Volume 04, Issue 6
All decked out
The challenge before the team designing the flight deck for the all-new Boeing 787 Dreamliner seemed formidable: Introduce new technologies to help pilots, but maintain significant operational commonality with the popular Boeing 777. Of course, whatever they came up with also had to meet stringent weight and cost targets.
After five years of work—beginning with the Sonic Cruiser proposal that preceded the 787—the team unveiled its new design to customers and pilots in late August. After six hours of briefings on the 787, its features and technologies, the gathering got to participate in the first public viewing of the new design.
The room erupted first with "ooos" and "ahhs" and then applause.
Going—but far from gone
The final 717 makes its way this month through preliminary production, en route to completion in May 2006. But if not for unconventional action at the program's outset, the economical airplane might never have been. With steadfast resolve, the 717 team twice reinvented its business model—and the results just might look familiar.
Current demand for jets in the 100-seat category won't support continued production, but the airplane has been highly profitable for its operators. Developed by McDonnell Douglas as the MD-95 and renamed 717 after the merger with Boeing in 1997, the airplane was a low-cost concept modeled after the company's successful DC-9.
The collection of World War II–era buildings that make up the Hawker de Havilland facility in Melbourne, Australia, belie the fact that there's cutting-edge research and manufacturing going on inside. HdH, a Boeing subsidiary since 2000, continuously is building on a 75-year history that includes the heritage of aviation companies such as Commonwealth Aircraft Corp. and Government Aircraft Factories and contract wins from the Mosquito bomber to the F/A-18 and the Boeing 737, 747, 757 and 777.
Further adding to its reputation, Hawker de Havilland has been selected to provide the composite wing moveable trailing edge components for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The package consists of the aileron and flaperon and its associated hinged panels, the inboard and outboard flaps, the seven spoilers and all the fairings.
'Can-Do' crew does it again
The 353 employees at the Boeing Fabrication facility in Salt Lake City are doing it again—a complete makeover of how they work together. Their ability to take on change and make it work for them has earned them a nickname—the "Can-Do Crew."
The Crew thrives on challenge. After their previous job of assembling MD80/90 fuselages and MD-11 bulkheads and subassemblies ended when Boeing discontinued the lines in 1998, they transformed themselves within six months into a fabrication organization specializing in manufacturing emergent-production and out-of-production spare parts.
Continuing that momentum, the Crew now is focusing on continuous improvements for the entire factory.
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