Can Boeing Contain the Dreamliner's Technical Glitches?

Discussion in 'Economy & Infrastructure' started by cinoti, Jan 24, 2013.

  1. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    China is always blamed for cheap processors on US, European, and Canadian jets or fighter jets, now it is India's turn.
    haha



    Can Boeing Contain the Dreamliner's Technical Glitches? - Forbes
    Can Boeing Contain the Dreamliner's Technical Glitches?
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    2nd Boeing 787 First Flight

    2nd Boeing 787 First Flight (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    If there was ever a case for being a responsible corporate citizen, it is hard to imagine one much better than the obligation of an airplane maker to keep its passengers and crew safe. As I learned in researching my book, You Can’t Order Change, Boeing (BA) has faced many challenges in fulfilling that responsibility with its 787 Dreamliner.

    And recent problems with the 787′s electrical system and fuel leaks — the latter leading to an FAA demand that Boeing inspect fuel line couplings in the engine pylons and check that lock wires were assembled correctly on all its 787s — suggest that more work needs to be done.

    On December 4, a 787 with 174 passengers and 10 crew operated by United Continental Holdings (UAL) ran into a mechanical problem on its way from Houston to Newark, N.J. — and that flight made an emergency landing in New Orleans.

    United said that one of the jet’s six electric generators failed. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported, United spokeswoman Christen David said, “The redundancies built into the aircraft allowed it to be powered by the remaining five electric power sources. We are replacing the generator and running additional checks so as to return the aircraft to service.”

    And according to the Seattle Times, on December 4, a person at Boeing with knowledge of the incident told the Seattle Times that the pilot observed “multiple messages” indicating some system errors, and decided to divert “out of an abundance of caution.”

    Problems with the 787′s electrical system (ES) do not surprise me. After all, in August 2009, a source who worked as a software engineer at Boeing for a decade and was close to the 787 program, told me that there were serious problems with the 787′s ES.

    To be sure, there is no clear evidence that the problem with the electrical generator on that United flight is directly related to the problems with the ES that I learned about in 2009. However, this source’s comments made me wonder whether there might be a connection.

    This source claimed that the 787′s ES failed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspection in 2008 so the FAA ordered the firm responsible for the ES’s software to rewrite the code. In my reporting on August 19, 2009 on potential delays in delivering the 787, Boeing spokespeople denied knowledge of any serious problems with the 787′s systems.

    The ES is critical to aircraft operation — it distributes power around the aircraft from the engines and the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) — which provides the power to operate the air conditioning and to start the engines at the gate — to all the systems requiring electricity.

    My source told me that the ES is a so-called level A system (highest level of certification) — which must pass stringent testing. Such certification includes evidence of following processes in development and passing thousands of tests. Almost everything on the aircraft is electrical — even the brakes — so “it is very critical the system works flawlessly.”

    This source told me that the software that controls the ES was developed by HCL Technologies — a $2 billion (2008 revenues) Indian software company that worked with Boeing and its partners on the 787 and won Boeing’s Gold Performance Excellence Award in February 2009. He spoke with colleagues at United Technologies (UTX) division — Hamilton Sundstrand (HS) — which was the ES’s primary contractor.

    His ES colleagues told him that the Designated Engineering Representative (DER) — a SWAT team of top engineers that tests aircraft software against rigorous standards — and the FAA refused to certify the work HCL did and told HS to start over — without HCL. Several of my source’s colleagues joined HS at the end of 2008 in an effort to rewrite the software.

    My source says the HCL was chosen for the software in response to Boeing’s order that its suppliers outsource at least 25 percent of the work to overseas sub-contractors. The failure of the ES on that flight to Newark makes me wonder whether there is still a bug in the ES software.

    The 787′s problems are a result of a radical shift in the way Boeing managed aircraft development. As I wrote in my book, Boeing had a long history of command-and-control leadership — where top executives toldl everyone else what to do.

    Under its curent CEO, Jim McNerney, who took over in July 2005, Boeing adopted a so-called Transformational Leadership (TL) approach which empowered workers to make decisions, have ownership, and to take responsibility for success and/or failure.

    TL was behind Boeing’s radical decision to outsource 60 % of the 787 design and manufacturing to its suppliers. In the past, Boeing had given its suppliers very detailed specifications. But with the 787, Boeing let the suppliers do the design and manufacturing. The first manager of the 787, Mike Bair, was a transformational leader.

    Bair took the blame for the 787′s delays and Boeing replaced Bair with Pat Shanahan from Boeing’s defense unit. As such, Boeing reverted back to its old command-and-control style of leadership. My source claimed that when Boeing spent three days in the spring of 2008 with HS, the supplier of the 787′s electrical systems, Boeing issued orders to its supplier about how it wanted HS to fix the problems.

    Rather than listen to what HS thought would work, Shanahan’s team issued orders. And according to my source, HS agreed to what Shanahan wanted even though it did not believe that his ideas or time-line would work.

    Building airplanes and flying people around in them is a huge corporate responsibility. I hope that those in charge are maintaining hyper-vigilance in fulfilling it — particularly when it come to making sure that the 787 can earn its Dreamliner moniker.
     
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  3. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    HCL really got venues in outsourcing..... even Boeing buys it.
     
  4. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    I'm not sure Boeing will sign any contracts with them any more, not after they screwed the pooch on an airliner project worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
     
  5. W.G.Ewald

    W.G.Ewald Defence Professionals/ DFI member of 2 Defence Professionals

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    Here is another view,

    Boeing's Green Dreamliner Costs the Company, Customers and Taxpayers | National Legal and Policy Center

     
  6. The Fox

    The Fox Regular Member

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    Dude do you know how much testing is done when a software is designed and put to use............. it has to go through rigorous testing and if you got a Gold Performance Excellence Award that do mean that company has maintained impeccable Quality may be a glitch that does not mean that the company is off the contract completely
     
  7. LETHALFORCE

    LETHALFORCE Moderator Moderator

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    Boeing had problems with the battery.
     
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  8. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    award to justify the outsourcing it is political all the way I suppose.
     
  9. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    This source claimed that the 787′s ES failed Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) inspection in 2008 so the FAA ordered the firm responsible for the ES’s software to rewrite the code.
    His ES colleagues told him that the Designated Engineering Representative (DER) — a SWAT team of top engineers that tests aircraft software against rigorous standards — and the FAA refused to certify the work HCL did and told HS to start over — without HCL. Several of my source’s colleagues joined HS at the end of 2008 in an effort to rewrite the software.
     
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2013
  10. Yusuf

    Yusuf GUARDIAN Administrator

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    Trying to find scale goats. Chinese posters jumping on that should read properly. FAA made HS rework the codes again without HCL. Reworking did not involve HCL. Who knows the original code written by HCL was right and reworked one flawed.

    Anyways, the issue with the airline is the battery problem. Hardware issues. Must be Chinese!!!
     
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  11. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    China is barely involved in manufacturing the Dreamliner. Chinese civilian aerospace manufacturers have mostly partnered with Airbus, due to national security concerns in the US.
     
  12. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    good one, haha
    battery is an issue, but it is made in Japan, more issues are out.
     
  13. t_co

    t_co Senior Member Senior Member

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    Fair enough. What I think is that they built a project to the letter of the contract, but didn't realize the actual scale of things they were working on. I've seen it happen on projects myself--a team builds something perfectly to spec, but they don't get that the overall project is going to involve hundreds of others of teams or be used by teams years down the line, so they don't include enough scalability or flexibility in their code.

    The biggest fault here doesn't lie with HCL. It lies with the management of Boeing, for introducing a competitive subcontracting and outsourcing process over a project that demands cross-compatibility and redundancy in the code and hardware. The former pushes the contractors to make the code lean and 'brittle'; the latter requires the contractors to make the code flexible, even at the cost of project management efficiency.
     
  14. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    Pretty much all aircraft software of Boeing and Airbus comes from India. Boeing's come from HCL and Airbus's come from Infosys.
     
  15. DivineHeretic

    DivineHeretic Senior Member Senior Member

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    The article seems more like a peconceived declaration by a self-righteous person rather than a article written on the basis of facts. The author cites mostly unverifiable references, and when he does cite the verifiable ones, they don't match his article.

    His ES colleagues told him that the Designated Engineering Representative (DER) — a SWAT team of top engineers that tests aircraft software against rigorous standards — and the FAA refused to certify the work HCL did and told HS to start over — without HCL. Several of my source’s colleagues joined HS at the end of 2008 in an effort to rewrite the software.

    As fo the Chinese poster,According to the above segment, the HCLs work was already rejected, and the ES was rewritten anew, without HCL. So how can it be blamed for a code it did not write? Maybe the 50 cent army needs better english teachers.

    The article is most likely the work of an amateur, without proper knowledge of how to frame proper reports. He ends up confusing the readers even more so than before.
     
  16. asianobserve

    asianobserve Elite Member Elite Member

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    Battery is made in Japan and put together in France by Thales.
     
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  17. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    not true
    you are bluffing
     
  18. Bangalorean

    Bangalorean Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    The article does not mention that HCL's software was in any way responsible, but the article deviously puts in HCL's name just to "hint" at a scapegoat. Very typical. I used to frequent American forum slashdot often earlier, and this behaviour is so typical there. Any project has minor glitches, they will go out of their way to find some "outsourcing" angle to it to find a scapegoat. Nothing new here - this is just the typical sore reaction of white collar middle class Americans to outsourcing.
     
  19. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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  20. cinoti

    cinoti Tihar Jail Banned

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    Faint, future tense?

    "By 2012, when Airbus readies its A350 planes, the company plans to send as much as 20% of all its projects to India".
    and maybe that is why:
    "Airbus recently underbid Boeing in an estimated $2.1 billion deal to sell 43 A320 aircraft to state-owned Indian Airlines. Earlier on Tuesday, an Airbus spokesman said Indian private airline expansion offered big potential for sales."

    The second link is talking about what I am talking about, HCL outsourcing codes in dreamliner, which made a very controversial outcome.

    Only 320 and 787 involved, and you call these all major airlines.
     
  21. Armand2REP

    Armand2REP CHINI EXPERT Veteran Member

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    This is the end of the line for the Dream of Junk Liner. Airbus in the house oi oi!
     

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