November 2005 
Volume 04, Issue 7 
Commercial Airplanes

Road map to the future

Road map to the futureLooking at a "map" that traces all the work done to ensure each Boeing 737 airplane is equipped with quality insulation blankets, employees on the 737 Blankets Value Stream Mapping (VSM) team could hardly believe their eyes.

They had not expected the amount of rework required during the process to be so significant. But the paper map they built showed otherwise.

"Seeing on the map for the first time all the places in the blanket installation process where rework is occurring was a shock," said Don Rozsonits, the team's co-leader, at Commercial Airplanes' Renton, Wash., plant. "Laying the process out on paper and seeing that more than a dozen different organizations are affected by the rework had quite an impact."


Teach your customers well

Teach your customers wellWhen ANA (All Nippon Airways) became the launch customer for the 787 Dreamliner, it signed up for a revolutionary airplane that will change the way we experience flight. And as it prepares to bring the Dreamliner into service, it's signing up for a revolutionary partnership that will change the way pilots experience training.

ANA will host the world's first 787 full-flight-training simulator at its Pilot Training Facility at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. But Boeing subsidiary Alteon will own the Dreamliner simulator, develop the training courses and train ANA pilots to fly the 787.

That's a change of pace from how crews were trained when Boeing has previously introduced new airplanes. Customers would send a small number of flight crews to Seattle for training. These would then head back to their airlines and train their own flight crews. "But airlines began to decide that they didn't want to be in the business of training pilots any more," said Alteon President Pat Gaines. "They wanted to be in the business of flying passengers and cargo."


Firm, toned and taut

Firm, toned and tautBoeing reached firm configuration of the 787 Dreamliner on Sept. 15, marking the end of the airplane's joint development phase.

"Firm configuration means the airplane's structural, propulsion and systems architectures are firm. They are not changing," said Mike Bair, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "This allows us and our partners to proceed with detailed design—down to the smallest parts and final composite ply layouts—with great confidence."


A special flight in China

A special flight in ChinaWhen chief 747 test pilot Joe MacDonald took the controls of the newly converted Cathay Pacific Airways 747-400 freighter and ferried the aircraft from Xiamen, China, to Hong Kong on Oct. 5, it marked a milestone: It was the first flight of the prototype airplane in the Boeing Converted Freighter program.

The program, managed by Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, helps customers enhance the value of their existing 747 fleets by converting passenger airplanes to freighters, using the expertise of the original equipment manufacturer. Touch labor is provided by supplier-partner Taikoo (Xiamen) Aircraft Engineering (TAECO).

Another milestone is in the making on the ground in Hong Kong: The entire flight-test process required to earn FAA certification on the Cathay Pacific Airways airplane will be conducted there.



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