DREAMLINERGUY NORRIS AND MARK WAGNER
CONTENTSAcknowledgments Prologue Introduction Chapter 1 BRINGING BACK THE MAGIC Chapter 2 SUPER EFFICIENT Chapter 3 DREAMTIME Chapter 4 GOLF, MISSILES, AND DREAMLINERS Chapter 5 SYSTEMS ADVANTAGE Chapter 6 POWER PACKED Chapter 7 DREAMLIFTER Chapter 8 TESTING TIMES Chapter 9
DEVIL IN THE DETAILS Chapter 10 TAKING FLIGHT Appendix SPECIFICATIONS AND MILESTONES Index
ACKNOWLEDGMENTSA VERITABLE LEGION HELPED US ALONG THE WAY ON THIS LONG JOURNEY . FIRST and foremost are Yvonne Leach and her stalwart 787 communications colleagues past and present at Boeing including Lori Gunter, Mary Hanson, Adam Morgan, Scott Lefeber, Lorri Murphy, Jennifer German, and Mary Kane. Among the engine makers our thanks also to the irrepressible Rick Kennedy, Deb Case, and Jim Stump at General Electric; Martin Johnson; Martin Brodie; Ian Bustin; Annalie Brown and Bill OSullivan at Rolls-Royce; and Mark Sullivan, formerly of Pratt & Whitney. We would also like to thank Gail Warner and Lisa Bottle of Goodrich; Helene Cox and Sandra Fearon of GKN/Ultra Electronics; Pam Tvrdy and Nancy Welsh of Rockwell Collins; and Tom Kilbane. Also Deborah Gann of Spirit AeroSystems; Jennifer Vilarreal and Heather Cox of GE Aviation (formerly Smiths Aerospace); and Peg Hashem of Hamilton Sundstrand. Among the engineering, management, and pilot teams, again past and present, who gave up valuable time to help us wed particularly like to thank Pat Shanahan, Mike Bair, Tom Brisken, Stuart Buchan, Mike Carriker, Tom Cogan, Mike Delaney, Walt Gillette, Jeff Hawk, Duane Jackson, Mark Jenks, Alan Mulally, Dennis ODonoghue, Richard Ostrom, John Roundhill, Frank Santoni, Mike Sinnett, Frank Statkus, and Scott Strode. Our grateful appreciation also goes to Graham Warwick for his patient sub-editing skills and to Gareth Burgess and Lia Ravelo for graphic artistry. Colleagues at Aviation Week & Space Technology and Flight International, past and present, who in one way or another have provided a helping hand include Max Kingley Jones, Jon Ostrower the inimitable Flightblogger, Andrew Doyle, Paul Lewis, Mike Mecham, Jim Asker, Joe Anselmo, Darren Shannon, and Tony Velocci. Thanks also to Dominic Gates of Seattle Times and James Wallace (formerly Seattle PI), Geoffrey Thomas, Darren Shannon, and
Joe Wollner, as well as bloggers Uresh Sheth and Saj Ahmad. Wed also like to say a special thank you to our long-suffering families: Anna, Chris, Daniel, Tom, Greg, Steph, Henry, and Polly, without whose steadfast support none of this would have been possible. Also to the Isle of Man support team including Trevor, Jan and Elise Norris, Melanie and Bronte Wright. Last, but not least, we thank our editor at Zenith Press, Steve Gansen, who has stuck with us on this project for so long.
PROLOGUEOCTOBER 26, 2002, WAS ACOLD, UNSETTLING DAY FOR MANY SEATTLE CITIZENS. The news that Saturday morning was full of stories about the bloody end to a Chechen hostage crisis in Moscow, as well as growing signs of imminent U.S. military intervention in Iraq. Just over a year had passed since the horrifying 9/11 attacks on America, and the world remained an uncertain place. Few of those scurrying along Seattles busy waterfront on Alaskan Way could therefore have guessed that a meeting was taking place that morning at Pier 66 that would bring some much-needed good news and at the same time fundamentally alter the destiny of the worlds air transport industry. There, beneath steely gray skies and cold rain showers, delegates from a dozen airlines were quietly meeting with Boeing officials at the Bell Harbor Conference Center. While decidedly low-key, the meeting was also pivotal. Boeing hoped, once and for all, that the gathering would help it figure out what the airlines wanted most in the next-generation airliner: speed or efficiency. No one knew for sure at the time, but it would decide not only Boeings design priorities for the twenty-first century, but also begin a chain reaction that would impact the aerospace industry for years to come. Anchoring the meeting was Walt Gillette, a soft-spoken Texan with a reputation for solid engineering over a long career at Boeing stretching back to 1966. Gillette, who in media interviews referred to himself as older than dirt, had been involved in almost every Boeing jetliner since the 707. Now he was tasked with steering the companys aircraft development in a bold new direction and away from the lowerrisk, lower-cost derivative approach of the past decade. Boeing heritage infused Gillettes blood. He had been brought up on flying tales of World War II from his uncle, a B-17 veteran, and Gillettes many achievements included a breakthrough installation design that enabled the low-slung 737 wing to be fitted with the highbypass CFM56 engine. The move transformed the fortunes of the 737,
effectively launching it into the history books as the best-selling airliner of all time. Now he was pursuing answers that would help plot Boeings commercial jetliner development course for the next fifty years or more. Since early 2001, Boeing had been courting airlines with an intriguing high-speed design called the Sonic Cruiser. But all the time, Boeing had a reference model in its back pocket, a theoretical concept that shifted all the new technology in the Sonic Cruiser from speed to efficiency. The model, dubbed Project Y ellowstone, was only meant to be a gauge against which the true advantages of the technology could be judged, but to Boeings surprise it started to attract just as much interest as, if not more than, the Sonic Cruiser. But was this interest real? Were the airlines really more interested in efficiency than the holy grail of higher speed? Of course, times were tough for some carriers after 9/11, but how many wanted efficiency and how many still demanded speed? Boeing had to know, and the huddle on that cold, overcast day on Seattles Pier 66 was the best way to find out. Wed had a series of meeting with these airlines, and after about three of these gatherings we finally had to know what they thought, recalled Gillette. In front of the top strategic planners for the top airlines, he drew a graph on a whiteboard. Along the bottom of the graph was range, while the vertical axis was payload. Some were clearly intrigued by the reference model, and some clearly wanted more speed. There were dots all over the graph, he recollected. We told them this was not a decision meeting, but that Boeing had to decide what to offer, recalled Gillette, who later viewed the meeting as one of the most productive he ever had. The results were gold dust. After all the airline representatives left, Boeing gathered up the charts and reviewed the results. The airlines were virtually unanimous, and none gave a high rating to Sonic Cruisers Mach 0.98 cruise capability, while all gave maximum points to Y ellowstone, which had a 20 percent cut in fuel burn relative to a 767. The bottom line was that speed was out and efficiency was in. From now on, the course was set, and the journey toward the Dreamliner had begun.
INTRODUCTIONTHE STORY OF THE 787 DEFIES THE IMAGINATION. NOT SINCE THE 1960S AND the heady days of Apollo, Concorde, and the Boeing 747 has an aerospace story captivated such global attention or prompted as much intrigue. News of the project leaked out at the fledgling Sonic Cruiser stage, far earlier than Boeing wanted. But the reaction sparked an unprecedented level of interest that refused to dissipate when the project morphed into the 7E7 and later evolved into the 787 Dreamliner. In a new media world of instant web access, blogging, and twittering, the exposure was almost too much. It was like working in a gold fish bowl, former project leader Mike Bair once remarked. At first the spotlight was kind, and the projects high-profile technology and innovations basked in the glow of success as record orders poured in. But problems derailed the project, and Boeings challenges turned the Dreamliner into an industrial nightmare. The public glare became the frightening spotlight of the inquisitor. Y this et intense scrutiny also revealed the true extent of the huge mountain Boeing had set out to climb with the 787, and which it still is on course to conquer as it brings the Dreamliner to market. To fundamentally change either design practice, or a production system, or structural design philosophy or systems architecture, is challenging enough with the 787 Boeing undertook to change all of these at one time. This is why, in short, the 787 is the most delayed project in the companys storied history. Y in the long run, these are also the same reasons why the 787 is et, set to emerge as a revolutionary change for the commercial aerospace industry, and as a flagship for Boeings ambitions in the second decade of the twenty-first century. Speaking to Aviation Week & Space Technology on the eve of its plannedbut eventually postponedfirst flight in June 2009, Boeing chairman, president, and CEO James McNerney succinctly summarized the 787 experience:
Y saw ambition outrun ability to execute. Weve had to learn from ou that. But youve got to remember that were going to build an airplane that will be analogous to the 707 in terms of its game-changing impact. My prediction is airplanes will be built like this for the next seventy-five to eighty-five years. This book traces the almost decade-long story of the 787 from its earliest roots to the start of flight-testing and illustrates how this process reshaped Boeing and much of the industry along the way. It is also a tale of human endeavor and innovation on a gigantic scale and is a testament to a project team determined to overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles blocking the long runway to the sky.
BRINGING BACK THE MAGICLIKE AGREAT TREE, THE TRUE ROOTS OF BOEINGS 787 DREAMLINER