The Chart:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Backed up

Just as it seemed Boeing was getting on top of things at Paine Field... just as their 787 backlog was starting to dwindle down to about ten stored jets... just as they delivered a bunch of 747s and pulled in the remaining stored frames for rework... well, I'm sure we all know the story. 787s aren't going anywhere, and it's not looking great from what little detail is in the news about it. Now they're even storing 767s for some reason.

On top of all this, 747s are languishing too. They've got twelve on the flight line: three undergoing refurbishment, seven test flying or waiting to test fly, one sitting in storage (although it should be ready to fly once they strap engines on it), and another preparing to enter a long term test program.

They should have another two rolling out any time now. Line 1473 for Cargolux should have shown up a couple weeks ago, and line 1474 for Korean Air Cargo should be popping out any day. That is, unless they've slowed down or delayed the production rate. Paine Field is looking to get mighty crowded soon.

Overdue frames 1420 and 1463 are caught in seemingly endless test flight loops. 1420 for Cargolux has done about ten test flight cycles since finishing refurbishment at Lackland AFB four months ago. Line 1463 for AirBridgeCargo had her first flight over two and half months ago, and is now on her B10 (or 12 if you count ferry flights for paint). Line 1469 for All Nippon Cargo has been doing some unusual test flights recently, flying around unpainted out to Hawaii and back, and going up to do loops over Oregon for nine straight hours. It's strange that the two frames before 1469 were delivered in under ten days each after their first flights, but since then everything is moving so slow. Maybe it's just the end of the year rush followed by the beginning of the year lull, or maybe it's the distractions from the 787 program, but it makes for a very boring blog.

In some exciting news, line 1429 (RC571) was scheduled for a first flight today, and although it didn't happen due to weather, it should happen soon. 1429 has been sitting around rejected, unloved, and unfinished for over two years, so it'll be marvelous to see her finally in the air.

Tomorrow is Boeing's earnings announcement. Hopefully some interesting updates and good news will come out of it.

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