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Originally published Thursday, May 2, 2013 at 6:07 PM

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Boeing South Carolina will design 737 MAX part

Boeing South Carolina will design and perhaps build the inlet for the nacelles of the 737 MAX, the first airplane work there that isn’t for the 787 Dreamliner.

Seattle Times aerospace reporter

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Boeing’s South Carolina manufacturing complex has won its first airplane work that isn’t for the 787 Dreamliner.

The jet-maker’s North Charleston facility will design and perhaps build the carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic composite inner linings of the nacelles — the pods enclosing the jet’s engines — for the forthcoming 737 MAX.

For the design and certification work, Boeing has posted openings for 20 stress-analysis engineers in North Charleston, which is a nonunion site.

On the current 737NG model, the nacelle inlet is supplied by the Goodrich unit of United Technologies.

The MAX is the new derivative scheduled to enter service in 2017.

Boeing spokeswoman Cris McHugh said the company is “moving more design work inside Boeing to strengthen our production system, protect our intellectual property and enhance our long-term competitiveness.”

After Renton was awarded final assembly of the MAX in 2011, engineers there had expected to get the work.

But last fall, Boeing sent the initial design work to its facility in Long Beach, Calif.

At that time, Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said the MAX team in Renton “is not sufficiently staffed for this work.”

Birtel said the Long Beach placement was temporary and that Boeing had told the engineering union the design work would later be assigned to wherever the inlet was to be built.

“We have settled on South Carolina,” said McHugh on Thursday. “The work will transition there.”

Last month, Boeing announced its composites fabrication facility in Winnipeg, Canada, would be expanded “mainly to construct the one-piece composite acoustic inner barrel” for the 737 MAX nacelle inlet.

McHugh said the current plan is for Boeing Winnipeg to supply the acoustic inner barrel for the MAX to South Carolina.

Dominic Gates: (206) 464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com

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