The Washington state stand at Le Bourget
The Washington state stand at Le Bourget
Arriving down the tarmac at Le Bourget at 9 a.m., I walked into someone coming the other way with quite an entourage:
François Hollande, president of France, on walkabout.More
Airbus lost the long and contentious bidding to build an aerial refueling tanker for the U.S Air Force, but Airbus Americas chairman Allan McArtor asserts there are signs that Boeing will stumble and give its rival a renewed opportunity.
“I think we’ll get another shot at it,” said McArtor in an interview at the Paris Air Show Wednesday.
He also said that Airbus, which has U.S. engineering centers in Wichita, Kan., and Mobile, Ala., is likely to add two more in the next decade, and will seriously consider locating one in Washington state.
“We are attracted to Washington state for the same reason we were attracted to Wichita. That’s where the talent is,” he said. “If you want to have access to the talent that developed over the last 100 years of aviation, Washington is very fertile ground.”
Those startling ideas came from Airbus’s top man in America, who has probably the most exceptional aviation resume of any aerospace executive in the U.S.More
Joe Ozimek is bald on top, with a monk-like fringe of white hair. His extraordinary bushy eyebrows form perfect quotation marks that frame his face. Only his expensive suits and snappy ties betray the fact that Boeing has transformed this former aerodynamicist and engineer into a vice president of marketing.
This morning, he proved himself Boeing’s best pitchman in Paris.
At Air Shows, Boeing executives can come across as stiff and guarded compared to their looser, brasher peers at Airbus. Not Joe. (And everyone calls him Joe.) He is folksy in his conversation and combative when he needs to be, ready to slash back at barbs from Airbus sales chief John Leahy.
At Le Bourget Wednesday, Ozimek pitched the 737 MAX to journalists, entertainingly making the case that the 737 MAX will retain an 8 percent fuel burn advantage over the rival Airbus A320.
He announced that the proposed new 737 program will accelerate six months, with the first model, the 737 MAX 8, entering service not at the end of 2017 but in July that year. (Corrected) He announced that Boeing is accelerating the program’s delivery schedule: The first 737 MAX 8 will enter service not in the fourth quarter of 2017 but in the third quarter. (Vice president of airplane development Scott Fancher said earlier that the plane would be delivered six months earlier than previously planned, but Boeing later corrected that.)
He showed off new upgrades to the cockpit, which will now feature large dashboard displays like those on the 787 Dreamliner.
Deploying U.S. Department of Transportation data, he scoffed at the Airbus claim of parity on fuel burn. “No way that is so,” said Joe. “The data will set you free.”
And using a model 737 MAX, he savored the chance to talk about the aerodynamics of the new split winglets. His explanation included a digression to explain why geese fly in a V formation and how that relates to Boeing’s winglet.
(See the video of Joe in action, after the jump.)
While nobody was watching, Russia’s Sukhoi was experiencing delays with its SuperJet, the first new airliner from the factories that once were part of the Soviet Union’s powerful aviation complex. But Tuesday the company delivered its first jet to a Western client, Mexico’s Interjet. The 93-seat plane is on display at the Paris Air Show…More
Boeing chief executive Jim McNerney, who’ll be 64 this summer, may not retire at 65, as is company practice. Chatting with journalists at the Boeing media reception at the Paris Air Show, McNerney said there is nothing mandatory about the retirement date. “There’s no official time that I have to depart. There is a practice,” McNerney…More
At the Paris Air Show Tuesday, as expected, Boeing launched the final and largest member of its Dreamliner jet family, the 787-10.
The jet officially entered the market with a total of 102 orders from blue-ribbon customers United, British Airways, Singapore Airlines, GECAS (the airplane leasing unit of GE) and Air Lease Corp., the lessor run by longtime industry market-maker Steve Udvar-Hazy.
Udvar-Hazy ordered 30, as did Singapore. British ordered 12. GECAS ordered 10. United ordered 20, of which ten were conversions of previous orders for smaller versions of the 787. First delivery is scheduled for 2018.
In a briefing ahead of the launch, a top executive said Boeing hasn’t decided where the jet will be built.
Officials in Washington state are concerned that logistical issues around transporting the bigger plane sections to Everett and fitting the completed planes nose-to-tail on an assembly line could rule out the 787-10 for Everett, so that this largest Dreamliner would be assembled exclusively in South Carolina.
“When we’re ready to announce it, we’ll announce it,” said Scott Fancher, Boeing vice president of airplane development.More
At the Paris Air Show Monday, the South won another high-tech aerospace plant.
Standing in front of a GEnx jet engine on display in one of the exhibition halls, David Joyce, president and CEO of GE Aviation, announced that Asheville, N.C., has won the competition to be the site of a new plant that will produce engine components made out of Ceramic Matrix Composites, or CMCs, and create 240 new jobs.
“These are going to be the future,” Joyce said, holding a sample of a CMC component. “I guarantee you this plant will get bigger with time.”
The location of the plant in Asheville is subject to final approvals of incentives from the State of North Carolina, GE said.More
At Washington state’s reception on the eve of the Paris Air Show, state officials acknowledged the possibility that Everett may lose out on assembling the 787-10, the latest and biggest model in the Dreamliner jet family, likely to be launched at the show on Monday.
Two officials at the reception, speaking on background, said they were not surprised at the idea that the biggest Dreamliner may be assembled exclusively at Boeing’s 787 plant in North Charleston, S.C.
Both observed that the new 787 final assembly plant in South Carolina is big enough to fit four of the large 787-10s nose-to-tail, which they don’t think is true in the two 787 assembly bays in Everett.
But all the delegates put on a brave face, asserting that Washington retains huge advantages in the industry with its almost 100-year legacy of aviation excellence.
They certainly didn’t criticize Boeing, instead insisting that the company spreading work around to other states only underlines how aggressively Washington needs to work to retain the jetmaker and all the jobs that go with it both at Boeing and its suppliers.
“Boeing is increasingly in a competitive global environment, not just with Airbus,” said Dow Constantine, King County executive. “They have to make some very tough decisions. Our job is to make sure that to the extent possible, our region builds on its advantages and removes any impediments to Boeing.”More
The engine on Boeing’s forthcoming 737 MAX will incorporate several mind-blowing new technology features.
The most startling is the production of a small intricate part, the tip of the fuel nozzle that swirls fuel and air together in a labyrinth of tiny passages, then sprays the mixture into the combustion chamber in the core of the engine.
This nozzle tip is made from a nickel alloy, but it isn’t machined. It isn’t cast. It isn’t forged. It’s the first use of additive manufacturing in aviation production parts.
A layer of nickel alloy powder is laid down and in a computer-controlled process a laser traces the shape in the dust, melting the powder and forming the precise shape required. Then another layer is added on top and the process is repeated. Layer by layer, a 3-D shape is built up with a precision that’s as controlled as printing a document.
(Watch a cool CFM video showing the innards of the LEAP on the jump.)More