We usually only hear about First-of-a-kind costs in the nuclear industry.
Believe it or not, it exists in other industries as well…..
December 3, 2011
Unsellable 787 going on world tour
Boeing has turned Dreamliner No. 3 into a "show piece" plane that will travel the globe for six months promoting the 787 to airlines and passengers.
MIKE SIEGEL / THE SEATTLE TIMES
When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. When initial design flaws give you a cutting-edge aircraft that no one would buy, make a flying commercial.
Boeing has turned Dreamliner No. 3 into a "show piece" plane that will travel the globe for six months promoting the 787 to airlines and passengers, beginning with a scheduled arrival Sunday in China. Later this month it will stop in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Nairobi, Kenya, before heading to Qatar — all spots where the local airline is awaiting its first 787.
It's not the first time Boeing has toured a new plane to raise its profile in distant corners of the world.
But it's the first time the company has written off three initial flight-test aircraft as unsellable. Boeing took a $2.5 billion write-off in 2009 when it acknowledged that the Dreamliners designated ZA001, ZA002 and ZA003 would have "no commercial value" because of "the inordinate amount of rework and unique and extensive modifications" they required.
As plane No. 3 prepared this past week to head for Shanghai and beyond, No. 1 was flown to Palmdale, Calif., to be put into storage with its engines removed. ZA002 is still in use for flight tests but soon will also be stored away.
The touring Dreamliner has been stripped of test equipment and refurbished to display standard economy seating and the plane's advanced lighting, as well as features that most passengers wouldn't ordinarily see — the overhead crew-rest compartment and "a luxurious business-class cabin with a dozen lay-flat seats," according to Boeing.
Spokeswoman Lori Gunter says 25 to 30 employees will accompany the plane on its various stops.
Though residents in the Puget Sound area may be accustomed to seeing the Dreamliner with its distinctive swooping wings, Boeing has delivered only two so far, to Japan's All Nippon Airways.
The planes' visits draw considerable interest, says Gunter, who's accompanied Dreamliner flights to airports as diverse as Oshkosh, Wis., and Australia. "Every time we come into a place it's just overwhelming, the people that come out just to see it land," she reports.