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American Airlines announces an order for Boeing 787 "Dreamliners"

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Oct 15th, 2008, 10:57 AM
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American Airlines announces an order for Boeing 787 "Dreamliners"

AA just announced that they placed a firm order for 42 of "Dreamliners" and have an option for 52 more. First delivery expected in 2012, with the last one in 2018.
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Oct 15th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Actually not 52, they got the "rights to acquire 58 additional 787 Dreamliners" according to Boeing.
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Oct 15th, 2008, 11:17 AM
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I stand corrected....
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Oct 15th, 2008, 11:54 AM
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They also reiterate the plan to retire DC-9's and replace with 737s. All good news in my book.
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Oct 15th, 2008, 12:24 PM
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AA has DC-9's ???
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Oct 15th, 2008, 01:19 PM
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Not DC-9 per se, but MD-80's. All the same lineage.
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Oct 15th, 2008, 01:33 PM
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Not that surprising. Personally, I am not at all excited about the 787. Once the airlines cram 9-abreast in coach (and all of them will), this will be the most uncomfortable plane this side of a 10-abreast 777.
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Oct 15th, 2008, 02:22 PM
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Yeah, all MDs started out as DCs.

A friend of mine in AA's maintenance department says that the demise of the Douglas brand resulted from the infusion of a lot of McD space guys after Apollo. They didn't have the same engineering priorities as the old-line Douglas transport crew, and cut corners for the sake of cheap over safe.

AA191 was symptomatic of this new engineering philosophy.
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Oct 15th, 2008, 04:52 PM
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I worked on the DC-9/MD-80 line in Long Beach, right around the time Douglas got eaten by McDonnell.

It had very little to do with any of the space systems people from McD, believe me (and tell your AA friends they're all wet, Robes.) Don Douglas Jr. - who took over the company from Don Sr. - was an unwilling and uninspired CEO who was miserably underqualified to run a big aerospace company.

It was quality control that killed the DCs. I watched it happen. Planes being delivered with fuselages out of true, big bits of DC-8s being dropped from gantry cranes, horrendously wasteful materiel and labor practices, deadlines lost, then reestablished, then lost again, supply chain and subs that couldn't find elephants in telephone booths, and corporate management that was much more interested in selling rockets to the soldiers than in nurturing its commercial aviation customers.

If anything, McDonnell saved Douglas' bacon, at least for the commercial aircraft division. The MD80 series sold extremely well and is still a great workhorse around the world - it really was the heir to the DC3s and DC6s. It was the DC-10/MD-11 that really drove in the nails - Boeing ate McDD's lunch on widebodies and all McDD could do was offer up Harry Stonecipher (who totally kissed off commercial aviation in favor of defense work) as a gift to Boeing. Unhappily, due to philandering CEOs at the Lazy B, Harry got to run the whole show for a brief and unhappy time. As in nearly ran into the ditch.
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Oct 17th, 2008, 09:26 AM
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It had very little to do with any of the space systems people from McD, believe me (and tell your AA friends they're all wet, Robes.)

The people who died in the AA191 accident were killed by two design flaws in the DC-10:

1) The slats and flaps were "air-loaded" rather than being extended by fail-safe motors, as Douglas engineers would have specified. Thus, when hydraulic pressure was lost, the surfaces retracted, lift was lost, the wing stalled, and the pilots lost control.

2) There was no redundancy in the wing hydraulics. Both the primary and backup lines were routed through the same area, and thus were both vulnerable to damage by the same event. The stick shaker and engine electrical systems were not redundant, thus the crew had no way of knowing what to do.

These are the reasons why a simple engine separation killed 273 people in Chicago. Boeing aircraft, by contrast, have undergone a good number of such events without a single injury, much the loss of an aircraft.

The UA232 crash in Sioux City resulted from all three hydraulic systems being disabled by a single engine explosion. Other manufacturers route hydraulic lines to forestall such an occurrence.

My friends at AA would commiserate over the lousy working conditions you endured, but their engineering judgment trumps yours in my book.
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Oct 17th, 2008, 09:46 AM
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A friend of mine in AA's maintenance department says that the demise of the Douglas brand resulted from the infusion of a lot of McD space guys after Apollo. They didn't have the same engineering priorities as the old-line Douglas transport crew, and cut corners for the sake of cheap over safe....

The people who died in the AA191 accident were killed by two design flaws in the DC-10:


I don't know that we're disagreeing, but I also am not intimately familiar with timing details about the engineering work on various DC-10 systems. But the overall DC-10 design was well under way before McDonnell and Douglas merged. To my knowledge there were very few engineers who came to the DACo commercial aircraft division from McDonnell - very different product lines.

There was very much a generational/cultural change in Douglas between the Santa Monica (propeller era) and Long Beach (jet) commercial aircraft phases. Once it became clear to Douglas that Boeing was going to trump them with the 707, a lot of the culture at Douglas changed. It went to a hurry-up mentality, which can be the mother of troubles.

I should point out also that Douglas was lead on the S-IV-B stage for Saturn (the big bits below the Apollo capsule) and the DC-10 was in service before Apollo ended IIRC. I don't know how many McD engineer types came to California - not very many; DACo had a lot of its own (way too many, hence the big layoffs that accompanied the merger.)
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Oct 17th, 2008, 10:22 AM
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Perhaps we should send an E-mail requesting AA to configure their 787's 3x4x2 in economy.
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