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From: Eric9/30/2017 11:40:11 AM
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  • 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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    Read more about Boeing & Aerospace

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    From: JakeStraw10/5/2017 12:20:53 PM
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    Boeing to acquire Aurora Flight Sciences in bet on autonomous flight
    techcrunch.com

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    From: Eric10/5/2017 7:36:36 PM
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  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business

  • Boeing buys maker of drones and advanced robotic systems

    Originally published October 5, 2017 at 8:57 am Updated October 5, 2017 at 1:31 pm


    Centaur is an experimental aircraft developed by Aurora Flight Sciences that can be flown with or without a pilot. Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences, a developer of autonomous aerial drones and advanced robotic systems, and headquartered in Manassas, Va. (Aurora Flight Sciences)

    Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences of Virginia, a specialist in developing innovative aerial drones and advanced robotic systems.



    By
    Dominic Gates
    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    Boeing is acquiring Aurora Flight Sciences, a developer of autonomous aerial drones and advanced robotic systems that has worked for the Pentagon as well as for Uber.

    The financial terms were not disclosed.

    Greg Hyslop, chief technology officer and senior vice president of Boeing Engineering, Test & Technology, said the acquisition “will advance the development of autonomy for our commercial and military systems.”

    Aurora will help Boeing stay in the forefront of advanced robotic technologies for future aircraft, unmanned or optionally manned, and other aerospace applications, Hyslop said in a teleconference call.

    “The world is going to be about hybrid-electric airplanes, or all-electric airplanes, and … more autonomy, and how artificial intelligence enables that,” Hyslop said. “We don’t know what that market is going to look like in the future, but as it forms, we want to be there and we want to lead.”

    Aurora founder and chief executive John Langford said joining Boeing will allow his team to take “the cutting edge R&D we’ve been doing over the years in a whole range of areas — autonomy, electric propulsion, very long endurance flight — and apply it with the strength of the world’s leading aerospace company to get it out into the world market.”

    “The marriage of robotics and aeronautics is really at the heart of what Aurora is involved in,” Langford said.

    Headquartered in Manassas, Va., Aurora has more than 550 employees. It has a research-and-development center near MIT in Cambridge, Mass., and manufacturing facilities in Bridgeport, W. Va., and Columbus, Miss.

    One Aurora project, called Centaur, installed an autonomous piloting system on a small Diamond Twin Star plane, turning it into an aircraft that can fly with or without a pilot.


    Orion, developed by Aurora Flight Sciences, set the world endurance record for a remotely controlled drone, staying aloft for more than three days. Boeing is acquiring Aurora, a developer of autonomous aerial drones and advanced robotic systems and headquartered in Manassas, Va. (Aurora Flight Sciences)


    Another project, Orion, set the world endurance record for a remotely controlled drone, staying aloft for more than three days.

    Aurora also works on military projects. For the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) it has developed a vertical takeoff and landing experimental vehicle that uses multiple hybrid-electric-powered ducted fans and can both hover and fly forward at high speed.

    And in April, spinning off that DARPA project, the car ridesharing company Uber selected Aurora as a partner to develop electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft for its proposed pilotless air-taxi network.

    Aurora has flown a quarter-scale prototype of the aircraft it is developing for Uber.

    “It’s not like there are no humans involved,” Langford said, saying that the concept is for the Uber air taxis in any given city to be monitored and controlled from a network center.

    “There’s no pilot on board, but there are still humans supervising the network,” he said.

    At the Paris Air Show in June, Mike Sinnett, the Boeing vice president responsible for innovative future technologies, said that the jetmaker has begun researching the possibility of full-scale commercial-passenger jets that will fly without pilots — using artificial intelligence guiding automated controls to make decisions in flight.

    Asked if acquiring Aurora is another step in that direction, Hyslop on Thursday cautioned that “there are a lot of tough technical problems that have to be worked before we ever get to the point of pilotless airplanes.”

    He said the nearer-term goal is to create a “robotic co-pilot.” The human pilot will become a manager of the increasingly complex automated-control systems as planes become more electrified, he said.

    Langford called it “a matchup of computers doing what computers are best at and humans doing the things humans are best at.”

    “They may not be sitting in traditional seats, operating traditional-looking controls,” he said. “The computers are augmenting what the humans can do.”

    Boeing has collaborated with Aurora on various experimental projects, not only on aircraft but also on automated manufacturing systems.

    Langford revealed on the teleconference call that about three years ago, Aurora — working both with Boeing and with Boeing’s key supplier of automated manufacturing equipment, Mukilteo-based engineering-design firm Electroimpact — built the first all-composite prototype wing spars for the 777X in its Columbus manufacturing facility.

    The success of that robotic-techology project led to the decision to go with a composite wing on that airplane and allowed Boeing to set up the 777X wing plant in Everett.

    Hyslop said Boeing hopes to use Aurora’s production facilities not only for rapid prototyping of experimental vehicles but also for component manufacturing.

    Aurora has also collaborated with other aerospace companies in both research and manufacturing, including rivals to Boeing.

    At its Bridgeport facility, Aurora partnered with Sikorsky, now part of Lockheed Martin, to develop the CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter for the U.S. Marines. It built the engine nacelles and designed and built the main rotor pylon.

    At its Mississippi facility, Aurora builds the carbon composite horizontal tail of the G500 business jet, manufactured by Gulfstream, a Savannah, Ga.-based subsidiary of General Dynamics.

    Hyslop said Boeing intends to continue such supplier relationships and that partnering with competitors is “not uncommon.”

    Boeing also wants to preserve Aurora’s culture of innovation.

    Langford said Aurora will operate as a separate independent subsidiary within Boeing, retaining its name and branding.

    That approach was successful when Boeing acquired another drone company, Insitu based in Bingen, Klickitat County.

    Even while retaining Aurora’s independent spirit, Langford said, he aims to integrate with Boeing through its engineering-research unit to develop cutting-edge technology that will make its way into Boeing products.

    He said “the goal is to push not only innovation but products into the big production centers” at Boeing, including its Puget Sound-area airplane factories.

    seattletimes.com

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

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    From: Eric10/6/2017 8:07:42 AM
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    More Launch Details About Zunum Aero Electric Hybrid Planes

    Message 31294146

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    From: Eric10/6/2017 3:38:17 PM
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    Do not do this at home!

    (and I'm a FAA Flight Instructor!)

    Eric

    Pilotless airplanes closer with Boeing acquisition


    king5.com

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    From: Eric10/7/2017 9:13:44 AM
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  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business

  • Boeing jet hijacked in 1977 returns home — inside a giant cargo plane

    Originally published October 6, 2017 at 12:49 pm Updated October 6, 2017 at 5:42 pm



    The fuselage and wings of a Boeing 737 were transported in a special frame inside an Antonov An-124 cargo jet from Brazil to Friederichshafen, Germany late last month. The Lufthansa 737-200 was hijacked in 1977 with 86 passengers aboard, and after four days all but the pilot were successfully rescued in Mogadishu, Somalia. The plane was abandoned in Brazil after being decommissioned in 2008, and the German foreign ministry purchased it to be fully restored and placed on permanent display in Friederichshafen’s Dornier Museum. (Achim Mende)

    Fully 40 years after a plane hijacking that shocked Germany, a Boeing 737 finally returned to that nation last month. Getting the dilapidated jet home required taking off the wings and slipping the fuselage into a massive Antonov transporter.



    By
    Dominic Gates
    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    Forty years after a plane hijacking that shocked Germany and gained worldwide attention, a Boeing 737 finally returned to that nation last month.

    The German foreign ministry bought the dilapidated and dirty 737-200 in July for about $24,000 so that it could be restored and put on display as a symbol of a free society, undefeated by terror.

    Former crew members from the 1977 flight joined German government officials and airplane enthusiasts in late September to give an emotional homecoming to the plane.

    Operated by German flag carrier Lufthansa, Flight 181 was hijacked on October 13, 1977 while flying tourists from Palma, Mallorca, to Frankfurt. Four members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine took over the plane and demanded that Germany release prisoners belonging to the allied Red Army Faction, West Germany’s own far-left terrorist group.

    In a four-day ordeal, passengers and crew were forced to travel to Rome, Cyprus, Bahrain, Dubai and Aden before reaching the final destination of Mogadishu, Somalia.

    The terrorists killed the aircraft’s pilot, Jürgen Schumann, while stopped in Aden, a city in present-day Yemen.

    In Mogadishu, a German special forces team stormed the plane, killed three of the hijackers, wounded and captured the fourth, and freed the 86 passengers and the four remaining crew.

    The Boeing 737-200 eventually went back into service and was later sold, ultimately flying for the Brazilian airline TAF Linhas.

    It was decommissioned in 2008, then abandoned at Fortaleza Airport in northeastern Brazil.

    The plane, which had deteriorated over the years, was delivered by air in large pieces back to Germany from Brazil.

    The complete fuselage and wings were separately tucked into a giant Antonov An-124 cargo plane operated by Volga-Dnepr Airlines of Russia.

    Volga-Dnepr’s smaller Ilyushin Il-76 carried the 737’s engines and passenger seats.

    The 737’s final resting place will be an aviation museum in the city of Friedrichshafen.

    seattletimes.com

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

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    From: Eric10/17/2017 9:37:37 AM
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  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business

  • Qantas gets its first 787-9, destined for very long flights

    Originally published October 16, 2017 at 5:15 pmUpdated October 16, 2017 at 6:14 pm


    A giant door opens at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Everett to reveal Qantas’s first 787-9 Dreamliner. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

    Qantas took delivery of its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner at Everett’s Paine Field. It will use the planes to fly the first nonstop routes from Australia to Europe.

    By Dominic Gates
    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    Australian carrier Qantas unveiled its first 787-9 Dreamliner in a ceremony Monday at the Future of Flight aviation center at Paine Field in Everett.

    Qantas will use the long-range jet to change the route structure of its flights to Europe, flying the 787-9 from Perth to London starting next year.

    This will be the first time the continents of Europe and Australia are linked by a nonstop commercial flight. Until now, Qantas has stopped either in Singapore or Dubai en route to London.


    Qantas’ first 787-9 Dreamliner is delivered by Boeing at the Future of Flight Aviation Center in Everett on Monday. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

    More aerospace stories
    • Boeing rivals Airbus, Bombardier join forces on CSeries jet seen as threat to 737 October 16, 2017
    • Monday Memo: Amazon’s HQ2 deadline, new Windows 10 features, aerospace and life science conferences October 16, 2017
    • Surge in drone safety incidents prompts ‘emergency’ action at FAA October 14, 2017
    • Boeing’s Iran deals hang in the balance as Trump condemns nuclear accord October 13, 2017
    seattletimes.com

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

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    From: Eric10/25/2017 8:03:37 AM
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  • Boeing & Aerospace
  • Business

  • Boeing’s Machinists and robots start building first 777X, but challenges remain

    Originally published October 23, 2017 at 7:46 pm Updated October 24, 2017 at 11:16 am


    Operators of an automated fiber-placement machine inspect a wing spar for the 777X flight test on Monday in Everett. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

    Boeing has started production of its next new airplane, the 777X, scheduled to fly in 2019 and enter service in 2020. An executive on Monday called it “a change in the history of how we manufacture” — but the change is proving difficult.


    By
    Dominic Gates
    Seattle Times aerospace reporter


    Deep inside Boeing’s Everett widebody-jet manufacturing complex Monday afternoon, about 300 workers looked on as an orange-and-blue robot lowered its drilling end over a long, U-shaped beam of carbon fiber composite, drilled a hole, then inserted a fastener with a soft drumming rat-ta-tat.

    With that, Boeing began building the first 777X flight test airplane, destined to fly early in 2019.

    The automated technology is such a revolution that Jason Clark, vice president of 777 operations, on Monday called it “a change in the history of how we manufacture.”

    This change is proving difficult. Production of the current model 777 in Everett, which has been radically transformed and automated to accommodate the new 777X version, has run into trouble recently, a Boeing spokeswoman acknowledged in an interview Monday.



    Related story and video
    At Boeing’s 777X wing factory, robots get big jobs

    Still, the day’s milestone attests that the 777X project, central to the future of jet-making in this region, is moving forward.

    To win the 777X for Everett, Washington state agreed to shell out $8.7 billion in tax breaks over 16 years, and the Machinists — after a bitter struggle in the winter of 2013 — had to sign a long-term labor contract that froze their traditional pensions.

    In return for those tax incentives and the labor concessions, the state won the building of a giant plane. The first 777-9X model is nearly 252 feet long, seating 400 to 425 passengers. With a wingspan of 235 feet, it’s so wide the wingtips are designed to fold upward so it will fit at an airport gate.




    Artist’s rendering of the 777X (Boeing)

    The plane, with a metal fuselage and carbon composite plastic wings and tail, will be assembled in the main Everett plant.

    The 777X’s immense composite wings — a scaled-up version of the thin, flexing and air-scything wings on the 787 Dreamliner — are now being fabricated from carbon tape in a giant adjacent building, into which Boeing has poured more than $2 billion of investment in robotic technology.

    What happened Monday was the beginning of the first wing that will fly.

    On any Boeing jet, the long spars that are the front and rear structural beams of the wings are the first parts to be built.

    While each of the 787’s spars, fabricated in Japan, is made in three pieces, Boeing has designed the 777X with the longest single-piece spars ever developed, more than 100 feet long.

    The spar for the right wing of the first flight-test plane, its first fastener installed before the assembled crowd in the spar assembly shop Monday, will now move down a very automated assembly line and have multiple fittings and pieces attached to it.

    Ribs, brackets, posts and sundry fittings will be fastened on for later attachment of wing systems such as fuel systems and landing-gear parts. The front and rear trailing edges of the wings will also be fastened to the spars before they go over to the main building for wing assembly.

    Today, about 170 people work in the spar assembly shop, a figure that Boeing said should rise to about 250 at full rate.


    An automated fiber-placement machine puts down carbon fiber tape to begin making a spar for a wing. The 777X has the longest single-piece spars ever developed. (Mike Siegel / The Seattle Times)

    Meanwhile, in the new wing-fabrication center Monday, an automated fiber-placement machine designed and built by Electroimpact of Mukilteo moved along a spar mold, its heated application tip glowing orange as it put down plies of half-inch-wide carbon fiber tape to begin making a spar for the left wing of the same flight test plane.

    It takes almost 400 miles of the black tape to make the four spars for every pair of 777X wings.

    For all the awesome, and expensive, manufacturing technology, the 777X faces challenges in both sales and production.

    Orders for the 777X have been slow over the last few years as the industry has faced a widebody-jet glut.

    President Donald Trump on Monday touted a Singapore Airlines’ order for 20 of the jets. But that order had already been announced in February, and when Boeing booked it as firm in June, it was the first new 777X order in two years.

    There are production worries too, because of recent instability in building the current model 777.


    Celebrating the beginning of 777X production, 777 Boeing employees sign a banner at the wing facility in Everett. (Mike Siegel/The Seattle Times)

    Several people working on the 777 line said that this has led to a slowdown in the work and overall production on the 777 program is currently as much as 12,000 tasks behind.

    Last week, Boeing began asking some retirees to return to work on all its airplane programs to help with a work crunch and a shortage of experienced people. On the 777, it’s specifically looking for help with wing assembly.

    This summer, the new robotic way of building the 777 fuselages — known as the new Fuselage Automated Upright Build or FAUB — which had been problematic when introduced, ran into more trouble, according to two people familiar with what went wrong.

    More on Boeing
    On three aircraft, the seals of the joins in the FAUB fuselage sections were found to be not properly cured. Engineers required that the sections be taken apart and rebuilt.

    Boeing spokeswoman Karen Crabtree conceded that this happened but said it has since been addressed and fixed.

    As for the general falling behind in 777 assembly work, Crabtree said Boeing is “taking advantage of additional time in the master production schedule to catch up on behind-work on the 777 and prepare for 777X production.”

    She said employees “will get some additional days to work out of position and stabilize the work in process” and that as a result, jet deliveries will not be delayed and Boeing will be ready for 777X production.

    Terry Beezhold, chief project engineer for the 777X, said that “by and large, the program is tracking to the plan very well.”

    “The things we’ve learned off FAUB, that have taken some time to work out, we’ve made design changes and changes to the production system and incorporated those into 777X,” Beezhold said.

    Boeing will roll out that first flight test plane next year and fly it in the first quarter of 2019, with first delivery scheduled for early 2020.

    By then, it hopes to have signed further sales and to have ironed out all the new technology problems.

    seattletimes.com

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

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    From: ChristophMcLee10/25/2017 9:43:49 AM
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    Boeing 3Q results beat estimates; EPS: $2.72 vs. $2.66 (est) and revenue: $24.3 billion vs. $23.9 billion (est). It has also raised the 2017 EPS outlook by 10 cents. For now, Boeing clearly leads in orders vs. Airbus with 498 at the end of September compared to 271 for Airbus. It also has trade dispute with Bombardier where the final Commerce Department ruling is expected in December, followed by a separate ITC decision in Feb 2018. Here is the 3Q highlights: alph.st

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    To: ChristophMcLee who wrote (3288)10/25/2017 11:05:32 AM
    From: zzpat
       of 3293
     
    BA is the highest state-subsidized and one of the highest federal subsidized companies in the US and says Canada is subsiding Bombardier. Boeing doesn't even make the same size planes it's whining about so it's trying to stop competition and innovation.

    I don't buy or sell stocks based my personal beliefs but this is one really bad company. A bad CEO also.

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