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Print 75 comment(s) - last by Masospaghetti.. on Aug 7 at 10:02 AM

Engineers on the project say wing design flaw will prevent test flight in 2009

Boeing's 787 “Dreamliner” has been more of a nightmare for many at Boeing as the project has cost significantly more than expected and is still two-years late (and counting).

Another problem in the 787's design has been found, this time in the wings. During tests to certify the aircraft, damage to the wings and wing box of the 787 was found. The damage was delamination of the composite sheets covering the wings under stress.

The Seattle Times reports that the structural flaw in the Dreamliner was discovered in May during ground tests that bent the wings upwards to simulate stress during flight. The stress at the end of rods used to stiffen the upper wing skin panels caused the composite plastic material used in the wings to delaminate.

The damage to the wing occurred just beyond the Dreamliner's load limit, described as the maximum weight the wing is expected to bear in service. The Seattle Times mistakenly reported last week that the damage occurred just over the wing's ultimate load, which is 50% higher than the in-service limit load the wing is expected to endure. The limit load is the FAA test target and proves that the problem with the design of the wing is worse than originally believed.

The plane could have flown after the wing damage, but the test flights would reportedly have been severely restricted. The damage the wing sustained is reportedly not severe enough to have caused any sort of catastrophic failure had it happened in flight.

The design flaw and time needed to devise and implement repairs on the fleet means that the test flight will not likely happen this year according to one engineer on the project. The test flight was delayed in late 2008 to Q2 2009.

The damage to the wings extends inside the fuselage of the aircraft as well making repairs more difficult. The failure in the wing and the wing box is not the fault of Fuji Heavy Industries, who manufactures the components for Boeing. That means Boeing is solely responsible for any cost overruns and time delays because of the issue.

The fix has yet to be certified but could involve engineers creating a U-shape cutout in the end of the upper wing skin stringer and then refastening the reshaped stringer ends with new titanium fittings.



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Confused...?
By Amiga500 on 7/31/2009 11:17:30 AM , Rating: 2
Is this not old news?

News that the wing failed long before ultimate limit load was reported weeks ago on flightglobal.

http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flightblogger/20...

Tellingly the fact that Boeing were not willing to fly the thing at all for flight testing reveals how poor the wing performed. Ultimate limit load is the equivalent of 4.5g and limit load the equivalent of 3g, far beyond what normal airliners experience... even in virtually all the test flights.

A 2g turn is heavy, unheard of in 99.9999% of flights, and extremely easy for test pilots to avoid. That is 67% of limit load. Yet boeing were unwilling to let the plane get into the air to learn vast amounts about the control systems etc and also take the heat off. Says it all really.

The problem is bigger than they let on.

Anyhow. They've decided on how to fix it... allegedly.

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2009/07/23/33...




RE: Confused...?
By Gyres01 on 7/31/09, Rating: -1
RE: Confused...?
By Jedi2155 on 7/31/2009 11:33:55 AM , Rating: 5
It seems like everyone is calling them idiots, but no one really seems to care that this is a completely new plane with lots of design challenges. With a body made composed primarily of composite materials, I would think the design challenges are probably complex and more difficult to fix than many of the people lambasting them.

In either case, mistakes were made and some heads should be rolling.


RE: Confused...?
By bdot on 7/31/2009 11:43:50 AM , Rating: 5
All DT commenters are Aeronautical Engineers Duh..


RE: Confused...?
By Mclendo06 on 7/31/2009 10:33:56 PM , Rating: 1
yep...


RE: Confused...?
By 91TTZ on 8/2/2009 3:38:31 AM , Rating: 3
No, we're just critics. There's a difference. We're not offering to help fix the problem, we're only blasting Boeing for not doing it right.


RE: Confused...?
By MozeeToby on 7/31/2009 11:49:34 AM , Rating: 3
If you were in the industry, you'd understand. For 2 years we heard nothing but how amazing and revolutionary the airplane was. How their partnerships with other companies were going to make delays a thing of the past. How the airplane would literally change the way airlines do business.

Now, they've just got 3/4 of the industry pissed off at them because everyone has a hand in this plane. The company I work for, for instance, will eventually have $1.5 million in revenue for each dreamliner that leaves the factory. While waiting for the 787 to fly, we've had to lay off people.

In other words, there's a lot of frustration, both because of the lost income as well as the fact that they didn't deliver like they said they were going to. I'm not saying it's fair, like you said, a new plane is a hugely complex piece of machinery, the dreamliner in particular.


RE: Confused...?
By brybir on 7/31/2009 3:07:22 PM , Rating: 3
Seems like if you are in the industry you would know that long delays were and are a real possibility. Happens quite a bit, most notably on the defense side when dealing with new tech.

Perhaps your company should ask Boeing to front some cash. If your contribution is important enough, and the delays at Boeing threaten your ongoing operations, I am guessing they will prop you up to avoid causing any more problems. Then again, if your entire company was depending on one plane and it being executed properly I would say that is just a bad business decision or one that was not planned out well.


RE: Confused...?
By Einy0 on 7/31/2009 6:54:39 PM , Rating: 2
I think you are misplacing your frustrations on people being laid off. We are in a Global recession people are getting laid off everywhere. Things are turning around, but it will take time. You should be happy Boeing is proceeding carefully. What if they sold lemons instead? I suppose your company could cancel it's orders and buy some Airbus planes. Then again Airbus planes have had a tendency to just fall out of the sky as of late...


RE: Confused...?
By bjacobson on 7/31/2009 12:21:39 PM , Rating: 2
Even with all the design hurdles to overcome, this is one heck of a plane. 20% fuel savings over the 767...


RE: Confused...?
By BZDTemp on 7/31/2009 4:50:53 PM , Rating: 5
1. Lets see that come to life - so far it is just computer predictions.

2. Advancement in engine tech is likely to account for big savings. Maybe even more than the optimized weight and aerodynamics.

The A380 uses less fuel that the current 747's so of course Boeing should be able to make the Dreamliner use less than a 767 - after tech has moved a long nicely these last years.


RE: Confused...?
By knutjb on 8/1/09, Rating: -1
RE: Confused...?
By Amiga500 on 8/1/2009 7:33:06 AM , Rating: 1
quote:
Even with all the design hurdles to overcome, this is one heck of a plane. 20% fuel savings over the 767...


You might be interested to know that if a propfan engine were used, fuel savings would be 50% over a 767!

(and that is from the 1980s NASA propfan tests... wait and see how the updated tests perform)


RE: Confused...?
By knutjb on 8/2/2009 4:26:52 AM , Rating: 1
I was too noisy in that application. Some of the blade tech made it's way into turbo props. Turning at lower speeds on turbo props, the noise difference wasn't an issue. I haven't seen if they have revisited it. It was prettycool looking.


RE: Confused...?
By ikkeman2 on 8/7/2009 2:00:20 AM , Rating: 2
and a cessna citation uses even less fuel, while going only a few hundred instead of a few thousand miles at only a few hundred instead of almost a thousand miles an hour...

- what's your point.


RE: Confused...?
By Masospaghetti on 8/7/2009 10:02:33 AM , Rating: 2
There are other very significant issues with using a propfan - and while ultimate efficiency is better, noise is an issue and so is safety -- I wouldn't want to be in that plane when you have a prop blade separation.

To give you an idea of how much energy these blades would have if they separated, a traditional turbofan with a kevlar-reinforced cowl sometimes cannot contain a separated turbine blade - there have been instances where the blade has literally severed the entire fuselage of the plane in half and wedged into the other engine. Now imagine what would happen if there was no cowl at all...

Personally I would love to see more competing technologies for engines, everything uses turbofans now and its kind of boring - bring back the supercharged 28-cylinder Wasp Major radial!!


RE: Confused...?
By sxr7171 on 7/31/2009 7:39:02 PM , Rating: 3
Wasn't that what all the new-fangled computer simulation was supposed to be for? Anyway, certainly people are being way too harsh, but insiders at Boeing say the problem started with the proclamation by the CEO that "Boeing is no longer an engineering company". So what are they now? A marketing, logistics and outsourcing company that orders parts engineered by everyone but themselves to put together somewhere?

It's a real sad scene how we've made real engineering so "unglamorous" and actually boast that we don't do any real engineering. Just let them do it Japan, Taiwan, China and India. Maybe people would be inclined to do a Ph.D in engineering if companies thought about getting some quality in-house engineering talent for a change.


RE: Confused...?
By knutjb on 8/1/2009 5:22:21 AM , Rating: 2
If you want to sell to most markets those countries need to have a part of production to keep them sold on buying your product over someone else.

quote:
It's a real sad scene how we've made real engineering so "unglamorous"

So you and who are taking credit for the "unglamorous" part? Just curious...


RE: Confused...?
By ikkeman2 on 8/7/2009 2:03:05 AM , Rating: 2
that should only be true for military stuff- but you're right. Ab builds 320's in china for a reason, and japan/italy invested heavily in the 787 for a reason.

ofcourse Engineering is still Glamorous - have a look at my xls sheets and be awestruck!


RE: Confused...?
By Sazar on 8/3/2009 11:23:11 AM , Rating: 2
Not to mention that like the 777, this plane was designed completely on computer/paper and not modeled like older planes, even through the A340 era Airbus aircraft.

Seeing the variety of issues with both the big-kahuna Airbus and now Boeing, it is clear that looking for better, longer range, more fuel efficient, more miles per passenger at lower cost is indeed taking it's toll and not so easy to implement.

The upside is, we will have more fuel-efficient aircraft that can travel further and provide greater comfort :)


RE: Confused...?
By Samus on 7/31/2009 11:50:10 AM , Rating: 3
quote:
Boeing design idiots should spend some time in France......Billions down the drain is becoming the new American way.....


You've got to be fucking kidding...Boing aircraft have a FAR superior flight record compared to Airbus, AND Boing is substantially better at keeping to design and delivery schedules. The A370 has been delayed for YEARS, and now all the sudden everybody is throwing a fit over a 12-18 month delay to the TEST flight?

These are AIRCRAFT and they must have a 0.00001% chance of failure in every single component. LET THEM GET IT RIGHT. Especially because nobody is losing money except for them. It's not like your tax dollars have anything to do with the Boing engineering program. Go complain about NASA somewhere, you know, something we all have at least some insignificant investment in.


RE: Confused...?
By BrgMx5 on 7/31/09, Rating: 0
RE: Confused...?
By ClownPuncher on 7/31/2009 1:45:50 PM , Rating: 5
Boeing receives "public funds" for defense contracts, NASA projects, and a number of other government contracts. The public isn't paying for commercial airliners in the United States.


RE: Confused...?
By Jeffk464 on 7/31/2009 2:15:39 PM , Rating: 1
I'm not so sure about that one. I think boeing tends to rip the government off to help the bottom line. That being said, the 747 also had a lot of problem when it was in this stage and I would say that it was definitely a success.


RE: Confused...?
By PandaBear on 7/31/2009 2:24:42 PM , Rating: 2
So does every single aerospace company toward its own government. Every one of them are semi-nationalized industry due to the national security, foreign trade, and the shear size of the industry. There is no way to get politics and public funds 100% out of it.


RE: Confused...?
By BrgMx5 on 8/1/2009 6:45:14 PM , Rating: 2
Oh yes it is.

Advanced programs funded by the military will produce tech that will eventualy be integrated in comercial products.

And i'm not saying it is wrong, just saying that it is not that black and white


RE: Confused...?
By PandaBear on 7/31/2009 2:22:35 PM , Rating: 2
But they also bring in a lot of foreign revenue. Do you want them to burn some tax dollar while generating a lot of foreign sales (hence tax dollar)? or do you want to abandon Boeing and start buying all planes from Airbus?


RE: Confused...?
By homebredcorgi on 7/31/2009 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
Boeing receives funds from the US government from direct military contracts (commercial and military funds can't mix - they are literally separate companies), indirect research through NASA or academic universities and tax breaks.

Airbus on the other hand received a multi-billion dollar non-recourse loan to build the A380. Non-recourse means that if they can't pay up, the European governments are stuck with the bill, not Airbus. Boeing on the other hand used their own money (and that of some of the major suppliers) to develop the 787. If Boeing's 787 is truly screwed and never flies, there is a very good chance the company would go bankrupt (and probably be purchased by another defense contractor). So yes, they both receive public funds, but not exactly in the same way. If the Europeans hadn't been giving out free money to develop commercial transports, I would say both companies are about even in terms of subsidies...but that is not the case.


RE: Confused...?
By rippleyaliens on 7/31/09, Rating: -1
RE: Confused...?
By MrBlastman on 7/31/2009 12:58:47 PM , Rating: 2
I was with you until you started bashing the geeks. What's wrong with being a nerd or a geek? By even being at this site there is a high likelihood that you are part geek yourself...


RE: Confused...?
By rippleyaliens on 7/31/09, Rating: -1
RE: Confused...?
By BrgMx5 on 7/31/2009 1:23:34 PM , Rating: 5
FYI

Planes crash mainly due to improper maintenance and human error (usually poor decisions in the face of unusual circumstances).

Design flaws are not that usual, and it is perfectly natural that the development of aircraft that push the envelope, like the airbus A380 due to size, the Concorde due to its speed or the 787 due to the use of composites will be delayed as tests and assembly reveal trouble spots in something that wasn´t tried before.

Now to your bullsh*t comment, Airbus might be European and Boeing American, but the amount of American and European subcontractors that work for them makes you look like an idiot


RE: Confused...?
By MrPoletski on 8/4/2009 6:37:20 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
but the amount of American and European subcontractors that work for them makes you look like an idiot


...oh it was THAT that made him look like an idiot to you, ok...


RE: Confused...?
By Exedore on 7/31/2009 12:28:48 PM , Rating: 1
Boeing contracts out a lot of the engineering on the 787. I know one of the engineering team leaders on this project (stress analysis), and he has some European engineers working under him. I won't say what country they are from. He said he constantly has to re-do their work because it is not done correctly.
It may be Boeing's fault for not catching this mistake, but be careful who you blame for the actual source of the flaw.


RE: Confused...?
By bhieb on 7/31/2009 12:52:46 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah we all know how smart they are trucking plane parts across the country...riiighhhttt.


RE: Confused...?
By dav115 on 7/31/2009 4:27:25 PM , Rating: 1
Yeah, and while they are there maybe they can teach the French how to coordinate CAD packages between their design offices, thus avoiding the problem of not being able to add design changes to the master mockup...


RE: Confused...?
By cochy on 7/31/2009 4:44:44 PM , Rating: 1
Umm ya cause the A380 is on-time and on-budget.


RE: Confused...?
By Mclendo06 on 7/31/09, Rating: 0
RE: Confused...?
By Mclendo06 on 7/31/2009 10:32:01 PM , Rating: 2
Even if a plane will pretty much never see that load, you have to design to the FAR specifications. Period.

I'm honestly not very surprised by these issues. The 787 is the biggest leap in commercial aircraft design since the Concord. No plane has ever used composites for so much of the structure. The design is completely different. Delamination is going to be an issue with laminated composites, but they are generally better understood than woven composites, not to mention that techniques for their manufacture are further along, both of which make them a lower-risk choice overall.

The 787 is only the start in the world of composite aircraft. Once Boeing gets these kinks worked out they are going to be lightyears ahead of any other producer of commercial air transports.

One other thing - the 777 failed at 154% of maximum design load in its static test - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pe9PVaFGl3o - an overdesign of only 2.7%. Boeing knows how to analyze complicated structures just as well as anyone. The only problem is that failure of composites is an order of magnitude more complicated than the failure of metal...


RE: Confused...?
By Amiga500 on 8/1/2009 7:29:48 AM , Rating: 1
You think I don't know all about the FARs and JARS?

For test aircraft (i.e. not going to be used to carry passengers!), they do not have to meet the FARS/JARS. If you could guarantee meeting the regs prior to a test program, why have a test program at all? ;-)

Boeing were scared to even get the thing into the air with a restricted envelope of >2g. Says enough to me.

Oh, and you don't have to tell me about the complexity of modelling composites. Been, seen and done. I am of the opinion the 787, A350 and CSeries are a generation too early. Composites are simply not ready for the big time yet... too many unknowns, and too many inherent manufacturing problems with current processes.


RE: Confused...?
By Mclendo06 on 8/1/2009 8:00:26 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, I'm sure you do know about the FARs. Sorry, I wasn't trying to infer that you didn't. My comment was meant to be more tongue-in-cheek. I should have worded it differently.

I disagree that it's too early for a composite airplane. From discussions I've had the 787 is designed pretty conservatively overall. Yes, there will be growing pains, but everything I have seen indicates that Boeing is going to great lengths to ensure that these growing pains don't lead to catastrophic failures. The lessons they learn and the expertise their engineers are gaining will make the next composite aircraft that much better.


RE: Confused...?
By ikkeman2 on 8/7/2009 2:19:24 AM , Rating: 2
so you'd prefer a "potemkin" first flight (copyright leelaw) like their roll-out.

remember they rolled out a shell some two years ago and the uppper echelon claimed their (wet)dreamliner would be "structurally complete" in mere weeks... I guess even Boeing couldn't allow for another pr stunt like that.
They identified an error, tried to find a solution - found they had no option but a repair and decided (to do the right thing and) to implement the repair befor going forward.
Kudo's to Boeing for doing the right thing, instead of the looking good option.


Haha ! suck it Boeing
By chick0n on 7/31/09, Rating: 0
RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By acase on 7/31/2009 11:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
I dunno, I'd say Airbus still takes the cake.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By MrPoletski on 8/4/2009 6:39:57 AM , Rating: 2
The cake is a lie.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By ikkeman2 on 8/7/2009 2:23:32 AM , Rating: 2
there is no cake, just two pills


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By L1011 on 7/31/2009 11:41:32 AM , Rating: 1
I don't know where you get your information chick0n but Boeing has never laughed at Airbus' misfortunes with the A380. I recall a very professional and courteous posting by Boeing's Randy Baseler (boeing.com/randy which is now a different Randy but the same blog) when the A380 first flew. Boeing publicly congratulated Airbus, said it was exciting to see an aircraft fly for the first time--no matter who makes it--and said it was great day in Aviation history..."Airbus' Day"

Your childish gloating is pathetic.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By Jeffk464 on 7/31/2009 2:22:48 PM , Rating: 2
I'm sure boeing is thrilled that their 747 that they have been making money on for decades is now obsolete.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By Belard on 7/31/2009 3:00:03 PM , Rating: 2
No, the 40+ year old 747 isn't obsolete.

The A380 has more limited landing locations than the 747. The price per plane is vastly different.

747 are $225~300million each
380 are $320~350million each

The 747 will continue to be made for many years to come.
The 380 was built to compete with the 747, Boeing won't be making a whole new plane to replace the 747 any time soon. Why bother? It was made 40 years ago and far cheaper... as proven by the problems (typical) of any new airliner.

Unlike the A380 (and Dreamliner), other than a revision/update - there is no R&D costs for the 747, so its very profitable. The 747-8 will use some Dreamliner tech to maker it less noisy and more fuel efficient.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By gcouriel on 7/31/2009 5:07:20 PM , Rating: 2
well, actually...

the A380 is marketed as a Super Jumbo jet, capable of flying more people, economically, than the 747. the problem with the A380 is that it's SO LARGE, that it doesn't make sense for many carriers to have one. additionally, it requires changes in airport infrastructure, which will limit use. you'll probably see a lot traveling between the US (NY) and London or Paris, as well as long-haul flights out of LAX to Tokyo or some Chinese cities, but for the most part, the 747, a known commodity, will continue to dominate.

However, Boeing isn't sitting on it's ass on this one. coming down the pipeline is the next revision(s) to the 747, namely the 747-8 and 747-9, taking advantage of the technology acquired from the 787, and applying it to the 747, including use of composite materials to lower weight and improve efficiency.

check it out: http://www.boeing.com/commercial/747family/747-8_b...


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By Belard on 7/31/2009 7:21:27 PM , Rating: 2
That is pretty much what I said.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By Belard on 7/31/2009 2:39:39 PM , Rating: 2
What I remember was a lot of kids say "YEAH! Screw Airbus! 787 will fly on time, etc" - crap like that.

While Airbus and Boeing are competitors, its very serious business. A screw up with a CPU means it runs slower than it should or crashes. A plane defect means hundreds or people die in minutes, reputation suffers and companies are sued.

For the average joe-blow... they geneally shouldn't make a big deal of what plane vs another. For the most part - when we go on a trip, we fly on a plane that is on that route and rotation. Our only choice is to not take the flight and maybe not go to that city / country.

Both make good planes. If they are junk, the airliners wouldn't be buying them.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By blowfish on 7/31/2009 5:11:46 PM , Rating: 3
I'd sort of agree with you, except that there was a period of over a decade during which many Boeing 737's were flying with potentially defective rudder controls that could cause rudder reversal, and uncommanded full opposite rudder deflection. The rudder control defect caused at least two fatal accidents, so it's always something I think about when flying in a 737.


RE: Haha ! suck it Boeing
By ikkeman2 on 8/7/2009 2:33:47 AM , Rating: 2
and A330 rudders had a design load limit that was less than the actuators were capable of applying - when software limits failed the plane would tear itself apart -
caused one crash...
A320 envelope protection will not allow a pilot to use all available power to get back up into the air when the computer decides it's in landing mode...
747's flew with electrical wiring that ran through the center fuel tank - allowing for the possibility of faulty wiring putting a spark inside a fuel tank...

all airplanes fly with potential catastrophic failures (it's inherent everytime you leave the earth for more than a small vertical distance - the drop, you know) - you can thank murphy for that.


It's amazing
By Danish1 on 8/1/2009 5:25:18 AM , Rating: 2
Just how many retarded flag waving morons on both sides of the pond resorted to hating on each other after the wall fell due to the lack of better target.

One can only hope you will someday grow up and realize if you idiots were in charge the world would be a much worse place to live in, and when it comes to airplanes in particular that both Boeing and Airbus are doing a damn fine job of designing and producing extremely safe planes.




RE: It's amazing
By Danish1 on 8/1/2009 5:34:51 AM , Rating: 2
Ok I'll admit the pacifist left wing idiot Europeans were out in force long before the Americans, but the US right wing lunatics has done an awesome job of catching up.


RE: It's amazing
By Griswold on 8/2/2009 2:52:12 PM , Rating: 2
And where does a idiotic lunatic such as yourself belong in this picture?


RE: It's amazing
By Danish1 on 8/3/2009 11:35:59 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously above you on the IQ ladder.


Boeing "Too Big to Fail"
By Shig on 7/31/2009 11:19:39 AM , Rating: 2
Incoming....




RE: Boeing "Too Big to Fail"
By ClownPuncher on 7/31/2009 1:41:24 PM , Rating: 2
Hyperbole aside, they are not in danger of failing, it's just a delay of a couple months to make sure the planes are as safe as possible.


RE: Boeing "Too Big to Fail"
By ikkeman2 on 8/7/2009 2:35:40 AM , Rating: 2
a delay of a few months on top of a delay of a few years...


By drank12quartsstrohsbeer on 7/31/2009 12:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
composite materials are a lot harder to make. I wouldn't be suprised at all to find out that the manufacturing is the problem.
The resin systems and fibers they use in areospace applications are nothing like the stuff in your golf clubs and bike frames.




composites?
By TechIsGr8 on 7/31/2009 1:05:52 PM , Rating: 2
Airbus has been so successful using composites, except for that pesky problem of the tail fin falling off a few times. I'm very confident that Boeing's first widespread application of composites will be just as safe for the flying public as Airbus' have been. I mean, eventually, the NTSB and FAA will develop structural testing standards like they have for metallic bodies one day. Might take a few more planes falling apart in the sky though before that happens.




Delays
By harley040 on 7/31/2009 2:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
As an Aircraft Maintenance Engineer, I would rather deal with delays that ensure that there is no possible mechanical deficancies, than risk my companies reputation on putting out a problamatic aircraft. It is alot easier to deal with the delays than the lawsuits of broken or damaged aircraft.




50%
By tech329 on 7/31/2009 2:30:00 PM , Rating: 2
As I recall from an article, this aircraft is comprised of something in the range of 50% of these composite structures. I had seen some of these manufactured pieces at another military contractor a while back. I don't know what these particular pieces look like or how they're made but the ones I saw and actually handled are some very tough parts. Chemists and physicits are going at it like crazy to evolve these materials. I'd guess in three or four decades we'll see the entire commercial fleet of aircraft being replaced with products from their efforts.




Major
By blowfish on 7/31/2009 5:06:01 PM , Rating: 2
This sounds like a major problem, and I doubt there can be any quick fix.

The difference between the Dreamliner and all Airbus planes to date is that the Dreamliner uses composites for a lot of the primary structure, whilst Airbus have been fairly conservative in using composites only for secondary elements.

Just like De Havilland found with the Comet in the 1950's and 60's, Boeing will be on a fairly steep learning curve.




Sigh!
By mars3d4f on 8/2/2009 10:09:54 PM , Rating: 2
Why did I ever get involved into this thing?




Airbus is a joke
By dfp21 on 8/3/2009 5:54:26 AM , Rating: 2
Surprised nobody commented on the recent A330 crash which has exposed Airbus's insane design philosophy that computer software should override pilot input. Incredible arrogance.




Fascinating stuff here.
By PAPutzback on 7/31/09, Rating: 0
Shane can piss off
By rudolphna on 7/31/09, Rating: -1
RE: Shane can piss off
By FaaR on 7/31/2009 12:19:31 PM , Rating: 2
Airbus fanboy... El-oh-el, I never thought I'd see that particular accusation being used. If you want to name anyone as a fanboy, I'd look in a mirror pally, considering how defensive you act in your post, heh.

One might wonder what's even the point of pontificating over particular aircraft manufacturers anyway, considering A: we as passengers have absolutely no control over which make of airplane we get to travel in, the airliner takes care of that. And, B: nobody except the stupidly rich could afford to buy one of these babies to begin with.

As for Dreamliner being an 'entirely new' design, no it isn't. Not even close. For starters, it follows the same basic concept passenger planes have used since roughly the 1930s, and even more closely related, other jet airplanes from the 1960s.

It's a traditional airplane, with composite materials used in the airframe. Composites btw aren't new tech either I might add, they've been used for decades in the aircraft industry.


RE: Shane can piss off
By rudolphna on 7/31/2009 12:31:20 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not a fanboy. I would be defending airbus or bombardier or Lockheed if they had these problems too. You CAN pick the plane you fly in. You can pick your airline, and it tells you for each flight the planes. You can pick and choose as you want. Also, it IS a new design. This is the first time a commercial airliner, or any large aircraft has EVER used composite materials for the entire airframe construction. That means nobody truly knows what to expect, and guesses are pretty much the best that can be done.


RE: Shane can piss off
By brybir on 7/31/2009 3:02:11 PM , Rating: 2
You seem pretty frantic about this issue. Somehow you read into this article that the implication is that the Dreamliner should be trouble free, and then go on and on about how unrealistic it is that this amazing new aircraft should not have any problems.

Best I can tell from the article is that it says:

1. The project is delayed well past Boeing's own internal schedule of development
2. The delays are attributed to defects found in the design during testing
3. Repeated delays of this kind are not good in a very competitive industry.

I fail to see how any of this represents "fanboyism". I also do not see where it appears the author is advocating anything. I think its a pretty good short article about the problems Boeing is having, the context and history of other problems of the plane, and the possible implications this could have in the industry that Boeing competes in.

I didnt even know people could be "fanboys" for an airline. Seems kinda silly to me unless perhaps you work for the company or are directly impacted by it.


RE: Shane can piss off
By Belard on 7/31/2009 4:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
Geez people... both of you don't know what a fanboy is.

Rudolphna defends Boeing on equal footing as any other airplane maker.

A fan boy does this: "AIRBUS SUCK IT DOWN!! BOEING ROCKS! Say anything wrong with Boeing, I'll knife you!"

The delays in the 787 are not good, but nothing shocking. That is what the stress tests are for. Hopefully Boeing doesn't get to much problems from the Airliners... each delay costs Boeing money in not making their deliveries and the penalties by the Airliners. ie: Each plane delayed could cost Boeing thousands of dollars per day.


RE: Shane can piss off
By FPP on 8/3/2009 7:22:45 PM , Rating: 2
nonsense! With far fewer design tools, an earlier generation of engineers took less time and got a far better result, while taking far larger risks.


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