Boeing’s Albatross

In my year-end forecasts for 2010 I predicted:

-Boeing will finish a few Dreamliners but they will face many delays and problems.

Looks like I am going to be wrong again. There is a now a question if any of these troubled planes will be put into service this year. The latest problem is not with the body of the plane. It is the engine that is supposed to keep this beast in the air.

Bloomberg reported today that on August 2 the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engine literally blew up while being tested.

The explosion resulted in “limited debris” being released into the test facility,” Rolls-Royce spokesman Josh Rosenstock said.


Uncontained failures are “extremely rare” said Paul Hayess, safety director at U.K. aviation consultants Ascend Worldwide.

Think of this engine blowing up. It is the size of a cement truck.

RR is attempting to make this development a ‘no big deal’. But three weeks after the explosion the testing facility has not be reopened. So how big was that explosion? From the Bloomberg article:

Rolls-Royce could switch testing of the Trent 1000 to other locations around the world, according to a person familiar with the programs, who declined to be identified because the information isn’t public.

Earlier in August Boeing said that the first deliver of the Dreamliner to All Nippon Airlines might be delayed to sometime in 2011 due to “flaws with the structure”. Now we know that the engines may explode.

Boeing built a plane made of fiber that has structural flaws and an engine that took out the test sight. Do you want to fly in this plane? I don’t.

Ah! Well a-day. What evil looks
Had I from old and young,
Instead of the cross, The Albatross
about my neck was hung.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
Samuel Coleridge