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Falcon 24 Aircraft: Project Management Report


Introduction

This study provides an overview of the project dedicated to the manufacture and assembly of components of a supersonic jet in France. The system components will be manufactured in five different countries and transported to the assembly point in a supply chain system linking France with the five production points (Schwalbe 2015). Here, market analysis shows that the aircraft will have a fair market value to meet the rising demand for fast air traveling in Europe, which a unique service to be offered in the airline industry.

Objective

The project was initiated to design and build a Falcon 24 aircraft that has a top speed of 2,400 km/h in the company’s dedicated assembly plant in Toulouse, France.

Business Objectives

In line with the growing potential market size and growth in demand for unique air travel services, the business objective is to design and build an aircraft to create jobs and provide high-speed air travel services.

1 When the high-speed aircraft comes into operation, the new service will reduce operational expenses by $1 million per year.
2 The profit margin will increase by 20%.
3 The project will be delivered within 15% of the approved budget and 90% of the approved time frame.

Purpose and justification

According to Cooke-Davies (2002), the project involves the design and production of an aircraft that has a supersonic speed of 2,400 km/h. The aim is to address the needs of the increasing number of customers who want to travel faster for business functions and official duties. Evidence of the existence of the market is based on statistical data that was generated from market intelligence reports by different airlines (Cooke-Davies 2002). The Aircraft will tap into the increasing size of the market, which is an opportunity that has not been exploited by other aircraft manufacturers.

The aircraft uses the state of the art technology that has been tested and proved to work efficiently.

High-level requirements

According to Jannadi and Almishari (2003), the high-level requirements are designed to provide the shortest traveling time between different destinations. This provides the necessary assurance of safety, security, and comfort. In addition, customers can access the aircraft from different airports and can land on exiting airfields that service existing aircraft (Schwalbe 2015). The aircraft incorporates state of the art technologies that enable pilots to direct it without the need for thousands of hours of piloting experience.

Deliverables

  • Deliverable 1: This a 4 engine aircraft that meets range and altitude standards and specifications required for high-speed performance aircraft. The engines are required to attain the thrust levels based on a cost-value analysis of the engines that will be attached to the aircraft mainframe.
  • Deliverable 2: A tested and operational aircraft that meets all the safety and operational standards to ensure the safe and secure transportation of customers. That is beside the ability to achieve the higher maximum certified weights aimed at enhancing the aircraft’s maximum takeoff weight. This enables the buyer the flexibility of reselling the aircraft if the need arises.
  • Deliverable 3: A detailed manual that shows step by step instructions on various issues such as how to operate the aircraft, carry out the required maintenance, and support other emergency services.
  • Deliverable 4: A sustainable body design that is likely to last for 50 years and beyond before it is retired from service based on Airworthiness Directives.
  • Deliverable 5: There is a huge profit potential given the large size of the market with a high return on investment.
  • Deliverable 6: Because it is a high-speed plane, the aircraft will be designed to attract and accommodate additional services such as good quality meals, onboard Shower, fair costs, and high security.
  • Deliverable 7: The aircraft will incorporate the following equipment, communication, fire, training, services, and peculiar support equipment. In each case of the project scope, it will be necessary to ensure that the project management techniques and tools are applied appropriately.
  • Deliverable 8: Acceptance criteria: Different project management tools will be used to address the deliverables in each case of product development to the time of delivery.

Communication plan

This is an important tool of the project management plan that was developed to show the relationship and key components of the project management plan. The key elements that were incorporated into the project include the stakeholders, the stakeholder register, requirements description, risk management plan, and stakeholder expectations.

A snapshot of the interior that illustrates the comfort of customer experiences when traveling using the aircraft is shown in figure 1.

Interior.
Figure 1. Interior.

The project management tools evaluation criteria were based on the following points.

Task scheduling: Cost of aircraft-, the capacity of 100 passengers, speed is 2400 km/h, cabin pressurization is 6,000–8,000 feet, Flight characteristics is maximum cruise altitude of 18,300 meters, Brakes and undercarriage consists of 18 degrees high angle of attack, droop nose is made to be 5° below the standard horizontal position, and it has a nonstop flight range across the Atlantic Ocean.

Program Evaluation Review Technique

The scheduling tools that were evaluated include the Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and Gantt Charts (Schwalbe 2015). Each of the tools has its merits and demerits. The key characteristics of the PERT method include identifying the aircraft design and production activities and the expected milestones and the proper sequence of the activities that could lead to the production of an aircraft.

A network diagram will be drawn which shows the beginning and end of each activity, the resources consumed in each case, and a clef estimation of the time and resources required for each activity (Verzuh 2015). In this case, the optimistic, pessimistic, and most likely time will be calculated to determine the time taken per each activity.

Using the PERT method will provide the company with several benefits, which include better planning and scheduling of aircraft production activities, a better estimation of the required resources, avoidance of repetitive activities, and the ability to reschedule activities in case of problems occur. Despite the use of the PERT method, it was seen prudent to evaluate the use of the Gantt chart based on its usability and benefits to the project.

Critical path method

Research studies show that the critical path method is a reliable and effective approach that can be used to show the relationship between two activities in an activity diagram. The rationale was to minimize efficiency in project time and costs and to enable the project manager to effectively monitor the project cash flow. The path process, the inputs and expected outputs to and from the critical path include the project tasks and the time for each task (Verzuh 2015).

Besides, it is appropriate for the project manager to clearly indicate task dependencies and the sequence in which each of the tasks is done. In the context of the project at hand, the tasks include developing a scope statement, which shows the details of the project, the requirements, and justification for the project among other tasks. Tasks that are likely to take the longest time and the shortest time can be determined using this method.

Gantt chart

If used, the Gantt chart is a tool that provides the project manager with the capability to visually identify the time assigned to each activity, making it easy and simple to understand the flow of activities (Schwalbe 2015). It is also possible and easy to develop a ‘what if’ analysis using the Gantt chart because of clearer communication and a better indication of the actual progress of each activity. The tool also provides the project manager with complete control of the project and more visibility. Other tools that might be used to ensure that the resources and tie are optimized properly include the critical chain method, trend analysis, and earned value management.

Work breakdown structure

The work breakdown structure provides a breakdown of the tasks. The rationale is to boost accountability and transparency by enabling the team manager to know and understand the project team members. Using the tool enables the project manager to identify the risks and threats in order to define appropriate risk mitigation strategies and contingency plans in case the risks cause serious adverse effects. In addition, it is imperative to use the WBS to monitor the project progress based on the project details and boost productivity. However, the weaknesses related to the use of WBS include time-consuming, the problem of identifying the requirements, putting together very many tasks to perform, and the inability to get some details correct.

  1. Resource management: The project manager will use multiple documents to appropriately assign the resources available to ensure efficient and effective utilization of resources including using priority status and task assignments.
  2. Collaboration: The free flow of information between different manufacturing points will be done using secure web-based applications to share data and knowledge on the production of aircraft component parts before they reach the appointment of assembly.
  3. Time tracking: This will allow the project manager to be able to track the design and production activities to ensure that each activity is on track and within the situated schedule.
  4. Design and construction process: The activities are closely linked. Each cycle of the project life factored the following activities to ensure that the resources were properly utilized. The elements include satisfying conditions peculiar to the construction site, compliance with the local environmental standards, and little demand for changes to the design of the product due to rapid technological changes.

Responsibility for shop drawing: The responsibility of designing will be provided by the trained and well-skilled engineers. However, the project manager in consultation with engineers will source appropriate materials and technology for the construction of the aircraft.

Economic feasibility: As detailed in figure 2, in order to increase profit and make the project economically feasible, the assembly point of the aircraft will be based at one central point to ensure that the cost of production is kept to a minimum. However different components will be manufactured in different countries to optimize the cost of production and labor so that the costs are kept as low as possible. Increasing returns to scale will trigger a decrease in the cost of production in order to keep the average cost of production as low as possible.

Graph

Risk Assessment

Each project has anticipated and unanticipated risks. It is worth it for the project manager to identify the risks and put in place appropriate risk mitigation measures or contingency plans to address the risks.

Recession

The economic uncertainty risks can be ameliorated by forecasting demand for the high-speed aircraft, use insurance premiums, increase the emergency funds, seek for new markets, and in extreme cases file for bankruptcy.

Supply Chain Problems

Supply chain risks can be addressed by establishing new and alternative product delivery lines, assessing the current supply chain risks, empowering the manufacturers of different components, and taking control of logistics services. Dedicated manufacturers shoal also engage each other in identifying and solving logistics problems.

Backlog of Orders

The fourth risk could be a backlog of orders if the company faces a steep demand for its aircraft. Such a scenario causes a backlog of unfulfilled orders. The risk can be minimized by forecasting demand, adopting parallel production, and use a calibrated backlog risk matrix to minimize the risk.

Asset risks

The fifth risk is asset risk. Asset risks arise when assets that are used for the production of the aircraft cannot be resold (Jannadi & Almishari 2003). The risks can be minimized by asset rebalancing, asset allocation, cost averaging, and prediction if the market trends.

Risk prioritization

Risk management experts have shown that one key area in risk management is risk prioritization. In this case, it is critical to note that once the risks have been prioritized, risk mitigation strategies arise. Among the risk mitigation strategies that have been suggested include the use of insurance cover. However, insurance cover is not always appropriate for each risk that has been covered.

Risk Mitigation

Risk mitigation strategies that address the economic uncertainties include incorporating flexibilities in the design of the aircraft so that it can be readily sold and resold to another liquid and active market. It is also imperative to formulate a policy to mitigate the asset risks to avoid losing a significant amount of money in case of a decrease in the company’s investments. The policy provides directions on how to select those assets that have high retention value and investing in the use of benchmarks to identify investment areas.

Detailed market analysis

The risk mitigation measures that were suggested and put in place to address the risks include conducting a detailed market analysis of aircraft market-driven factors that revealed the aircraft order book, the financing environment, market penetration, secondary market prospects, and product life cycle. Typically, the lessors risk only (LRO) could be used as the basis to determine the level of equity investment with a wider usage based on large market size.

The rationale is that uncertain economic conditions are risks that affect 35% of the global commercial fleets. This will enable the manufacturers to be shielded from low-value volatility that affects most of the aircraft manufacturers (Jannadi & Almishari 2003). Besides, the research has established that the order book has the prospect of being filled with a big inventory of orders. Despite the aircraft being the first model to be manufactured and released into the market, its order book is robust but not excessive, which is an indicator of a high risk of lease rates and market value.

Besides, it is worth noting that the current global economy is functioning well despite some ripples here and there. Any cancelation of eve a single order could cause considerable harm. The critical aspect to keep in mind includes ensuring reliability and performance as a true measure of value. The world economy is expected to grow by 3% of its GDP. Another measure is to optimize demand and capacity, which is provided by the newly introduced look aircraft.

Supply Chain Issues

Supply chain problems that involve the first, second, and third-tier suppliers constitute very important risks to be addressed. This is achieved by effectively coordinating and collaborating different production points, putting in place measures such as early warning systems to generate alerts of any disruptions to ensure a sustained supply of products and raw materials to avoid the possibility of delays in production. Another approach that has been suggested as an effective supply chain risk mitigation strategy is to apply a predictive modeling technique to identify the probable risks and associated impact on the production of the aircraft.

Posture training

Miller and Lessard (2001) argue that to accurately mitigate occupational health risks, a number of approaches that have been applied in similar industry situations also qualify to be applied in the current situation. Among the mitigation strategies includes posture training of employees working in the manufacturing plants, limiting the time spent in awkward positions, and the use of ergonomic posture training tools.

Jannadi & Almishari (2003) note the importance of incorporating methods that are used as mitigation against backlogs, which is a situation where increasing demand for aircraft creates problems with the manufactures and supply chain pressures. To prevent rate ramp-up problems, it is critical to identify the source of the ramp-up risk and the use of rapid supplier assessment to address the problem. This causes a highly pragmatic situation to identify sources of the risks and how to address them.

Contingency Plan

A contingency plan was devised that consists of measures to take to ensure In matters of the global economy, the contingency plan associated with the risks includes establishing a strong partnership with the market to ensure reliability and effective delivery of a high-quality product.

Risk description How to minimize risk Contingency plan
  1. Uncertain global economic conditions
Forecast demand Shrinking the production lines
  1. Supply chain
Earlier supply of components Create a double supply chain system
  1. Occupational health risks and injuries
Treatment plan Employee rotation
  1. Backlog of orders
Early planning Establish stakeholder engagements
  1. Asset risks
Production-based on-demand schedule Meeting customer specification requirements

Key Milestones Within the Project

A well-managed project is achieved through reference points known as project milestones that are used to address the business goals and objectives. This is a detailed discourse of the project that was started to design and build the Falcon 24 aircraft which has a top speed of 2,400 km/h. A detailed review of the project revealed ten key project milestones which include a scope statement, project charter, the project plan, business objectives, project costs, system engineering, requirements analysis, certification documents, project communication plan, and risk management plan.

That is in addition to a conceptual design of the propulsion system and integration and testing documents. The aircraft will operate between the European cities at supersonic speeds of 2400 km/h based on its functional and non-functional requirements.

The functional requirements of the supersonic aircraft with an engine that has a thrust matching with a thrust to weight ratio of 0.76 and a wing loading value of 133.8 Lbf/ft2. According to Liberatore, Pollack-Johnson, and Smith (2015), the project charter is another milestone, which is a document that provides information on the project details, and the business need to be addressed. It also provides details of the project leadership.

  1. 1st milestone: Creation and completion of a project charter. Design development-This is where a meeting is held to present the design concept. Start of the project.
  2. 2nd milestone: Create a system engineering documents which details the entire concept of the aircraft to the stakeholders. Begin the third milestone and end of the first milestone.
  3. 3rd Milestone: Review meetings are held on the design concept. This step overlaps with the 2nd milestone.
  4. 4th Milestone: System and sub-system components are reviewed. This is the end of the 1st milestone and overlaps with the second milestone.
    1. Four Phases of the Engineering Design Process (EDP).
    2. Concurrent Engineering.
    3. Systems Engineering (SE).
  5. 5th milestone: Meeting to review system and subsystem components and appropriateness with the model being developed and suitability to aircraft demands.
  6. 6th milestone: Phase activities in detail. This is the end of the 3rd milestone and the beginning of the 6th milestone.
    1. Pre-step I – Concept Studies.
    2. Steps I – Technology Development.
    3. Step II – Preliminary Design and Technology Completion.
    4. Step III – Final Design and Fabrication.
    5. Step IV – System Assembly, Integration, Test and Launch (SAITL).
    6. Step V – Operations, Sustainment, and Closeout.
  7. 7th milestone: Meeting on the successful management of the systems engineering project. This is the beginning of the 7th milestone at the end of the 6th milestone. The project is then handed over to the manufacturer.

Conclusion and Recommendations

In conclusion, the project that was initiated to design and build a supersonic aircraft that could reach a speed of 2400 km/h was successful. The key project milestones include the project scope statement, project charter showing the interdepartmental relationship, and the project manager, the communication plan that enables the effective sharing of information between project stakeholders and the project manager.

The other milestones include the system engineering documents and a risk management plan. This provides a list of anticipated risks, risk mitigation, and contingency plans in case of the risks becoming critical. An evaluation of different tools that could be used for project scheduling revealed at least two key tools. The Program Evaluation Review Technique (PERT) and the critical path method were evaluated for use in the project management cycle. The critical path method shows clearly the beginning and end of aircraft production tasks. It is recommended that further studies should be conducted to determine the sustainability of the project to withstand pressure loads and the thermal effects due to the high speed.

References

Cooke-Davies, T 2002, ‘The “real” success factors on projects’, International journal of project management, vol. 3, no. 20, pp. 185-190.

Jannadi, O A & Almishari, S 2003, ‘Risk assessment in construction’, Journal of construction engineering and management, vol. 5, no. 129, pp. 492-500.

Liberatore, M J, Pollack-Johnson, B & Smith, C A 2001, ‘Project management in construction: Software use and research directions’, Journal of construction engineering and management, vol. 2, no. 127, pp. pp.101-107.

Miller, R & Lessard, D 2001, ‘Understanding and managing risks in large engineering projects’, International Journal of Project Management, vol. 8, no. 19, pp.437-443.

Schwalbe, K 2015, Information technology project management, Cengage Learning, New York.

Verzuh, E 2015, The fast forward MBA in project management, John Wiley & Sons New York.

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