Veteran Boeing exec Fancher to retire this fall

Scott Fancher, a veteran Boeing program manager and member of the senior leadership team, will retire in September. He got the troubled and much-delayed 787 Dreamliner jet finally into service.

Scott Fancher, a veteran Boeing senior vice president who got the troubled and much-delayed 787 Dreamliner jet finally into service, will retire in September, the company announced Tuesday.

He arrived in Seattle in December 2008 from the defense side of the company to take over day-to-day running of the 787 program, which was then already two years behind schedule and struggling with massive production problems.

Fancher, 59, had to fix those and contend with myriad new issues that arose after he took over. Before he brought the jet over the finish line, the delay would stretch beyond three years.

In 2009, engineers discovered a structural flaw at the point where the wings join the body of the plane, and had to design and retrofit a fix, causing a six-month delay.

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In 2010, quality issues showed up in the tail sections arriving from Italian supplier Alenia — halting test flights and forcing another three-month delay.

Later that year, a serious in-flight electrical fire on a test flight set the program back again, and as the Dreamliner’s production woes piled up Boeing announced another seven-month delay.

Yet engineers slowly worked through each problem, and in September 2011, Boeing finally delivered the first 787 to All Nippon Airways of Japan.

After all the trouble with the initial 787-8 model, Fancher is credited with making the subsequent development of two more versions, the 787-9 and 787-10, relatively problem-free.

Fancher in 2012 moved to the 777 program as Boeing planned the new 777X model. He then was promoted to take over development of all new commercial airplane programs. In that…

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