Thursday, July 30, 2009

New Boeing 787 Wing Problems. Anybody remember the SST?

Pictures: 2707 mockup with fixed wing before cancellation, original sonic canary with swing wings that won over lockheed.

Here's the start of the article on new 787 problems:

Boeing 787 wing flaw extends inside plane
The wing damage that grounded Boeing's new composite plastic 787 Dreamliner occurred under less stress and is more extensive than previously reported.

By Dominic Gates
Archive Boeing doesn't know yet how long 787 fix will take

The wing damage that grounded Boeing's new composite 787 Dreamliner occurred under less stress than previously reported — and is more extensive.
An engineer familiar with the details said the damage happened when the stress on the wings was well below the load the wings must bear to be federally certified to carry passengers.
In addition, information obtained independently and confirmed by a second engineer familiar with the problem shows the damage occurred on both sides of the wing-body join — that is, on the outer wing as well as inside the fuselage...

Here's my two cents as a boeing boomer that is in software today...

Ok, who remembers the 2707 swing-wing SST, the airplane that almost ate Seattle? It was a wonderful innovative device, a moving wing that won over the fixed-wing Lockheed design, it would save weight they said. Then they made it fold into a delta like the near-failed F-111,then they added the canard, then by the time they were crossing the Ts and dotting the Is they figured it couldn't carry enough fuel to fly farther than Portland, and they had to SCRAP THE ENTIRE WING. They switched to a fixed wing, just like the L-2000, but with a tail. By that time, the Euro Concord flew, and congress killed the entire idea. Any wonder there's no sign of the Boeing SST at either Seattle's museum of flight or the Future of Flight museum in Everett? (BTW, the SST is why we hadthe "supersonics" basketball team, also just a memory, and Rockwell's B-1 figured out how to make a big swing wing work) In the old days a"prototype" was a one-off plane they built to prove the concepts worked before tooling up to build lots of them. And now they've already built 10 before they tested the first one??? Wow.

The comments aren't too great:

wonder how many "fixes" (a.k.a., high tech duct tape) the company will be able to put on the thing before they lower it's fuel economy. I think they'd have been smarter to bring back an upgraded 757 or rework the 767. This "new airplane" is looking to be a disaster!

This is becoming very serious. Who knows what will be discovered in flight tests. From what initially looked like a cash cow, the 787 program may be lucky to to break even at all.

Seattle, WA

July 30, 2009 at 7:06 AM
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Boeing senior management should drop everything and rush to Everett. Senior management already dropped everything, especially the ball, by moving to Chicago, that hub of aviation. And for those complaining of outsourcing, reread the article. The problem is in the design and not in the individual outsourced parts. The design of the wing, the heart and soul of any airplane, appears to be flawed. And that is a very serious matter.

Portland, OR

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