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From: Eric1/29/2016 1:06:02 PM
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Boeing’s 737 MAX takes off on first flight

Originally published January 29, 2016 at 9:48 am Updated January 29, 2016 at 9:50 am

Latest Renton-built version of Boeing’s narrowbody jet carries with it the company’s hope for staying competitive with Airbus in the short-haul market .

By Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Just over seven weeks after it rolled out of the paint hangar, Boeing’s first 737 MAX — the “Spirit of Renton” — flew for the first time Friday, taking off from its namesake city at 9:48 a.m.

It carried Boeing’s hope and ambition to stay competitive against Airbus for the next decade in the bread-and-butter short-haul airliner market.

The jet is set to land about two and a half hours later at Boeing Field.

The latest — and surely the final — revamp of Boeing’s stalwart domestic 737 narrowbody jet that first flew in 1967, the MAX comes in three sizes, seating 126 to 220 passengers.

Its chief distinguishing feature is the pair of much larger engines. These have a fan diameter of 69.4 inches compared to the 61-inch diameter fan on the current 737.

With these latest LEAP engines from CFM International, along with improved aerodynamics — including new split wingtips — Boeing says the MAX design is 14 percent more fuel efficient than today’s 737.

The first flight begins more than a year of flight tests to achieve certification of the airplane by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and then delivery of the first jet to Southwest Airlines in the third quarter of 2017.

Heated competition The MAX’s first flight comes just nine days after the first delivery of the rival Airbus A320neo to German carrier Lufthansa, underlining the fact that development of the Boeing jet is running more than 18 months behind its competition.

In addition to that head start, Airbus’s neo has consistently won more orders than Boeing‘s MAX, opening up a widening advantage for the European jetmaker in this market segment.

The current model 737s and A320s divide the market roughly 50/50. But at the beginning of this year, Airbus had firm orders for 4,471 neos compared with Boeing’s orders for 3,072 MAXs — a 59/41 market split.

Most of the Airbus advantage comes from the largest model of its neo family, the A321neo, which has more than 1,000 orders. The corresponding 737 MAX 9, which has just over 200 orders, simply cannot match that plane’s performance.

While that’s a big win for Airbus, the majority of orders are for the smaller Airbus A320neo or the Boeing 737 MAX 8 models, which is the part of the market that will ultimately determine the success of the MAX.

There, Boeing claims that it maintains a fuel-efficiency advantage on a per-seat basis over Airbus.

Future sales of the MAX will rest heavily on whether the flight tests in the coming year confirm Boeing’s fuel efficiency promise.

Renton factory The MAX also presents a manufacturing challenge, for which Boeing has marshaled impressive resources.

The Renton final assembly plant where the 737s are built has undergone a dramatic makeover aimed at lowering the cost and quickening the pace of production.

Boeing has automated the fabrication of the 737 wings by installing fastening machines designed by Mukilteo-based engineering firm Electroimpact and has shifted the fuselage installation process to a moving line.

At the same time, it has redesigned fixtures and moved equipment to make room for a third final assembly line that will be dedicated to production of the MAX.

So even as the early MAXs are built, Boeing will simultaneously raise 737 production from today’s rate of 42 jets per month to 47 per month next year, to 52 per month in 2018, and to 57 per month in 2019.

By then, most of the 737s coming out of Renton should be MAXs.

If Boeing is to maintain the 737 as a reliable cash generator, it must smoothly implement the transition to the MAX at these record high production levels.

On Thursday, Boeing delivered the 8,888th 737 to Xiamen Airlines of China — where the number 8 is considered lucky because it sounds similar to the Chinese word that means “prosperity.”

Soaring past any target a Boeing sales executive might have dreamed of in 1967, the MAX is set to to take future 737 deliveries well past the 12,000 mark.

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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From: Eric2/27/2016 10:28:33 AM
1 Recommendation   of 3293
 
Original Boeing 727 prepares for its final takeoff

Originally published February 26, 2016 at 6:25 pm Updated February 26, 2016 at 11:01 pm


Bob Bogash has spent more than two decades working to restore the first Boeing 727, which will be displayed at the Museum of Flight. Bogash, 71, a retired Boeing engineer, is seen in the cockpit, which was designed for a pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

The first Boeing 727 — a model that became one of the company’s top-selling planes of all time — will take to the skies one last time after a 25-year restoration effort. It’s bound for its final home, the Museum of Flight.

Bob Bogash hopes that next week a dream he’s pursued for more than a quarter of a century will materialize: to see the first Boeing 727 — a model that became one of the airplane-maker’s top-selling planes of all time — take to the skies one last time. Bogash, a 71-year-old former Boeing engineer, has dedicated his post-retirement life to finding and restoring Boeing airplanes for the Museum of Flight.

“My wife calls (historic airplanes) my mistresses,” he said. “They have all the key characteristics of a mistress: good-looking, very demanding, and they cost a lot of money.”

Unlike other restored planes, the 727 was rebuilt solely to fly one last time. The plane is tentatively scheduled to take its final flight Wednesday — if weather permits — around 10 a.m. from Paine Field in Everett, where it has been sitting for the last 25 years, to Boeing Field.

“The airplane’s been sleeping, but we’ve woken her up and now she’s alive again,” Bogash said.


The first Boeing 727 will fly next week from Paine Field to Boeing Field, from where it go on display at the Museum of Flight. (Steve Ringman/The Seattle Times)

The final ride will likely last less than 15 minutes.

Most restored planes lack the mechanical guts to ever fly again, but Bogash said he convinced the museum that flying it from the restoration center in Everett would be cheaper than dismantling it and sending it via truck.

The plane was delivered to United Airlines in 1964 and was in service until 1991, when the airline donated the aircraft to the Museum of Flight.

For the last two decades, dozens of volunteers led by Bogash have been working to restore the plane. FedEx, one of the restoration’s sponsors, donated new engines.

United paid close to $4.4 million for the line’s prototype, which generated more than $300 million for the airline and carried close to 3 million passengers in its 27-year career, according to the museum.

Bogash said the restoration was a multimillion-dollar effort, but much of that came through in-kind donations and volunteer hours. He estimated the actual dollar amount spent was less than half a million.

Bogash recalls the day in 1984 when he landed at O’Hare Airport in Chicago and spotted the original 727 as his plane taxied on the runway. That gave him the idea of asking United Airlines to donate the plane once it was retired, and the airline agreed.

Restored planes are like time capsules, said Dan Hagedorn, the Museum of Flight’s curator.

The original 727 feels less like an antique than like a home that was once state-of-the-art, but hasn’t been updated in a while. Hagedorn compares it to visiting a grandmother, and Hagedorn joked that, like an aged grandmother, it carries a “peculiar smell.”

The restorers wanted to keep the plane in its original condition as of when it went out of service. Its seats and wall panels sport brown upholstery with a multicolored pattern.

The overhead bins would be unable to accommodate many of today’s carry-on suitcases. Passengers of yesteryear used those bins for smaller items like purses and hat boxes, Hagedorn said. Ashtrays tucked into the armrests add to the feeling of a different era.


The original Boeing 727 First flight: 1963

Operator: United Airlines

Dimensions: 133 feet 2 inches long, wingspan of 108 feet

Top speed: 632 miles per hour

Passengers: Capacity of about 130; the plane carried nearly 3 million passengers during 27 years in service.

Total 727s produced: 1,832 at the Renton plant from 1962 to 1984.

Sources: Boeing, Museum of Flight

The cockpit was designed for a three-person flight crew: pilot, co-pilot and flight engineer, that latter role one that has since mostly disappeared.

Boeing introduced the 727 at a time when airline passengers flew either on large jets or smaller propeller planes. Large jets, like Boeing’s 707, could land only at major airports, which made it harder for airlines to service routes between midsize cities.

Enter the sleek, midsize 727, which brought the style, comfort and speed of a jet and could utilize shorter runways.

“There was lots of controversy about allowing jets onto smaller airports,” Bogash said.

The 727 won that battle, and the plane helped Boeing’s commercial business surge. It was the first Boeing plane to sell more than 1,000 units. Eventually more than 1,800 were produced in Renton.

“When Boeing came out with this airplane, it was a big leap forward,” Bogash said. The success of the plane also helped change the course of passenger air travel.

“What a transformation. It was like going to the moon ­— it was that different for the traveling public,” Hagedorn said of the travel experience on a 727 versus the smaller planes that were common at the time.

It’s also remarkable, he said, that a passenger jet like the 727 was developed within six decades after the Wright Brothers first took to the skies in wooden planes.

“In 60 years, we came this far,” he said.

The museum has planned departure and arrival ceremonies for celebrants at both ends of the 727’s final flight next week.

The Museum of Flight will park the plane outside until the fall, when it will move into the Aviation Pavilion, a 140,000-square-foot facility that will house about 20 restored aircraft, including the first 737 and first 747.

Starting Wednesday, the public will be able to view the plane and tour the interior on a limited basis.

Restoring aircraft is expensive, and the artifacts take up a lot more space than other museum pieces, but preserving planes is an important endeavor, Hagedorn said.

“In 1,000 years,” he said, “we’ll be remembered for being the first humans to leave the surface of the planet and conquer flight.

“This time machine shows how we did that. It documents human achievement.”

seattletimes.com

Blanca Torres: 206-464-2550 or btorres@seattletimes.com

My comments:

I was a young kid in grade school when my dad took me and my brother out to Renton for that first flight.

It's amazing that 53 years ago that the original 727 has survived to come back full circle to end up near where it was built in Renton. A stone's throw away to end up at Boeing Field at The Museum of Flight.

Eric

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From: JakeStraw9/13/2016 9:31:20 AM
   of 3293
 
Boeing: China Will Be First $1 Trillion Aviation Market
investors.com

"As China transitions to a more consumer-based economy, aviation will play a key role in its economic development," Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a release. "Because travel and transportation are key services, we expect to see passenger traffic grow 6.4% annually in China over the next 20 years."

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From: Eric12/27/2016 1:58:08 PM
   of 3293
 
Boeing reinvents the 777 assembly line while production cranks on

Originally published December 27, 2016 at 6:00 am Updated December 26, 2016 at 10:13 pm


Dang Vo, in blue at left, and other machinists build a 777 wing at Everett’s final assembly line. The line is being re-configured in preparation for 777X. The wings are propped up on hydraulic lifts to make construction more ergonomic for the workers. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

To prepare for the new 777X, Boeing is radically retooling major pieces of the assembly process for its big widebody 777. Despite a slowdown in the production rate, it can’t stop the assembly line, so adding and subtracting equipment requires a complex choreography.


By
Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

Boeing is radically revamping how it will build the 777 widebody jet — a plane that still earns it vital profits despite a slowdown in sales and production rate, so it can’t afford to stop the factory while it retools.

An exclusive tour of the 777 line this month revealed a complicated manufacturing dance under way to solve this logistical puzzle. The remodelspansthree assembly bays inside the giant factory and will replace massive, decades-old fixtures with new, more flexible equipment.

Jason Clark, vice president of 777 operations, brimmed with energy as he described the chess-like moves he’s making around the assembly line that churns out the current 777, spurred by the need to get ready for the forthcoming 777X model.

So wide-ranging is the revamp that in one assembly bay, construction crews are busy digging up the old concrete floor and installing systems underneath a new 6-foot slab.

Clark pointed to the remaining patch of newly uncovered soil, where engineers had unearthed anchor beams from the static-test airplane on the original 747 jumbo jet.

“That dirt hasn’t seen the light of day since 1968,” he said.

Remodeling for bigger wing

In about a year, Boeing will begin building the first 777X, which has a carbon-fiber composite wing. Longer and a different shape from the current jet’s metal wing, that wing won’t fit on the fixture that joins the metal wing to the jet’s body.

So Clark’s engineers are setting up and testing new, flexible equipment that can handle any wing size or shape, progressively removing the old equipment, then shifting the new into the spaces vacated by the old.

Despite the looming production-rate cut next summer, all this extra work should stave off some of the job losses on the 777.

Hidden behind the widebody-jet plant’s giant doors is a frenzy of manufacturing innovation, encompassing four major projects:

• A new way to complete 777 metal wings.

• A new flexible system for joining the wings to the fuselage body.

• A planned new, temporary 777X final-assembly line.

• And an entirely new, highly automated system — designed and built by Mukilteo-based engineering firm Electroimpact — for assembling the 777X’s carbon-fiber wings.

This last piece is almost a replica of the composite-wing assembly setup Airbus has in its wing plant in Broughton, Wales.

“We’re very competitive with Airbus,” said Clark. “But there’s just things in industry where it makes sense to be common.”

The impressive restructuring of 777 final assembly is separate from the setup of the adjacent $1 billion plant where Boeing will fabricate the 777X’s carbon-fiber wings, which give the new plane a wingspan nearly 23 feet longer than the current model.

Meanwhile, Boeing is also working on the not-yet-smooth introduction of a new robotic method to assemble the 777 fuselages in another building on the site.

Intricate chess game

Though designed to accommodate the 777X and its giant carbon-fiber wings, the new production system is being introduced now for the current 777 with metal wings in order to fix any bugs in advance of the new jet’s debut.

About 80 to 100 current-model 777s will be built on the new system before the first 777X shows up, Clark said.

In the first piece of the puzzle, the metal wings are already being completed in a totally new way.

Mechanics formerly finished the wings by installing the control surfaces and engine pylons while perched high on the slanted deck of a monumental fixture where the wings are joined to the center-fuselage section.

This month, mechanics began completing the wings at ground level, able to walk around the 106-foot-long structure as it rests on hydraulic jacks that raise or lower it to provide access.

The wings now arrive complete and “fully stuffed” with all systems for joining to the center-fuselage section in that big monumental wing-to-body join fixture.

And already the next phase of the 777 plan is under test in the adjoining bay that formerly housed the extra “surge” line for the 787 Dreamliner: a new way of doing the wing-to-body join.

Boeing is testing a system with the completed wings each supported by three giant jacks. In computer-controlled unison, these move the wings along the floor into the attachment position next to the center-fuselage section, which sits on its own jack.

Once both wings are joined to the fuselage, the center jack is withdrawn, and the whole thing is supported only by the six jacks under the two wings.

This center-fuselage-with-wings section then pulses forward along the ground to the next station in final assembly, the jacks again moving the whole thing in unison.

Just before the holiday break, a faded center fuselage — retrieved from an old Japan Airlines 777 in a desert scrapyard — sat atop its jack for tests of this system.

Graffiti were scrawled in large, crudely painted letters across its side: “Not a production part” — as if there were any doubt.


Jason Clark is vice president of Boeing 777 and 777X operations. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

Clark said his team is ready to bring in a wing and do a check that everything fits during the Christmas production break.

In January, said Clark, “We’re going to actually join the wing to an airplane.”

When that system is perfected, able to handle any size or shape of wing, in about 18 months the old wing-body join fixture will be dismantled and torn out, Clark said.

Beyond the new wing-support jacks in this same bay, where the floor is being dug up, is where Boeing will put an initial 777X final-assembly line for production of the first couple of dozen aircraft.

Clark said this initial low-rate production line will be up and running in about a year. It will be used to get 777X assembly running smoothly, without slowing down production of the current 777.

By 2020, this temporary line will close, and both models will go down the main 777 line, complete with its new wing-to-body join system.

Imitating Airbus

When the temporary line is scrapped, that same bay is earmarked for the most dramatic innovation in the building: the plan to assemble the jet’s carbon-fiber wings.

But because that bay is full until then, Boeing is setting up the composite wing-assembly equipment in another temporary location, taking up 150,000 square feet one more bay over.


These large blue jacks known as “crawlers” are connected to a computer that will carry the 777 wing to the fuselage to be attached. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

From a balcony there, the four Electroimpact automated wing-assembly stations look eerily similar to the Airbus A350 composite-wing-assembly setup, also designed by Electroimpact.

Just as in Wales, the wing skin panels, spars and ribs are positioned and slid into a drilling and fastening cell where an Electroimpact robotic machine suspended from a gantry moves across the wing, fastening it together.

“The industry is starting to centralize around what’s the best technology,” Clark said, comparing the convergence to what happened earlier in the auto industry.

“You can walk into a BMW plant in Munich or a Ford plant in Detroit, and the production systems are very similar,” said Clark. “A novice couldn’t tell the difference.”

One difference from the Airbus system, he said, is Electroimpact has designed it to be movable. It’s bolted to the floor but will be uprooted in 2020 and moved to the bay where that 1968 dirt is being dug.

Renton revamp

Offering grounds for optimism that this 777 transformation will go well, Boeing has already successfully completed a similarly bold remake of the 737 production system in Renton to prepare for the 737 MAX, which should deliver ahead of schedule next summer.

Yet there’s also the less successful introduction of robotic assembly of the 777 metal fuselage in a building next to the main Everett assembly plant.

Teething problems there have resulted in the robots damaging irreparably at least one fuselage panel, and progress in getting the system up to production rate has been slow.

However, Clark said the team has learned from each glitch and made adjustments.

“We’re not completely out of the woods yet,” he acknowledged.

But he expects that in the first half of 2017, the new system will be rolling out 777 forward- and mid-fuselage sections at full rate, with aft-fuselage sections to follow by year end.

“The 777X gets the benefit of all that learning,” Clark said.

seattletimes.com

Dominic Gates: 206-464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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From: JakeStraw2/22/2017 12:13:38 PM
   of 3293
 
Boeing wants to turn satellites into a cheaper, highly-automated business
techcrunch.com

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To: JakeStraw who wrote (3275)4/13/2017 1:51:31 PM
From: Eric
   of 3293
 
Boeing’s 737 MAX 9 ready for first flight Thursday

Taking off right now!

seattletimes.com

Live video streaming:

boeing.com

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From: alwaysbmiki4/21/2017 11:10:03 PM
   of 3293
 

Stock splits never really mean much short term

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From: JakeStraw7/14/2017 12:10:35 PM
   of 3293
 
Boeing Company was upgraded by analysts at J P Morgan Chase & Co from a "neutral" rating to an "overweight" rating. They now have a $240.00 price target on the stock.

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From: Mark Benson7/25/2017 8:25:28 AM
   of 3293
 

$UTX United Technologies Earnings AlphaGraphic: Q2 2017 Highlights


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From: Eric9/30/2017 11:40:11 AM
   of 3293
 
  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business
  • Travel

  • Southwest Airlines sends oldest 737s to graveyard as MAX joins flee

    Originally published September 29, 2017 at 6:36 pm Updated September 29, 2017 at 7:51 pm

    The changeover will usher in the latest fresh start for Boeing’s bread-and-butter passenger plane, extending Southwest’s almost 50-year dedication to the 737 model.

    By
    Mary Schlangenstein
    Bloomberg News

    Southwest Airlines is set to pull off an aviation high-wire act this weekend as it sends 30 of its oldest planes to a desert graveyard just 24 hours before launching the newest version of its staple 737 jetliner.

    The changeover will usher in the latest fresh start for Boeing’s bread-and-butter passenger plane, extending Southwest’s almost 50-year dedication to the 737 model. Saying goodbye to the old jets will reduce maintenance and fuel costs and improve on-time performance, while the new, bigger 737 MAX offers more advanced technology and design.

    For the transition to be a success, the airline must execute a carefully choreographed series of flights to move the older planes out of the fleet and bring in nine MAX aircraft without creating delays or disruptions. Planning for the shift — its biggest such move ever — began 16 months ago and requires the coordination of flight crews, dispatchers, network planners, crew schedulers and technical operations teams.

    The last of Southwest’s 737-300s, dubbed Classics, were making their final flights in the airline’s domestic system Friday. By the end of Saturday, they’ll all be parked at an aircraft graveyard in Victorville, California, a desert town northwest of Los Angeles.

    On Sunday, nine MAX jetliners will start service from six different airports, with the first flying the “Texas Triangle” of Dallas-Houston-San Antonio that made up Southwest’s original routes in 1971. Southwest will add five more MAX planes to its fleet before year end, and deploy used 737-700s it acquired to help fill any remaining gaps in its schedule.

    If all goes well, passengers won’t even notice a difference, said Jon Stephens, director of fleet transactions at the Dallas-based carrier. The transition was timed to happen after Labor Day, when travel demand dips.

    seattletimes.com

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