back to article Dreamliner first flight delayed yet again

Boeing has announced the first flight of its 787 Dreamliner will not now go ahead on 30 June as planned due to "a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body section of the aircraft". The Boeing Dreamliner in All Nippon Airways livery. Source: Boeing The company's press release explains: "The need was identified during …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Someone has to point it out....

    It's a bad day for Boeing fanboys and a good day for Airbus ones.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not really

    I'd say it's a no win for all involved. Airbus has lost a ton of Biz to Boeing due to A380 problems, but with the worldwide economic meltdown we're all losing.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So this

    So this thing is basically Duke Nukem Forever in plane form?

  4. Chris Simmons
    Happy

    Boeing, you listening?

    That'll teach you for laughing at the A380 delays.

  5. Mike Powers

    Composites are always tricky

    Remember the X-33?

    ****

    Fun fact: Graphite-epoxy composites were originally developed by the aerospace industry, but they did not reach useful price-points until the sports industry realized how useful they were for making golf clubs and tennis rackets...

  6. s. pam
    Paris Hilton

    Life's Fantastic, When You're Plastic

    You can touch my tail, oh baby neverfail....

    Come on Boing-arbie let's go party....

  7. Murray Pearson 1

    This is the reality of engineering.

    These types of delays are to be expected in the creation of such a novel aircraft. The fuselage is the first all-composite fuselage in an aircraft of this type; while simulations have no doubt been irreplaceable in the design process, the number of unknowns means a revision somewhere was likely. It's far better for Boeing to delay the first flight to make a better airframe: remember the Comet; a great plane that flew for a long time as the Nimrod, but the shape of the windows caused great metal fatigue in the airliners with catastrophic results.

    Engineering is not as exact a science as laypeople expect. There are approximations and simplifications made, and real objects will always be different from a simulation. For this reason factors of safety are used, and the purpose of the static test aircraft is to check their assumptions.

    The A380 had manufacturing problems too; due to software inconsistency the front and back fuselage sections didn't fit, and Airbus overhauled their IT policy and unified it across their organization. Live and learn!

    As Henry Petrosky states, the only way engineering can progress is through failure. Boeing's correction of this problem is a failure that caused no damage, and that is the best time to find one.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Boffin

    They should have flown as scheduled

    And performed the modifications afterward. The schedule delay that would have resulted in is negligible, but the moral boost to the employees would be huge. Once again, Boeing management has stumbled.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Hey Septic Tanks

    Your not laughing at Airbus now, the A380 is flying and in service where as the 787 is still an expensive door stop.

  10. Jack Harrer
    Joke

    Let's start a new flame war, 3...2...1...

    My Airbus is better than your Boeing...

  11. Pirate Dave Silver badge
    Pirate

    Err really...

    So a week or so before they were planning to test fly it, they are STILL finding areas that need structural reinforcement? I'm not an aero-engineer, but that does seem to be cutting things a bit close. I think I'll walk from now on...

  12. Anonymous Hero
    Boffin

    Safety first

    I'd rather Airbus and Boeing delayed and got the plane just right instead of having the damn things fall out the sky because the sides fell off after takeoff.

    Remember these are machines that will have lifespans of 20-30 years, a delay of two years because of getting these new composite materials and other technologies just so is really nothing.

  13. James O'Brien
    Joke

    Sighs

    For all the money they dumped into developing this I want to know what the engineers were doing with their time. I understand things get overlooked but common? To have the delays like this is just retarded.

    DL:F*

    *Do I really need to spell out what this means?

  14. Steve X

    "a need to reinforce an area within the side-of-body "

    Don't they have CAD systems to tell them about this sort of thing before they build the planes? This sounds alarmingly like the Microsft approach to software development, throw it together so it looks good on the outside, and patch it when bits break. Remind me to add the 787 to my list of "don't fly until it's been around for a while" planes...

  15. Ivan Headache

    What's this productive flight testing stuff?

    Dues that mean that there's unproductive testing?

  16. Matt 33
    Coat

    @They should have flown as scheduled

    No they shouldn't...the flight test data would've been invalid cos they would, effectively, be flying a different airframe. Which isn't helpful for the FAA/JAA certification. So they would've had to have repeated the tests...which would have been even more demoralising for said Boeing employees, pushing to do a pointless test knowing full well they'd have had to repeat the test anyway.

    Sounds like Boeing management had their project-planning caps on for a change. Airtime in a flying test bed is veeeeeeeery expensive, hence why they stuff the thing full of instrumentation and follow the 'do it right first time' approach, and try, as close as possible, to match the production aircraft.

    Incidentally, at a presentation given to us as final year engineering students, shortly before the launch of the A380, the Airbus wonk claimed that "we don't build prototypes anymore".

    Me: "So who are you going to sell the first aircraft off the line to, the one that's been stuffed with the aforementioned instrumentation?"

    AW: "Oh, that's got too many holes and extra wires in it, we keep that, as a flying test bed, for testing future upgrades and the like"

    Me: "So the difference between that and prototype is?"

    AW: "Er...."

    @ SteveX

    Yes they do, but structural analysis (FEA, etc) will only tell you so much, especially as far as composites are concerned...hence why they test it 1:1 scale before they let the wetware take it for a spin...

    It's worth bearing in mind that CAD stands for Computer AIDED Design - doesn't remove the need for the good ol' Mk1 Greymatter. Nowt more dangerous than a CAD-jockey just unthinkingly throwing stuff together in the virtual environment and expecting it to work IRL...

    The one with a copy of "Basic Concepts of Engineering" in the pocket and the flame-proof lining.

  17. Prag Fest
    Grenade

    lolz

    Airbus pwns teh Boeing

  18. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Boeing fanboys are suddenly veeeeeery quiet

    Because they were the ones laughing and pointing fingers at Airbus when they announced a second delay.

    I do not intend to fly in a 787 until it's been out for a while...

    The A380 seems to go ok... so far.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    @Steve X

    CAD systems are for designing the airframe - it won't tell you how it will behave when some rainstorm dumps a few thousand gallons of saltwater all over your nice new weetabix fuselage, or how well it will withstand crosswinds, windshear etc.

    Computational Fluid Dynamics and materials modelling is another kettle of fish entirely.

    That's why they use the old method of hooking up one of the early airframes to a load of strain gauges and then pulling it every which way they can. It's better to lose one of your 'iron bird' test pieces than a scheduled flight full of fare-paying self-loaded cargo...

    That said, to get a week from first flight and then announce another f***-up like this is pushing the limits a bit. Nice one Boing, Airbus sends their thanks!

  20. Martin 6 Silver badge

    Even worse than reported

    Other stories have reported delays and problems in their very profitable and extremely efficient 777 line as their best people are switched to fixing the 787.

  21. Charlie Clark Silver badge
    Pint

    Ooh new icons!

    Thanks Team Reg

  22. Nordrick Framelhammer
    Megaphone

    Ain't karma a bitch.

    If memory serves me Boeing went on loud mouthed media wankfests saying how good they were and how crap Airbus was due to the delays in getting the A380 production ready.

    I do not seem to hear Airbus going on a loud mouthed media wankfest now that Boeing have done a faceplant with their new product.

    And yes, the Boeing fanbois are conspicuous by theior absence.

    And being an IT geek, I do not use a product until it has been given a good shakedown. Now that the A380 has been in service for a while it seems to be a stable, reliable platform so I will fly in it. I'll leave the first flight crap to those out there that make up for their small wedding tackle by waving their ego's around instead.

  23. tony
    WTF?

    Wow...

    airbus & boeing fanboys...

    How do you decide which 'team' you're in?

    What do you do if the airline company changes the type of plane used in the flight after you've booked?

    Do sheiks class themselves as 'format neutral'?

  24. TeeCee Gold badge
    Coat

    Translation service:

    The TeeCee Boeing PR translation service thunders into life and renders:

    "Consideration was given to a temporary solution that would allow us to fly as scheduled, but we ultimately concluded that the right thing was to develop, design, test and incorporate a permanent modification to the localized area requiring reinforcement."

    as:

    "We were going to slap some gaffer tape over it and hope it held, but we couldn't get it to stick so we're having to pop-rivet on a patch and cover it with filler."

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    Is it just me or...

    .. it looks like that ANA jet logo says ANAL....?

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Could be worse...

    ...someone might have mentioned the 30 minutes it takes to boot the integrated avionics system.

    Seriously. And before anyone thinks that's normal for this kind of thing, it isn't. Could be something to do with the sheer number of systems in there (350+?).

    This might make cycling things in-flight 'interesting' even with the redundant failover. Can't think of anyone yet who plans to go on one of these things, especially the people working on it...

  27. Dr Patrick J R Harkin
    Paris Hilton

    Mummy?

    Why has that plane got "ANAL" written on it?

  28. Darkside
    Pint

    Nightmare, then?

    Dream seems to have gone pear-shaped.

    They're right to delay, of course. There *are* unproductive tests and even counterproductive tests (the A330 had one) where you have to replace the test aircraft and find more test pilots.

  29. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Could be worse...

    Could be DeHavilland Comet bad.

    That was out of service for four years between the disasters of the Comet 1 and the roll-out of the incredibly awesome, but far-too-late Comet 4.

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