Boeing Boeing

Crossposted from The Stars Hollow Gazette

Ah yes, exceptional Americanism or American exceptionalism.

You know, whatever.

The 787 project has been delayed for over 4 years now, principally due to the fact that Boeing outsourced all the parts to nickle and dime their highly skilled and unionized labor force to death.

Unsurprisingly when they got them back for assembly they didn’t fit together.

Now this is a problem that was solved by one of Connecticut’s favorite sons, Eli Whitney, in 1798 because he needed some money after making institutionalized slavery profitable (we are proud of our Benedict Arnolds here in the Nutmeg State) but apparently ideas like interchangeability take a long, long time to get over the the Oregon trail to Washington.

And so as a consequence there are airports full of uncompleted 787s in various stages of decrepitude, covered in plastic tarps and weighed down with high tech cinder blocks so they don’t blow away.

Boeing’s 787 Glut Casts $16.2 Billion Cloud Over FAA Approval

By Susanna Ray, Bloomberg News

Aug 23, 2011 12:01 AM ET

Boeing amassed $16.2 billion worth of inventory related to the 787 through June 30, with so many almost-finished jets the company ran out of room to park them. There are 35 scattered outside the Everett, Washington, plant, in leased space across an adjacent airfield and in a facility in Texas. Many lack seats and lavatories and have black plastic over the windows and concrete blocks hanging from the wings to keep them from tipping over before engines are installed.

The mothballed jets represent almost $6 a share in inventory growth since 2009. Counting four planes in the factory and six test jets, Boeing has more 787s on hand than Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic Airways has planes in service.

Credit-default swaps tied to Boeing bonds, which rise as investor confidence falls, closed yesterday at the highest since Dec. 7, 2009, gaining 1.3 basis points to 84.5 basis points, according to data compiled by CMA. A basis point is $1,000 a year on a contract protecting $10 million of debt.

Boeing can “eat some of the dirt of the inventory cost” by spreading it out over the initial block of 787s, using so- called program accounting, said Demisch, the consultant. The company plans to reveal the size of that accounting block with its third-quarter earnings in October.

The 45th plane to be built — in the factory now — will probably cost Boeing at least $184 million, Harned estimated after analyzing inventory figures. That would make the average cost over the first 1,000 jets, including a learning curve, at least $116 million per plane, he projects. FAA approval this week after a flight-test program that began in December 2009 would set the stage for delivery of the first 787 to All Nippon Airways Co. next month.

Each plane is in a different state of readiness, since Boeing kept improving processes after the jets began rolling out of the factory in 2009.

They have undergone waves of repairs based on testing discoveries, and numerous jobs remain on “various and sundry components” before they’re ready for delivery, said Scott Fancher, Boeing’s 787 chief.

“Anytime you’re building an airplane out of sequence, the amount of work that’s required probably goes up by a factor of 10, because they have to unbuild all the things you built on top of whatever you have to change, and then build it all back,” said Demisch, the consultant. “It’s better than starting the airplanes from scratch, but it’s cost that will be added to production and make the likelihood of a profit on this program over the next half-dozen years very, very low.”

As much as I hate flying in general, let me just say I can’t wait to strap myself into one of those puppies.

I want to die peacefully in my sleep like my Grandfather the pilot,

not screaming in terror like his passengers.

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