In the bi-monthly update about the progress Boeing is making getting to first flight and commercial deliveries, 787 Dreamliner general manager Pat Shanahan said he had reorganized the group and in process “retired” the design teams for the 787-8.
I wondered what that meant for the Life Cycle Product Teams we highlighted in May 787 package and 787 chief project engineer Tom Cogan. I’m happy to report Tom, our 2007 Engineer of the Year, is still 787 chief project engineer, but his job and that of other designers has changed more to getting the plane into full production (the new groups focus on FAA certification, flight test, supplier management and Final Assembly).
One Boeing source told me that gives a better “line of sight” around what needs to be accomplished, which is getting the plane in the air and soon thereafter to customers. The source characterized tough taskmaster Shanahan as “direct, but fair” and beyond that a “caring and friendly person.” Indeed, Shanahan, a mechanical engineer, is the man of the hour at Boeing where’s there’s intense pressure to straighten out parts shortages and supply chain issues that could result in the third delay of the plane’s first flight.
Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said Shanahan’s reorganization has only “slightly” affected the design teams with their attention focus turning to “flight test, safety and certification.” Indeed, Cogan is charged with the overseeing the safety aspects of the 787. She added that the engineers are still working on weight reduction and product improvements, not to mention the ongoing design of the 787-3 and 787-9.