747-8 Line Gets in ‘Balance,’ ANA Pilots Finish 787 Training

 - June 13, 2011, 10:24 AM
Boeing resumed normal operation of the 747-8 assembly line on June 7. (Photo: Boeing)

Boeing officially resumed normal operation of the 747-8 assembly line on June 7, a month after it announced a “pause” or “rebalance” of the operation in Everett, Wash., to help mechanics complete work that had mounted as the company prepares to increase production of the type from 1.5 to two per month starting next May.

Boeing stopped moving airplanes forward on the line on May 6, as out-of-sequence work resulting from certain flight-test “discoveries” and engineering changes prompted management to institute the so-called rebalancing.

“In addition, as sometimes happens with the introduction of a new minor model, starting up regular production of the Intercontinental has created some challenges that are best addressed at this early state of the ramp-up,” a Boeing spokesman told AIN at the time. “That will allow us to have a smoother transition to a production increase in mid 2012,” he said.

The Intercontinental–the passenger version of the 747-8–flew for the first time on March 21. The cargo version of the airplane flew for the first time in February 2010.

Boeing said it did not expect the measure to affect the schedule for first delivery of the 747-8F Freighter to Cargolux this summer.

Separately, on June 7 Boeing and ANA completed pilot training in Seattle for the first airline crews scheduled to fly the 787 Dreamliner. Ten senior ANA training pilots and check airmen performed flights in ZA001–the first 787 flight-test airplane–over Washington state. Now ready to conduct simulator and airplane line training for ANA in Japan, they will become the first pilots on 787 commercial flights for ANA.

Boeing and ANA used airplane ZA001 to conduct two base training flights on May 25 with Boeing instructor pilots and ANA pilots on board. Each ANA pilot performed approaches at Grant County International Airport in Moses Lake, Wash.

Activity included one instrument landing system (ILS) precision approach and two visual approach patterns per pilot, with touch-and-go landings. A Boeing instructor pilot occupied the right seat during all flight activity, as the ANA pilots cycled through the left seat.

Part of Japan Civil Aviation Board (JCAB)-mandated training, the flights also helped further validate the 787 simulators and Boeing training program. All of the pilots received a qualification checkride from the JCAB during their simulator training and qualified to fly the 787 under Japanese regulatory authority.