CSeries Powers On, Compresses Schedule: Bombardier is racing toward its first flight. The company powered on the CS100 Flight Test Vehicle 1 yesterday and Jon Ostrower had this article about BBD compressing the schedule to stay on track for launching the CS300. Static testing of the wing has been completed.
Next phase for 787: With yesterday’s successful test flight of the 787, Boeing is ready to move on to the final series of tests to return the aircraft to service. The Wall Street Journal reports that the new battery containment system will be tested once again by pushing the battery to destruction. Boeing hopes to get the airplanes back in the air by May 1.
The National Transportation Safety Board will hold public hearings April 21-22.
A320neo vs 737 MAX: Following the recent round of orders, Airbus now has a 65% market share for its neo vs Boeing’s 35% share for the MAX.
First vs Business: Here’s a piece we did for CNN International on the merits of First vs Business Class.
Herb and Lamar would roll over: Southwest Airlines finally acknowledged what we’ve been whinging on about for years: it’s not the airline of Herb Kelleher of Lamar Muse any more. We’ve written many times that this “legacy LCC” drifted away from its low cost model, its focus on simplicity and its point-to-point strategy in a series of steps. It took the mainstream media a long time to catch up to what we wrote so long ago.
Post-SPEEA Vote: The ratification of the contract offer by Boeing by the SPEEA technical workers is welcome news. It gives Boeing and its stakeholders certainty at a time when the 787 issues remain outstanding and the developmental programs of the 777X, the 787-9 and 10, the 737 MAX and the KC-46A are at important stages. Although SPEEA took a loss over the pension issue, the union was able to extend the previous contract provisions over economic issues for another four years. Call this a draw for the two sides.
LionAir and RyanAir: On Monday Airbus announced an order for 234 A320ceo/neo family members from LionAir, previously an all-Boeing customer. Today Boeing announced an order for 175 737-800s from RyanAir, an exclusive Boeing customer. There were no MAXes in the order, however. RyanAir CEO Michael O’Leary has not been a fan of the re-engined 737.
ANA skeptical of 787 timeline: Reuters has an interview with All Nippon Airways in which it expresses some skepticism about the Boeing timeline of returning the 787 to service within weeks. ANA calls this a “best case” scenario.
On the other hand, LOT, which took the 787 out of its schedule through September, now says the airplanes could be back in service by summer.
Vote in the Polls: All Nippon Airlines has begun its effort to rebuild the 787 brand flying in its colors. Boeing began its effort last week. Is the view of the 787 turning? If you haven’t already done so, please be sure to vote in these polls (scroll down after clicking the link).
Paine Field Pleads its Case: Targeted for closure in Sequester, with a decision to be announced this week, the director of Everett Paine Field pleaded his case to remain open in this letter: FAA Tower Closure – Paine Field (1).
Well wishes: Daniel Tsang, founder of Aspire Aviation, has been hospitalized in Sydney, Australia, with an unknown ailment first thought to be measles but it’s not. Well wishes to him.
Boeing Monday (Feb. 18) made available two battery diagrams for the 787 lithium-ion batteries.
- The New York Times has a Reuters article revealing the second battery on the ANA 787 had some swelling.
- Boeing was seeking extended ETOPS prior to the incidents, according to this article.
- Bloomberg News has this long article on the prospect of a SPEEA strike vote tonight.
- Where’s Waldo is a famous game. Where are the grounded 787s? See here to find out.
Aviation Author and Boeing: Clive Irving, who wrote a book about the Boeing 747 and who is a prolific aviation writer, has a long piece about his experiences with Boeing over several decades. This thing-piece laments the changes to Boeing that occurred since the 1997 merger with McDonnell Douglas. It’s interesting perspective.
787 Grounding Timeline: A professor with MIT suggested the Boeing 787 could be grounded for a year. A 787 operator we spoke with says, “that’s bullshit.” Although the operator is as much in the dark as anyone else as to the cause of the JAL fire and the ANA smoking battery, his belief is that the airplanes could return to service as early as sometime next month. But he doesn’t really know.
Returning the 787 to service may be a bit of a problem for the FAA. It won’t do so until it is 1,000% assured the airplane is safe. We shuddered at the statement. We’re old enough to remember the disastrous 1972 presidential campaign of Sen. George McGovern (D-SD) against Richard Nixon. McGovern picked Missouri Sen. Thomas Eagleton as his VP. Within days, it was revealed that Eagleton had suffered depression and underwent electroshock treatment.
McGovern said he was 1,000% in support of Eagleton. Days later, he dumped Eagleton and replaced him with Sargent Shriver. McGovern lost in a landslide.
Tell us how anything can be viewed as “1,000%” safe, or “1,000%” anything. We spoke with an engineer for a supplier on the 787, who told us that in engineering terms, they calculate the odds of something happening in some gobbledygook (to us) of something like one in 10th to the minus ninth power, or some such thing we haven’t a clue what it means–except that the odds against something happening are pretty darn long.
(If the preceding paragraph seems muddled, welcome to the club.)
Having stated that the 787 won’t be returned to service until the FAA is 1,000% sure it’s safe, how, then, can this silly thing be fulfilled? The answer, of course, is that it can’t, but the hyperbolic statement was made. Boeing, according to our information, is working on (and proposed) a series of interim steps to return the airplane to service, including inspections and checklists. Initially, we’re told, the FAA rejected this. Can Boeing come up with something acceptable? This remains to be seen. But more to the point, has the FAA painted itself into a corner?
Well, is this a government operation or is the Pope Catholic, or what? While we think that after the back-to-back battery incidents putting the 787 on the ground was prudent, we hope scientific reasoning rather than face-saving actions prevail going forward.
Remaking American Airlines: We’ve seen the new livery for American (and nobody we’ve talked to likes the tail). American said it is also doing new uniforms. As we review the news for Odds and Ends, we saw a headline, “American Airlines to Outfit Flight Attendants with Designer Uniforms.” There was a thumbnail photo to the left, too small for detail but clearly this was no F/A uniform we’d ever seen before. Holy cow, we thought. Then we enlarged it:
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is holding a press briefing at 230 pm (ET) today. We’ll have a running synopsis of it right here.
Deborah Hersman, Chair of NTSB
- Expectation in aviation is never experience a fire on an aircraft. In two weeks time saw two battery events and groundings.
- Significance of these events can’t be overstated.
- Been working since Jan. 7 to understand what happened and why
- Lithium ion battery experienced thermal runaway, short circuits and a fire.
- Still trying to find out why.
- 10:49 to 12:15 fire fighters fought the JAL blaze.
- Fire confined to an area within 20 inches on the battery.
- The batteries are unique to the Boeing 787.
- Read more…