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Old 19th Mar 2013, 07:58
  #1031 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: In transit
Age: 67
Posts: 3,054
This was sent to me this morning and I thought it might be of interest. It does not reflect my views (quite the opposite in fact) and I am not endorsing it in any way :

Info. about the Boeing 787 Dreamliner by Boeing engineers

The guy who wrote the following is retired from Boeing.
Thought you might find it interesting...... sorta "insider stuff"......
For one thing the problem may not be with the batteries themselves,
but with the control system that keeps the charge on them at a given level.
And the 'battery problem" is just one problem in many.
Last week I had my regular monthly lunch with 5 fellow Boeing engineers (all but one retired)
and we talked at length about what we call the "nightmare liner". We all agreed we will not book a flight on one.
The one engineer still working (at age 74!!) says the news from inside is not good,
and that there are no quick fixes for the multitude of problems that the 787 has.
The disaster began with the merger with McDonnell-Douglas in the mid-90s.
The McD people completely took over the Board and installed their own people.
They had no experience with commercial airplanes, having done only "cost-plus" military contracting,
and there are worlds of difference between military and commercial airplane design.
Alan Mulally, a life-long Boeing guy, was against outsourcing as President of Boeing Commercial Division,
but instead of making him CEO after he almost single-handedly saved the company in the early 90s,
the Board brought in Harry Stonecipher from McDonnell-Douglas, who was big on outsourcing.
Stonecipher was later fired for ethics violations, and then the Board brought in Jim McNerney,
a glorified scotch tape salesman from 3M and big proponent of outsourcing, to develop the 787.
(Alan Mulally left to become CEO of Ford and completely rejuvenated that company.)
McNerney and his bean-counting MBAs thought that instead of developing the 787* in-house*
for about $11 billion, they could outsource the design and building of the airplane for about $6 billion.
Right now they are at $23 billion and counting, three years behind in deliveries, with a grounded fleet.
That's typical for military contracting, so McNerney and the Board probably think they are doing just fine
. But it will destroy Boeing's commercial business in the same way McDonnell wrecked Douglas when
they took over that company decades ago.
Boeing had a wonderfully experienced team of designers and builders who had successfully created
the 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, and 777 in-house, always on-time,
and mostly within budget, and with few problems at introduction.
That team is gone, either retired or employed elsewhere.
(I took early retirement after the McD takeover of Boeing because I knew the new upper management team was clueless.)
The 787 was designed in Russia , India , Japan , and Italy .
The majority of the airplane is built outside the US in parts and shipped to Seattle and Charleston for assembly.
*Gee, what could possibly go wrong? * Answer: just about everything.
Because the McD people that now run Boeing don't believe in R&D, the structure of the airplane will be tested *in service*.
Commercial airplanes in their lifetime typically make ten times as many flights and fly ten times as many flight hours as military airplanes,
so the argument that composite structure has been "tested" because of the experience of composite military airplanes is just so much BS.
So structure is a big issue. The airplane is very overweight.*
The all-electric controls have the same lack-of-experience issue that the structure has.*
The only good news for me is that the Boeing pension plan is currently fully funded,
although it may not stay that way as the 787 catastrophe develops.
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