Getting a new commercial jetliner off the ground is hard and the fact that the 787’s first flight has been delayed 3-4 months isn’t a big deal. One should expect delays and they still are fraction of the damaging two year Airbus A380 delays.
With two maiden flight delays under its belt, it remains to be seen if Boeing can pull off scheduled May deliveries which it is still promising to do. Granted, the fastener and flight control software delays seem like problems Boeing should have anticipated, known about sooner or disclosed sooner. Any other surprises and they are likely as not, commercial deliveries will certainly move the needle to tardy.
But the meer fact that Boeing is holding events just about the787 is different from what it has done in the past. Never before has Boeing held progress reports dedicated solely to the development of a new aircraft. The Boeing folks are working their tails off led by 787 chief project engineer Tom Cogan, who is our 2007 Engineer of the Year. I can’t help but think about the quote from one of Tom’s colleagues for the Engineer of the Year story: "He takes bad news well."
A couple of things did irritate me, tho. The webcast again did not work. It didn’t work for the 787 roll-out July 8 nor did it work for the original progress report call in which none of the problems outlined were revealed. I did get into the phone conference today, but was not allowed to asked questions as a result. In fact, I’m not sure any journalists were which was odd given the conference went just slightly more than half of the two hours allotted. It was all grumpy analysts. Despite the bad news, Boeing shares were up 29 cents in the two hours following the conference.