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Boeing Beefs Up Troubled Dreamliner Program

Two New Execs To Assist On 787

As ANN reported January 16, Boeing announced the first flight of the 787 has been moved from the end of the first quarter of this year to around the end of the second quarter to provide additional time to finish assembly of the first aircraft... which was triumphantly unveiled in a cobbled-together form in July 2007.

At the same time, Boeing quietly brought in two seasoned, high-level executives from the defense side of the company to bolster the Dreamliner leadership team, reports The Seattle Times.

Howard Chambers, 65, former head of Boeing’s Space and Intelligence Systems, was named deputy to Pat Shanahan, 787 Vice President and General Manager. John Van Gels, 64, former vice president of operations and supplier management at Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, will oversee management of the 787 supplier partners as well as final assembly operations.

A Boeing internal memo said the two will report directly to Shanahan, "providing counsel, leadership and hands-on assistance to address critical needs."

Dreamliner program spokeswoman Yvonne Leach said Chambers and Van Gels have been participating in program meetings in Everett, gathering data and offering guidance drawn from their experience.

Van Gels will also oversee modification of 787’s that are built before final Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification of the airplane.

Boeing must modify such planes to comply with the final certification standards. Some of the modification work will be done at Boeing Field, but due to lack of space, some will also be modified in San Antonio, TX.

"The fundamental design and technologies of the 787 remain sound," said Scott Carson, President and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "However, we continue to be challenged by start-up issues in our factory and in our extended global supply-chain."

In other Dreamliner team changes, Mike Delaney is the new chief project engineer. He was formerly vice president of engineering for the 747, 767, and 777 programs at the Everett facility.

787 deliveries are now expected to begin in early 2009, rather than late 2008.

FMI: www.boeing.com

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