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generation needs, which resulted in an air-
craft that took aviation back into the global
mainstream of electrically powered systems.
Traditionally, aircraft systems such as
cabin pressurisation, de-icing and environ-
mental control have been powered via hot,
high pressure air taken or bled from the
high pressure compressor.
If these systems were to be electrically
powered, there was no need for bleed air.
No bleed air meant no pneumatic system
and no complex array of piping, ducts,
pumps, control valves, brackets and heat
exchangers that usually make up the heavy
and expensive titanium bleed-air assembly.
Also gone was the not insigni cant
amount of monitoring and maintenance
Boeing also went to a higher pressure
(5000psi) hydraulic system similar to that
on the A380.
Another change was all electric brakes.
On the technology leap, McNerney told
Australian Aviation that while Boeing had
certainly "stumbled on the execution" it
was "steadfastly con dent in the innova-
tion of the 787 and the bene ts it will
bring to airlines."
Other Boeing executives lay blame with
the lack of oversight and quality control.
Outsourcing is hardly new and dates
back decades. McDonnell Aircraft Com-
pany got its start in 1939 building parts of
the Douglas DC-3.
Outsourcing is the cornerstone of produc-
tion for both Boeing and Airbus, although
until the 787 total design had remained
rmly in the hands of the lead manufacturer.
On the 787 much of the micro design
work has been given to the structure and
parts manufacturer along with the local
Aside from spreading the risk building
the 787's all-composite wing and fuselage,
Boeing also wanted to harness the com-
posite expertise of Alenia and its Japanese
e 787 partners are hardly new to aero-
space and have a rich history of extremely
successful programs with Boeing, Airbus
and McDonnell Douglas.
Former VP 787 development and pro-
duction Scott Strode pointed out to Aus-
tralian Aviation in 2006 that "because of
advances in technologies such as composite
materials, existing facilities could not ac-
commodate either the kind of work or the
amount of work that comes with a program
like the 787."
In all 280,000m2 of facilities have been
built for 787 production, not counting
the new second line being built in South
Where once Boeing would have 50
tier 1 suppliers sending parts directly to
Everett or Renton, on the 787 there are
eight and those partners work directly with
subsystem suppliers who in turn work with
For example, Alenia has sole responsi-
bility for design, construction and testing
of the horizontal stabiliser, is sourcing
parts from three of its plants in Italy, and
is working with ve nonrecurring and 12
recurring suppliers in Italy and Europe.
During the design phase of the 787,
Alenia, like other tier 1 suppliers, had 200
engineers working in Everett, while Boeing
had a handful of engineers based at Alenia.
at number of Boeing people is now
signi cantly increased.
Another example of the new production
system is French supplier Latecoere which
constructed a factory in the Czech Repub-
lic to build the 787's doors, while Pfalz-
Flugzeugwerke headquartered in Speyer,
Germany, is making titanium tubing at its
facility in Izmir, Turkey.
How much of the 787's delay was a
lack of design oversight or supply chain
monitoring, or simply working an entirely
new process with a relatively new material
for the structures being built will probably
never be known, but it is possibly the sum
of the parts.
However, clearly Boeing has not been on
top of the program and has relied too much
on all the suppliers doing the right thing.
More than any other program the 787's
success was dependent on the sum of all
the links and there were clearly some very
"Some of the technology was not as
mature as it should have been and we put a
global supply chain together without think-
ing through some of the consequences,"
Boeing Commercial Airplanes president
and CEO Jim Albaugh said from an in-
vestment conference in Riyadh.
"When you put immature technology
in your supply chain and don't supply ad-
equate oversight, you have issues and that's
what we had."
In a number of cases and for varying
reasons Boeing has been forced to buy into
its supply chain and now owns the entire
South Carolina operation where the second
787 line is being built.
Late last year Albaugh said that Boeing
was "pulling back inside some elements of
engineering on the 787-9, speci cally activ-
ities surrounding composites." He thought
it was "important that Boeing builds some
of everything, not everything, but some of
everything and having the ability to do a
composite wing or tail."
However, Albaugh lauded Mitsubishi,
manufacturer of the 787-8 wing, saying the
"When you put immature technology in your sup-
ply chain and don't supply adequate oversight, you
have issues and that's what we had."
IN STORAGE Numerous customer 787s are in storage at Paine Field awaiting type certification and
remediation work before they can be delivered. (Geoffrey Thomas)
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