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Boeing Blog

Seattle Times aerospace reporter Dominic Gates covers top industry events to bring you the latest news, highlighting how it impacts Boeing and its competitors.

Topic: Everett

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July 14, 2014 at 7:24 AM

UPDATED: Boeing says new robotic system for building 777X fuselage is nearly ready

At the Farnborough Air Show Monday, Boeing said the secretive automation process it’s been developing over more than a year for building the fuselage of the  777, which has been undergoing testing inside a facility in Anacortes, is in the final phase of testing and production readiness.

Boeing said the 777X fuselage, which will be assembled in a new building now under construction in Everett, “will be built using automated, guided robots that will fasten the panels of the fuselage together, drilling and filling the more than approximately 60,000 fasteners that are today installed by hand.”

Boeing spokeswoman Elizabeth Fischtziur said the new robotic system “will be implemented first on today’s 777″ and once its high rate production capabilities are validated it “is expected to be baseline to 777X fuselage production.”

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Comments | Topics: 777X, Boeing, Everett

July 11, 2014 at 7:00 PM

Ahead of Farnborough, Boeing touts progress in 787 Dreamliner production

Ahead of the Air Show, Boeing sought to demonstrate that its widebody jet plant in Everett is firing on all cylinders.

Last Tuesday, Pat Shanahan, Boeing senior vice president in charge of airplane programs, gave photographer Mike Siegel and me a guided tour of the 787 assembly lines in Everett.

Shanahan described remarkable progress in Dreamliner production since the years of problems and delays when, he said, “We were really struggling to get out of the ditch.”

A Machinist screws fasteners onto the underside of a Dreamliner 787 wing at the 787 final assembly factory in Everett. Photo: Mike Siegel

A Machinist screws fasteners onto the underside of a Dreamliner 787 wing at the 787 final assembly factory in Everett. Photo: Mike Siegel

He also cited specific improvement this year in the work coming to Everett out of South Carolina.

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Comments | More in 787, Boeing, Farnborough Air Show 2014, Washington state | Topics: 787, Boeing, Charleston

June 18, 2013 at 4:04 AM

Paris Air Show: Boeing launches 787-10, punts on where it will be assembled

the 787-10 in the livery of Air Lease Corp., the lessor headed by industry guru Steven Udvar-Hazy

the 787-10 in the livery of Air Lease Corp., the lessor headed by industry guru Steven Udvar-Hazy

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.

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Comments | More in Airbus, Boeing, Paris Air Show 2013 | Topics: 787-10, Charleston, Everett

June 15, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Paris Air Show 2013: Boeing, Airbus head for widebody showdown

My story in the Sunday paper previews the 50th Paris Air Show at Le Bourget, where most of the interest will be in the big widebody jets now in development.

The vertical fin of the first 787-9, which will fly later this summer.

The vertical fin of the first 787-9, which will fly later this summer. Jeff Klemann, VP 787 final assembly, is on the left.                          My photo.

The story draws on pre-Paris briefings from Boeing and a tour of the Everett widebody jet plant, where I saw the first 787-9 under assembly. That jet will fly later this summer.

I also saw that the 787 assembly line has had some kinks removed by taking out a large tooling fixture previously used to attach the tail. (Once touted as the Mother of All Tooling Towers, it’s now demoted, perhaps to Big Expensive Mistake.)

What will happen to the tons of steel in the MOATT?
“Want it?” said Jeff Klemann, vice president of 787 final assembly. “I’ll sell it to you cheap.”

And a top Boeing exec seemed to be offering reassurance that the giant 777X composite wing will be built by Boeing, not Mitsubishi.

“Throughout our history, the efficiency of our wings has been a big differentiator. So that’s going to be a factor in the decision,” said Kent Fisher, vice president of supplier management at Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

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Comments | More in Airbus, Boeing, Paris Air Show 2013 | Topics: 777X, 787-10, A350