FDS Proudly Announces Boeing P8A Poseidon Contract
Earlier this year, Boeing's Military Group (Seattle) presented FDS with a contract to convert a B737-500 to a B737NG Series for their very sophisticated P-8A Multi-mission Maritime Aircraft project. The P-8A, a military derivative of the Next Generation 737-800 commercial aircraft, is the US Navy's replacement platform for the P-3C. The converted cockpit was delivered recently by FDS and Boeing is now on a Demonstration Tour throughout the USA utilizing a converted tractor/trailer.
The Aircraft Nose (N915UA)
The first step for us was to source a retired United 737-500 nose section. We looked in several places and found a few decent candidates. Our first location choice was on the Eastern Side of the continent for the sake of shipping. We managed to locate a B737-200 and flew down for a close up look. Very intact but had been sitting for so long it was not ideal for the schedule we had. Moving on we found two B737-500, Ex-United Shuttle Aircraft. The Aircraft frames were totally intact, wings and flight surfaces removed, interiors stripped to bare metal... Walking to the front end we were astounded at how much of the flightdeck was intact. Ideal really. The B737-500 has more similarities to the NG and this made things much better from a conversion standpoint. The -500 series has a three bay pedestal as opposed to the two bay -200 series. This had some serious implications when it came top rebuilding as we could use the real pedestal structure.
The Throttle setup in the -500 series is also different in the "Stab Trim" area. This made for a real cosmetic improvement. The forward CDU bay was a big area of concern for us and in turn Boeing. the -500 series is designed with three bays. 5.75" standard width per bay. We had to get two CDUs and a Lower "Glass" EICAS display into this space. The math did not favor us and we had to stop and think before going forward. One of the biggest implications in all of this was the Rudder Pedals. The spacing of the rudder pedals was fixed. To widen the CDU bay we would encroach on the inboard Rudder pedals. Brian and Peter discussed this over the phone and agreed that were was enough room to adjust the width at the top of the CDU bay and to slope it inwards as we got closer to the pedals. Pictures of this can be seen. Knowing that we had found the best candidate and would have all of the major elements already in place (Yokes, pedals etc) we decided to go forward and make an offer for N915UA. After a few minutes on the phone we had this done and in place. There was also N911UA sitting next to its sistership and we made a few calls about this aircraft. We negotiated on behalf of one of our customers and bought her as well.
FDS is lucky to have Steve Cos as a resource and we called on him to help us with removing the nose sections from the flatbed and to help with the cutting and removal of all the elements that we would not need. Steve used Flatbed "Tow Trucks" to pull the Nose sections off the truck and to lower them to ground level. Pretty clever guy , saved us hundreds of dollars by not having to hire a crane.
PART 2 of THE BOEING/FDS CONTRACT COMING SOON