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Boeing 777 PTQ
May 1, 2008 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Boeing 777 assembled in 4:13 (SLYT)
posted by backseatpilot (47 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
Cool. I was impressed that they crane lift half the plane. I would have expected it to just be built in-place.

If they're going to have a goofy soundtrack it needs Yakety Sax though.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:19 AM on May 1, 2008


Wow.

It looked like they were shuttling the pieces of the fuselage around a lot, both within and between buildings. I guess they have unrelated stuff to install--deckplates vs control systems vs wings vs interiors. Makes sense to do that on an assembly floor specifically designed for that particular job.
posted by DU at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2008


I don't know that I want to trust any aircraft where the footage of it being built would sync up perfectly with a yakety sax soundtrack.
posted by quin at 9:23 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


These kinds of logistics are amazing to me. I imagine it takes a lot of discipline to anticipate and document these procedures ahead of time.

"We need a giant tool that does nothing but rotate pieces of the fuselage 180 degrees"

"Why?"

"Because they arrive upside down."
posted by o2b at 9:26 AM on May 1, 2008 [7 favorites]


Those painting gantries are awesome. I also love that someone had to spec, design and build an enormous machine just to rotate part of the airframe.
posted by Skorgu at 9:27 AM on May 1, 2008


Dammit!
posted by Skorgu at 9:27 AM on May 1, 2008


I want a conceptually similar film, but of an Imperial Star Destroyer instead.

pew pew space lasers

Srsly tho, it reminded me a lot of all that time spent with Lego sets, except rather more expensive, and this one can actually fly.
posted by WalterMitty at 9:33 AM on May 1, 2008


Weird: same footage but a JAL plane, not a Delta plane comes out the other end....

Also, it makes you wonder how the Airbus is competitive when it's parts come pre-assembled from all over Europe with what must be huge transportation costs....
posted by Rumple at 9:35 AM on May 1, 2008


Boeing 777 assembled in 4:13

There's a 787 joke in here somewhere.
posted by furtive at 9:36 AM on May 1, 2008


Rumple, the 787 parts come from all over the place as well. Oh, wait...
posted by furtive at 9:37 AM on May 1, 2008


Will someone call Boeing and tell them it isn't 1988 anymore? That music is so ridiculously terrible they used it twice.

I was massively distracted the whole time I was watching the video, because I was mortally terrified that the music would get worse. And it did. Over and over again.

I'm having nightmares of some pointy-haired boss scooting and dooby-dooing around his office to that track. Over and over again. I make the mistake of walking past his office door on my way to the bathroom. The PHB is doing his awkward shuffle just as he sees me and "shoots" me with his finger and a belabored eye-wink. "Real catchy tune, eh? We'll be hearing this one at the start of all meetings from now on. Upbeat! Improves morale!" he gibbers at me like a monkey. In a suit.

The only satisfying way this can end is if I remove the CD from the CD player, crush it into shards with one hand, making a bloody fist around the shareds and then punching it right through the PHBs skull, which breaches the massive vacuum therein and kills everyone in the office with explosive decompression.

In the nightmare I just nod and smile, and proceed to the restroom to shit some important but buried part of my soul away. Again.
posted by loquacious at 9:40 AM on May 1, 2008 [9 favorites]


Man, that video looks so '80s. What's the deal? Not just the music, but even the hairstyles and computer monitors (CRTs running old-school X-Windows?)
posted by delmoi at 9:44 AM on May 1, 2008


You know, I hear they could've done it even faster had those giant, floating 7's not taken the first day and a half to clear out of the way.

/me hating long, drawn out title sequences in short video clips
posted by Mr. Anthropomorphism at 9:45 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


/me hating long, drawn out title sequences in short video clips

Amen.
posted by bz at 9:47 AM on May 1, 2008


It's Airplane! The musical!
posted by iamkimiam at 9:50 AM on May 1, 2008


Anyone who's geeky for this sort of thing probably knows it already, but in case not, if you get off on this sort of thing then you should definitely take the tour of the Boeing plant in Everett, WA (less than an hour drive north of Seattle) as part of your next Seattle-area vacation. It's even more impressive to see those giant aircraft pieces being moved around from (relatively) close up.
posted by aught at 9:53 AM on May 1, 2008


They were building 777's starting in '93, which is pretty close to the '80s.

Here's one where an Evergreen Group (shipping?) plane comes out the end, and one someone apparently edited with different goofy music and some other footage where the plane just has a Boeing logo at the end.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2008


Looks to me like the film might have been sped up.
posted by dobbs at 9:54 AM on May 1, 2008 [3 favorites]


Furtive: There's a 787 joke in here somewhere.

I was just working on that. Final assembly started on May 21, 2007. So I guess that gives us a 787 in 498,240:27, and counting.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:55 AM on May 1, 2008


Whenever I build something, At some point I always manage to drop a screw down inside the thing, and then have to turn the thing over and shake it out.

What they don't show you in the video is that the entire assembly hanger rotates 180 degrees and jiggles a bit, just in case any screws get dropped.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:57 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Why does it bother me that something that is supposed to hold together comes in so many pieces?
posted by Gungho at 9:59 AM on May 1, 2008


Holy Christ that was cool! Thank you! See? This is why I am not an anarcho-primitavist.
posted by Squid Voltaire at 10:18 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


What with the current state of airline security, I'm surprised no one's done a chmod.
posted by popcassady at 10:22 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Whenever I build something, At some point I always manage to drop a screw down inside the thing, and then have to turn the thing over and shake it out.

This is actually probably somewhat true. I had an uncle that was a machinist and general aircraft assembly tech for McDonnel-Douglas (MDAC) and one of the primary complaints on the floor was highly unergonomic working conditions leading to excessive foreign object damage (FOD, IE, loose screws or rivets lost in the airframe).

The assemblers would often spend long hours in odd or cramped positions trying to rivet things together. Upside down and overhead inside the wing root structures, in the belly of the fuselage, any cramped bulkhead.

In old, unintegrated airframe design, it was up to the manufacturing floor to figure out how to build it to spec, how to retool for the job, how to manage the workflow.

Now the manufacturing process is integrated with the design process. Because they learned that it did no good at all to try to save money by designing "more efficiently" if it took twice as long to figure out how to get a riveter in there. So in modern CAD/CAM, tooling is part of the design process - you can see if the tool (and human operater) will fit in the process before you ever even mill a single part. They actually run simulations to see how the human operator and tool fits into the frame and spaces in which they'll be working.

So, you get giant fuselage turntables that not only invert parts (which they could already do with gantry cranes) but you can rotate them incrementally so that the work surface is always easily accessible, and never at awkward angles like directly overhead or below the tool operator.

If you watch the video you can see this principle in action in a number of places. On the fuselage skin riveting, the airframe assembly, and on various control surfaces as they are hoisted to a comfortable working angle and then worked on in a precise sequence that enables more efficient and ergonomic human work.

This means less fatigue for the human worker on the floor, which means more attention to detail, which means less foreign object damage, less rebuilding, less "makefix" problem solving and more throughput with higher quality - above and beyond the "just in time" manufaturing style all that hardware enables.
posted by loquacious at 10:23 AM on May 1, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'd work that fast too if it meant I get the hell out of wherever they were blasting that horrid music.
posted by rooftop secrets at 10:23 AM on May 1, 2008


The painting was fantastic. However, this clip demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt why How It's Made does not feature G.E. Smith and the Saturday Night Live Band.
posted by ulotrichous at 10:24 AM on May 1, 2008


I want a conceptually similar film, but of an Imperial Star Destroyer instead.

That may very well be The Best Idea Ever Suggested In The History Of The Universe.

Attn: Lurking Graphics Wiz Kid Looking For a Project: Make it happen.
posted by bondcliff at 10:30 AM on May 1, 2008


I'll add something to loquacious' post by noting that foreign object damage doesn't mean the pilot's annoyed by a bolt rattling around, it means a bolt does this.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:34 AM on May 1, 2008


I'll add something to loquacious' post by noting that foreign object damage doesn't mean the pilot's annoyed by a bolt rattling around, it means a bolt does this.

Or even worse. A rivet or burr stuck in the threads of a screwjack used to actuate an elevator or rudder could bring a whole plane down.

And people who know me wonder why I panic a little in (engineered vehicular contraptions). Why I get nervous when they push their economy car to the edge of the envelope. Why seeing rusty rivets on planes makes me uncomfortable.

When I look at a plane, or a car, or even a bicycle, or any machine - I don't see a unitary object. I see a loosely organized pile of parts. I see thousands of rivets, and I see aluminum plate thinner than a pencil. When I look at the bulky engine cowling of a high-bypass turbofan, I see primary fans, compressor blades, turbine blades, fuel rings, burners. I see fuel pumps and bearings and shafts. I can easily visualize it all spinning and working together. I can visualize the heat and extreme conditions under which it operates. I see highly complicated, high energy machinery held together with little more than spit and baling wire.

Sorry if that's a little too Asperger's or nerdy for you, but it's how I see the world, and it's kind of frustrating and scary sometimes, to always see so much complication so clearly. No, I can't turn it off, damnit. Sure, I'll still fly. But don't be at all surprised if I analyze the engineering and/or maintainance of the craft with a very keen and knowledgeable eye. I'd probably feel better about it if I could do a walkaround of the plane myself and talk to some of the mechanics, but that's just not going to happen on common commercial flights.
posted by loquacious at 11:07 AM on May 1, 2008


That may very well be The Best Idea Ever Suggested In The History Of The Universe.

Attn: Lurking Graphics Wiz Kid Looking For a Project: Make it happen.


Do you have any idea how large a Star Destroyer is supposed to be?

We'll make this easy. Find a some videos of a shipyard doing "stack and build" big ship building. Choose a video of an aircraft carrier being built from plates. Cutting, welding, bulkhead forming, framing. Doors are installed, conduits for power and signalling. Then stack after stack of hundreds of small rooms being built, welded into modules, and shuttled off for assembly in the main stack. Just like Lego, except with rolled steel plate and lots and lots of high strength welding.

Now watch that video about ten or twenty thousand times. When you're done with that, we can watch the 1% of the exciting bits at the end where they weld on the surface plate and gun mounts and it actually looks like a Star Destroyer instead of the inside of a mega-condominium.

Why would they use this kind of ship building on a Star Destroyer? Because the form and design of it tells us this is how it was built. The jig-saw plate patterns, the "battleship" styled ramparts, the interior shots of bulkheads and doorways all suggest "shipyard construction". Also, that's how they did the Death Star, remember? Oh, god, I'm so nerdy.
posted by loquacious at 11:18 AM on May 1, 2008 [2 favorites]


Needs Philip Glass Koyaanisqatsi Music.
posted by OldReliable at 11:28 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thes makes me want ttttooo go at and dddoo mmmmooore amphetttttt-tamines and builld me a 7777777 wheeeeee..
posted by lalochezia at 11:29 AM on May 1, 2008


I liked the part where they attached the whatsit to the thingamabob.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:33 AM on May 1, 2008


Why would they use this kind of ship building on a Star Destroyer? Because the form and design of it tells us this is how it was built. The jig-saw plate patterns, the "battleship" styled ramparts, the interior shots of bulkheads and doorways all suggest "shipyard construction". Also, that's how they did the Death Star, remember? Oh, god, I'm so nerdy.
posted by loquacious at 2:18 PM on May 1


No, they wouldn't. That's not how you make Star Destroyers. They're like sculptures. As Michaelangelo said, you start with a giant asteroid and remove everything that isn't Star Destroyer.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:42 AM on May 1, 2008


You're right - it is much better with Yakety Sax. (You'll have to manually kill the volume on the cheesy original and skip ahead a bit).

Or, try the Koyaanisqatsi one.
posted by echo target at 11:47 AM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


I like how the soundtrack is like changing channels when SNL is a bad rerun, like it starts out all "LIVE FROM NEW YORK IT'S SATURDAY NIGHT" then through the plane building it's like "featuring! the Building Securty Manager! The Engineer! The Guy with the Tom Sellack Mustache! Special guests! the Fuselage assembly! The Landing Gear! The Systems Diagnostic Personnel!" and then when the plane is finished it's like they went "and STARRING! ... Joe Piscopo! Ladies and Gentlemen! Joe Pi--" *click* Oh awesome, Star Trek is on, and you drop the remote onto your comforter, as the plane takes off, and Patrick Stewart's warm, dulcet tones carry you gently to sleep.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 12:13 PM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


And then those jerks over at NASA go and do this to it.
posted by paddysat at 12:22 PM on May 1, 2008


Did they ever figure out why a 777 fell short of the runway at Heatrow in far less time than it took that video clip to assemble one? Maybe if they play the assemibly back in slow motion we'll see a screw missing or something.
posted by three blind mice at 1:27 PM on May 1, 2008


... *click* Oh awesome, Star Trek is on, and you drop the remote onto your comforter, as the plane takes off, and Patrick Stewart's warm, dulcet tones carry you gently to sleep.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:58 PM on May 1, 2008


TBM: The investigation board have put out a few initial reports of progress but haven't found a cause. Investigation is concentrating on the possibility of fuel supply problems I think. From memory there is a wikipedia page on it, google for BA38.
posted by markr at 3:12 PM on May 1, 2008


So in modern CAD/CAM, tooling is part of the design process

When I was working in the Military and Defense, this was huge in allowing us to put the F-22 together. Just as you say they designed the tools, as much as they could, around a generic six foot worker. Save for a few instances I was always rather comfortable getting my job done. Some of the guys I talked to who had worked in commercial said it usaully depended on what job you were working on, as far as comfortability was concerned.

A rivet or burr stuck in the threads of a screwjack used to actuate an elevator or rudder could bring a whole plane down.

Did they ever figure out why a 777 fell short of the runway at Heatrow in far less time than it took that video clip to assemble one? Maybe if they play the assemibly back in slow motion we'll see a screw missing or something.


Having worked for the company I can say without a doubt that I would never blame these things on Boeing. I also did some work at a Lockheed plant and was able to do a comparison and could tell without a doubt the specs were a hell of a lot tighter as far as what you could get away with (hole size, tightness of rivets, extra paint, glue, etc.). Also everytime a job is completed the area is gone over with a fine tooth comb to ensure not any loose debris/FOD is left in there. Sometimes this is completed multiple times on one job. Really these types of accidents could be directly linked back to the upkeep and maintenance by the company that owns the planes. After all Boeing sells a plane with something like a 30-year warranty as opposed to Sky Bus which I don't believe has a warranty.

Anyway, my favorite story of working at the Seattle plant was (besides working on fighter aircraft) was having the Space Station down the hall. Working the late shift I would walk down there just to take a look and say "Hi" to the really bored looking guard sitting in a seat next to it. I remember I found out they also did testing of some parts in the same building. I happened into a room one time and heard this loud slamming noise. As I turned a corner I found they were testing a very large wheel by...well slamming it into the ground, over and over. This was about two in the morning and the wheel was as tall as I was. Good times on the late shift.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:27 PM on May 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Plays well with the musical accompaniment of Autechre's 777.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:33 PM on May 1, 2008


Having worked for the company I can say without a doubt that I would never blame these things on Boeing.

Yeah, to be clear and reiterate this - I was not judging any particular company. I was just describing the workflow and how FOD is a problem that aircraft manufacturers handle with techniques like these.
posted by loquacious at 4:55 PM on May 1, 2008


I could only take about 15 seconds of the music. Horrible choice. I muted the video, then fired up some Phillip Glass and voila! Mini Koyannisqatsi.
posted by zardoz at 11:07 PM on May 1, 2008


Airbus equivalent
posted by Catfry at 1:03 AM on May 2, 2008


Shenanigans! It was sped up, here I thought they were actually putting together a Boeing 777-PTQ in 4:13. It's like watching a bad kung-fu movie. Sure, those moves are fast as lightning - they were recorded at 12 frames per second and played back at 24!

Oh, and John Cage's 4'33" should have totally been the soundtrack!
posted by substrate at 5:46 AM on May 2, 2008


The sort of dancing wheels at 2:16 was weirdly cute, somehow.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 7:52 AM on May 2, 2008


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