Re: Boeing 767 Cockpit Size

From:         Tony Heatwole <HEATWOLE@LANDO.HNS.COM>
Date:         30 Dec 92 12:55:24 PST
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I have a reprint of the Harvard Business School case study on
the Boeing 767 (#9-688-040, Rev. 2/89).  It's a fascinating
look at technology, manufacturing, and the culture of the
Boeing Corporation.  With regard to the 767 crew size:

    "In August 1981, eleven months before the first scheduled
    delivery of Boeing's new airplane, the 767, Dean Thornton,
    program's vice president - general manager, faced a critical 
    decision.  For several years, Boeing had lobbied the FAA
    for permission to build wide-bodied aircraft with two-, rather
    than three person cockpits.  Permission had been granted late
    in July.  Unfortunately, the 767 had originally been designed
    with a three-person cockpit, and 30 of those planes were
    already in various stages of production.

    " . . . Engineers concluded that the thirty-first 767 was
    still far enough from completion that it, and all subsequent
    planes, could be built with two-person cockpits without
    modification.  Thirty planes, however, were in relatively
    advanced stages of production.  Some were nearly ready to
    to be rolled out and flown; others had complete cockpits but
    were not yet tested; others had bare cockpits without any
    electronics installed.  But since all thirty were being built 
    according to the plane's original, three-person cockpit design,
    all would require some modification.

    " . . . Customers were notified of the additional cost and
    delivery delay they could expect on these thirty planes.  The
    impact was not large: a small percentage increase in costs and
    an average delay of one month from promised delivery dates.
    All but one airline chose to have their planes built with 
    two-person cockpits."

So, the interesting question is, what was the *one* airline, and
what has become of their 3-person cockpit 767s?  Were these
planes later converted to 2-person cockpits?  I don't know the
answers, but I'm curious.

Interestingly, Boeing decided to complete the first 30 767s as
originally designed, for 3-person cockpits.  Then, they converted
the 30 (less the set to be delivered as 3-person cockpit) to
2-person operation as a batch.  This avoided the safety and
manufacturing problems of trying to convert a number of planes in
different stages of manufacture.

Tony Heatwole
Gaithersburg, MD
heatwole@hns.com