March 02, 2012


The 1,000th Boeing 777 rolled off the line today, after 17 years in production.  Plenty more where that came from.

Man I love that plane.  Some think it charmless, and there's no question it's a rougher ride than the stately 747 or the elephantine A-380.  But it flies, man, you can feel it flying.  And it's got the power/weight ratio of a turbocharged wolverine.  And it's strong (see the original wing test here).

They say it can be kind of a pig to fly, but dig the crosswind landings.  Or just dig this one, at the late, lamented Hong Kong Kai Tak Airport:

A friendly pilot's review is here.  Well done, Boeing - here's to the next 1,000.


Blogger Author said...

For unknown reasons, I sort of enjoy reading about the airplane biz- it's interesting to distinguish the corporate ownership of Boeing and the many interesting engineers and assemblers I've met who work for it.

How do I put this? Apparently, I should have been running Boeing.

It was obvious to a total amateur that the 777 program was going well and under-rated, (I remember an engineer telling me 10 years ago about what an awesome plane it really was) and that the 787, a great idea and design, was going to be chopped apart by corporate anti-union, anti-American manufacture, evidence-free ideology; the nominal move of headquarters to Chicago was the sign of what was to come- and it was a matter of timing. It was intended to distance decisions from manufacturing, to isolate labor from management- fine if you're in off-brand tupperware, I suppose, but there are airplanes with one million parts.

There is some SKILL involved. And, surprise, surprise, the 787's South Carolina rear fuselage is crap, relatively speaking; another pointless anti-labor move that decreased quality, increased costs, and endangered the whole commercial program.

The 777 was built by a Seattle-centric system. The 787 had Japanese bits on Italian Bits on Carolina bits in a Seattle assembly- and they ran out of the fancy bolts you need to staple all that stuff together. That cost 4 years.

March 5, 2012 at 10:00 AM  

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