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How Long Does It Take To Assemble An Aircraft  
User currently offlineAnthsaun From Mexico, joined Apr 2004, 544 posts, RR: 3
Posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 10932 times:

Whenever an airline places an order for a new aircraft it takes several months, even a few years before delivery. So, I´d like to know how long does it take to assemble a whole airplane from piece one to flight test.

What airframe takes longer to put on together?

What airframe is the fastest to assemble?



Thanks for the info...


Over 80 years in business say a lot about success
15 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinePdxcessna206 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 10934 times:

I think the 737 is the fastest Boeing. Not sure though.

User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5059 posts, RR: 15
Reply 2, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 10901 times:

I think I remember from taking the Boeing plant tour a few years ago that it takes about as long as it does for mother nature to "assemble" a baby - almost 9 months. That's if you count the entire process, like the fuselage plus final assembly. The actual act of final assembly on the moving line probably doesn't take long, but its everything else that must be built.

Bruce



Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlinePianos101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 10741 times:



Quoting Pdxcessna206 (Reply 1):
I think the 737 is the fastest Boeing. Not sure though.

The 737 is the fastest final assembly line that Boein has, yes. Their "normal" rate is much higher than any of the Everett programs (don't remember a number off the top of my head).

However, if you're talking "first single part" to "ticketed airplane" then the answer is years. There are some parts, be it electronics, certain fasteners, parts made of obscure material, etc., that have lead times of a few years. Now some of these parts are ordered "in bulk" without knowing whose aircraft it will be on, so the part can already be on its way before the actual order for that L/N is placed. However, from "one piece" to "finished product" the answer is a few years, at least for Boeing products.


User currently offlineBAe146QT From United Kingdom, joined Sep 2006, 996 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 10720 times:

That's really interesting Pianos, and brings up a further question or two from me;

1) Does this mean that "new" aircraft will be coming online when the next generation is already being constructed? E.g. Were 747 Classics being delivered to people who ordered them even after the 747-400 was online?

1a) is it really true that airlines maintain an older trim level in new aircraft because the customer would feel gypped if they had to fly ther same route on an older bird that doesn't have new fittings?

2) Does anyone know how often production has to be halted because of ADs? Assuming it is, do the manufacturers accelerate the build process to accomodate the AD, or do they shrug at the customer and say "Sorry - your plane's gonna be late. But it'll get used to that!"

Thank you!



Todos mis dominós son totalmente pegajosos
User currently offlinePianos101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 10678 times:



Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 4):

1) Does this mean that "new" aircraft will be coming online when the next generation is already being constructed? E.g. Were 747 Classics being delivered to people who ordered them even after the 747-400 was online?

Not sure what you mean by "online," but i'll say this. The last 47-400 has not begun final assembly yet (forget about the strike in this calculation), but parts of the wing for the -8 were delivered to Everett back in August (and other parts began being formed during the summer). So yes, airlines know that a next-gen product is beginning construction at the same time that their "older" generation is being readied for delivery. However, their purchase was probably a few years back and they knew what they were getting/paid for.

Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 4):
2) Does anyone know how often production has to be halted because of ADs? Assuming it is, do the manufacturers accelerate the build process to accomodate the AD, or do they shrug at the customer and say "Sorry - your plane's gonna be late. But it'll get used to that!"

From what I've dealt with, AD's do not directly stop the line. Here's how it would generally work: the FAA issues an AD that the airframer determines has to be incorporated into production aircraft (note that any kind of production change, from the FAA or not, goes through this same process). Once the change is determined, engineering, manufacturing, program management, etc, will all get together and determine the work statement for the change. This will involve non-recurring hours for engineering, and recurring hours on the floor to do something "different" to each aircraft than was previously done. After the complete work statement is view by all related parties, change management determines a L/N that the change will get incorporated on.


User currently offlineSoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days 2 hours ago) and read 10657 times:



Quoting Pianos101 (Reply 3):

Last week I read it takes three months to fabricate the 737 that is light on mods...


User currently offlinePianos101 From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 365 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 5 days ago) and read 10618 times:



Quoting Soon7x7 (Reply 6):
Last week I read it takes three months to fabricate the 737 that is light on mods...

Yeah, but you have to clarify "fabricate" and what "mods" are. When people say "3 weeks to assembly a 737," then they're right, it does probably take about 3 weeks from the beginning of, say, wing build-up to roll-out. But what about parts of the wing that have very long lead times.... I'm just saying that you have to be clear about what you're asking, like the OP said "from one piece to flight test."


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 8, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 10604 times:



Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 4):
1) Does this mean that "new" aircraft will be coming online when the next generation is already being constructed? E.g. Were 747 Classics being delivered to people who ordered them even after the 747-400 was online?

Absolutely. For example the 737 Jurassic was still in production when they had started to build the 737 Classic. Same with the 743 and 744. There is typically a transition period where some customers are still waiting on the previous mark, while some are getting the current one.

Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 4):
1a) is it really true that airlines maintain an older trim level in new aircraft because the customer would feel gypped if they had to fly ther same route on an older bird that doesn't have new fittings?

It is true, but that is not the reason. Airlines don't want multiple interiors and cockpits in their fleet if they can avoid it, for maintenance and piloting commonality reasons.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineRoseFlyer From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 9666 posts, RR: 52
Reply 9, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 10596 times:

It's hard to give a specific number because there items with lead times of over a year because of forgings and castings that must be made. Some items are batch produced. There are so many intermediate stages, that probably no one knows.

Quoting Pdxcessna206 (Reply 1):
I think the 737 is the fastest Boeing. Not sure though.

The 737 is in final assembly for 8 days. Typically it may take an extra day or two and then about 4-5 days additional before first flight. Fuselage on rail car to plane flying is around 3 weeks.

Everett planes take longer. I believe the 777 is closer to 21 days. The 787 though is supposed to be assembled in 4 days.

Quoting Pianos101 (Reply 7):
When people say "3 weeks to assembly a 737," then they're right, it does probably take about 3 weeks from the beginning of, say, wing build-up to roll-out.

Wings take quite a while to fabricate. It's about 3 weeks to have a wing ready for assembly.



If you have never designed an airplane part before, let the real designers do the work!
User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 10, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10565 times:



Quoting RoseFlyer (Reply 9):
The 787 though is supposed to be assembled in 4 days.

Sure, but that's a bit "misleading". In the case of the 787 less assembly will be done at Boeing and more large components will be finished in other places and then shipped to the assembly line.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineTdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 11, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 4 days 20 hours ago) and read 10559 times:



Quoting Anthsaun (Thread starter):
What airframe takes longer to put on together?

If we discount the crazy long-lead items and just stick to assembly, the 747 is probably the top of the heap for assembly time...it's huge and the rate isn't very high. The A380 probably took longer initially but their target rate is higher than the planned 747 rate so they should catch up (if they haven't passed the 747 already).

Quoting Anthsaun (Thread starter):
What airframe is the fastest to assemble?

Almost certainly the 737 (if we're just talking large jets)...Airbus has a higher production rate but uses more production lines to do it. I suspect final assembly on some Embraer or Bombardier lines is faster though.

Quoting BAe146QT (Reply 4):
2) Does anyone know how often production has to be halted because of ADs? Assuming it is, do the manufacturers accelerate the build process to accomodate the AD, or do they shrug at the customer and say "Sorry - your plane's gonna be late. But it'll get used to that!"

AD's virtually always have a timeline, so you wouldn't stop production for it. 3 and 5 years are fairly common timeframes. In addition to being bad business to jerk the line around too much, the process to inject a change in production is a lot different than modifying a ticketed airliner. An emergency AD could be done on the flight line without changing the production rate. Anything else, I think, they'd do on the line if it was relatively easy or else pass along to the customer. There's a letter that goes with every new delivery that says what AD's apply to the aircraft and which have been complied with.

Tom.


User currently offlineBartonsayswhat From Canada, joined Oct 2007, 435 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 18 hours ago) and read 10322 times:

dont know the time frame but here are some videos that were interesting to watch

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=AWCw5DSPhx4
737-700

http://de.youtube.com/watch?v=m14s7H3ZBnU
A340-600
(i was going to imbed them, but for somereason the forum didn't like the code)
enjoy


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17068 posts, RR: 66
Reply 13, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 10322 times:

Lately I have had lots of issues with code the site doesn't like. This includes editing posts with only code generated by the site itself!


"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineSoon7x7 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 14, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 6 hours ago) and read 10322 times:



Quoting Pianos101 (Reply 7):

The question was general as was the answer, AIRFRAME...nothing specific, just like the article I read...Generally three monthe to fabricate an airframe...I didn't write the article...I just read it.............


User currently offlineA10WARTHOG From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 325 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (5 years 11 months 3 weeks 2 days 4 hours ago) and read 10224 times:



Quoting Pianos101 (Reply 3):
The 737 is the fastest final assembly line that Boein has, yes. Their "normal" rate is much higher than any of the Everett programs (don't remember a number off the top of my head).

737 is a rate of like 1.33 a day
747 is a 3 week rate, I believe
767 is 1 a month
777 is a 3 day rate
787 is looking like 2 year rate


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