Boeing made history a few weeks ago when it rolled out the first commercial airliner built outside of its manufacturing base in the Puget Sound region of Washington state: a 787 Dreamliner produced at its new final assembly plant in North Charleston, South Carolina. For the U.S. airframer, it was a breakthrough after a changed approach to manufacturing that has been far from straightforward and uncontentious.
Boeing Everett Factory
Individuals can argue over who has lost more face as a result of Air India’s last-minute cancellation of its first Boeing 787 delivery: the U.S. airframer or the cash-strapped flag carrier and its masters in the Indian government.
Boeing launched its first iPad app, “Milestones in Innovation,” yesterday. The app brings nine decades of aviation innovation to the tablet through imagery and an interactive timeline. “This is the history of Boeing as a digital coffee-table book,” said Boeing vice president of brand and advertising Fritz Johnston.
Boeing rolled out the first 787 Dreamliner assembled at its new plant in North Charleston, S.C., on April 27. Addressing a crowd of some 7,000 employees and others gathered under the sun in front of the massive final assembly building, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh and Boeing South Carolina general manager Jack Jones framed the occasion in historic terms: It marked the first time Boeing built an airliner outside the Puget Sound region of Washington state.
Boeing has decided to move production of the 787-9 horizontal stabilizer from its development center in Seattle to Boeing Salt Lake City and Italy’s Alenia, the company announced yesterday during a stop on the 787 “Dream Tour” in Salt Lake City. Plans call for work to begin in Salt Lake City late this year and delivery of the first example during next year’s first quarter.
A busy news cycle for Boeing climaxed last Tuesday with the company’s first so-called collaborative agreement with China’s Comac, under which the would-be rivals agreed to create an aviation energy conservation emissions reduction technology center in Beijing.
Boeing has increased the final assembly production rate on the 787 Dreamliner from 2.5 to 3.5 per month in Everett, Washington, a Boeing spokesman Monday. The rate increase took effect on March 1.
“Elements of the supply chain are already moving toward subsequent rate breaks in the future,” said the spokesman.
Boeing plans to start the fourth segment of its so-called 787 Dream Tour on March 1, as Dreamliner ZA003 visits the first of eight cities in the U.S., Canada and Mexico before heading to the FIDAE Air Show in Santiago, Chile, in late March.
Boeing has begun building the first Next-Generation 737 at the program’s new production rate of 35 airplanes a month from 31.5, the company announced on Tuesday evening.
Boeing completed all flight tests required for type certification of the Rolls-Royce-powered 787-8 Dreamliner last month. ZA102, the ninth 787 built by Boeing, performed the final flight on Saturday, August 13. Chief pilot Mike Carriker returned ZA102 to its home base at Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 1:58 p.m. local time following a 90-minute flight that originated in Billings, Mont.