Re: TV programme on 777

From:         Pete Mellor <pm@cs.city.ac.uk>
Date:         Thu, 19 Nov 92 12:22:53 GMT
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Jonathan, 

> Would anyone who saw the whole programme like to provide a
> brief summary in this forum? 

(A slightly more temperate response to your question! :-) 

The programme concentrated mainly on the design of the airframe, and the use 
of CAD systems to do this. It described how the structural calculations and 
spatial arrangement of components could be handled using 3-D movable graphics. 
The design system was intended to be "paperless", with electronic transfer of 
designs between engineers' workstations, instead of blue-prints being dropped 
in in-trays. 

Examples of the sort of problems they were shown tackling were "What weight 
of metal can we drill out of this structure and still leave it strong enough 
to bear the stress?", and "When the kitchen door opens, does it hit the knees 
of the first-cklass passengers?". 

There was quite a bit of time devoted to the design of the doors, with a 
management requirement to have them all identical to cut production costs, 
and the design problems this entailed. The poor old designer took three months 
to solve this one first time round, under pressure from what the manager 
described as a "management ploy". ("Well, if *you* can't do it, which 
consultant do you suggest we bring in to solve it for you?") On the second 
version of the design, the problem of door uniformity was solved in a few 
weeks, and by the third iteration it was down to a few days. 

It definitely did have the feel of a "Boeing commercial" about it, with lots 
of "gee-whizz" shots of designers manipulating computer graphics, and 
anecdotes of the "Yes, of course we had problems, but just look how we learned 
to overcome them!" variety. (See the door problem above.) 

It was an interesting programme, but I was disappointed to find only one 
passing reference to the flight control systems, having originally watched 
it in the hope of learning about Boeing's approach to fly-by-computer. 

Pete
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