August 2012

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Beat Round-Up: 737 & 787 production, GEnx-1B ETOPS, Japanese supplier uncertainty and FAA green-lights OAMS (Update1)

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It's been a very busy few days, but there's no shortage of things going on around the US commercial aerospace industry, so a Boeing beat round-up post was in the cards. Here's everything I've been working on the past two days:

Looks like Boeing will hold off on a decision to ramp 737 production beyond 38 per month until 2013, after saying last week it was taking a "hard look" at increasing its output in Renton to 42 per month. Boeing CFO James Bell - in the same presentation - says 787 will go from two to 2.5 aircraft per month mid-year (programs sources point to June). 

On the engine front, General Electric stopped its GEnx-1B ETOPS certification testing in January to repair micro-cracks in the high pressure turbine of its 3,000 cycle engine. These cracks were found on the ground test stand, not on the wing of ZA005 or ZA006. GE insists that no design change to the blades is required because they were found during a normal inspection interval. The power plant is set to be certified for ETOPS (different from airframe ETOPS certification) in April.

The major Japanese suppliers appear to be okay in Nagoya, though Boeing is concerned about the lower tier suppliers that feed the 'Heavies' due to a lack of gasoline or rolling power outages. 

The Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing have come to final agreement on the outboard aileron modal suppression system that is designed to dampen out the vibration in the wing of the 747-8F. The 22 page Special Condition the FAA has assigned the nomenclature of limit cycle oscillation (LCO) to describe the vibration, which is also how the inboard aileron power control unit (PCU) problem was identified, only serving to confuse us all. Also worth noting, the lead engineer and developer of OAMS, Pio Fitzgerald, was awarded Boeing Commercial Airplanes Engineer of the Year. 

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