Just seen a pic of the aircraft in the hangar and rather shocked to see the tail SECTION on the FLOOR!!. The tail is removed and so is the whole rear section..... I dont mean the apu section below the tail I mean you can see into the cabin from the rear, it looks like they have CUT the tail section off !!!
My assumption would be they won't simply patch up the damaged area, because if they do, a couple of years down the track, there will be metal fatigue - like the one that caused the China Airlines 742 to disintegrate in flight - so although it may look shocking, the a/c is nowhere near a write off... It is by far safer to remove them and replace them
No it was not. I know what pictures you are talking about and it was merely the aft bulkhead that had to be replaced. It was an all new part shipped from Japan and to change that it requires the decommission described.
They didn't cut the tail section. The rear section was detached at the point where the pressure bulkhead is located, the same points where the tail was installed during production. A new pressure bulkhead (built and shipped from Japan, as Airbus Lover had mentioned) was installed. This is the best way to ensure no latent failures will occur in the future. After the JAL 747 crash in 1985 and the CAL 747 crash a few years back (both had suffered tailstrikes and were 'repaired') Boeing aren't taking any more chances to repair the pressure bulkhead. Good move.
This is the first in-service 777 to have its tail removed. And NO the aircraft was nowhere near a write-off.
As for the cost, yes it cost millions USD (I know and I won't disclose).
The repairs have been carried out inside a hangar. It was absolutely and strictly forbidden to take pictures. If some pictures were taken, then with the risk of being fired. I doubt that somebody will publish pictures and risk a lot of troubles.
Pics taken were for official and internal use only - for Boeing, SR Technics & MAS. Those involved in the repair process would have seen the pics . Looks like some were leaked out. This is unfortunate. But I doubt you'll see them on the internet.
Just for the record, the JAL 747 bulkhead repair failed beacuse there was only one row of fasteners on the repair itself. Repairs should have a minimum of two rows of fasteners, and 2.5 to 3 is preferred. The fatigue failure was calculated to the cycle based on the repair assessment, post accident.