I found a blog entry on an Australian airline blog called Plane Talking that, I think, has found an important discrepancy in Boeing’s PR campaign for the 787. As someone who actually works for an Aerospace Company, I wanted to explore things a bit more. Boeing’s Commercial Aircraft President Ray Conner has been saying “Boeing has compiled 200,000 hours of analysis and testing on what might have gone wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.”
A significant portion of my own job is to manage resources on engineering efforts. 200,000 hours of engineering effort would translate into an effort that would ordinarily executed over 2 to 4 years and by roughly 30 to 40 engineers. That is a non-trivial effort. Let me re-state the facts: 200,000 hours of engineering time would translate into a project of about 3 years consuming from 30 to 40 engineers.
So, how did Boeing accomplish all of this in just about 1 month? Let’s assume that engineers worked 7 day weeks and 12 hour days for about 1 month. That would mean about 560 to 580 engineers attacked this problem over the course of a month to find, analyze and suggest a strong interim fix with testing behind it in just one month.
Sorry but there is no way that Boeing stood up between 500 and 600 engineers virtually overnight to attack that problem and have a solution. It would take Boeing a weeks of meetings to allocate that many engineers to such an effort. So either 200,000 engineering hours haven’t gone into solving this problem or, if they have, they started a long time ago long before the battery problem was highlighted by two incidents days apart.
Credibility of Boeing is sinking fast.