least three to four months just to get something installed on an airplane,” said a structures engineer who has been briefed on the issue. “It’s definitely a costly fix to go and do this work.”
A second engineer, who is familiar with the details of Boeing’s construction method, said the fix must first be made on the nonflying test airplane in the Everett factory. Assuming that’s successful, it will take another month or two to install the fix on the first airplane to fly.
If Boeing’s initial fix fails to divert enough of the load away from the stress points, the delay in first flight could extend beyond six months, pushing the date out into 2010.
“There’s no guarantee that what (Boeing) is doing will work,” the second engineer said. “If the testing or analysis shows it doesn’t get rid of the load, then the engineers are back to square one.”
Doh. On the up side, maybe the recession will be over by the time the 787 is actually ready to ship to customers.
Also, I’m curious… How many people here really believe that the 787 was truly on schedule from 2005 through 2007? Having worked in engineering at a company whose primary business is manufacturing, I am well aware of the marketing and politics that goes on behind the scene. I wouldn’t be surprised if the original “timeline” was driven largely by marketing, with the engineers insisting that they needed much more time, but ultimately being ignored.