More safety problems found with 787 Dreamliner – 900 jets may need inspecting

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Boeing has announced the likely delay in deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner after confirming that it has identified three production flaws. This could be a major problem for Boeing as it has pinned its hopes on the Dreamliner as a source of cash revenue to offset the financial crisis originally created by safety problems with the 737 MAX and which has been exacerbated by the knock-on effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The massive drop in demand for air travel has seen many carriers either cancel or postpone deliveries of the MAX. This year alone, allowing for conversion of MAX orders to different models, has seen 445 cancelations so far. The problem with the Dreamliner identified in February involves the fabrication of the horizontal stabilizer where certain components were clamped with greater force than specified, resulting in shimming and improper gap verification.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) confirmed September 8, it “is investigating manufacturing flaws affecting certain Boeing 787 jetliners. The agency continues to engage with Boeing.” According to Reuters news agency, a person briefed on the matter said the horizontal stabilizer issue could require the inspection of up to 900 airplanes.

Boeing is currently carrying out an analysis to establish if action was required on the in-service fleet. The FAA confirmed on Monday that it is investigating two additional manufacturing flaws, but it is unsure if new inspections will be merited. Boeing advised that some airplanes have shims that are not the proper size, while some have areas that do not meet skin flatness specifications, an issue that was identified back in August 2019.

“Individually these issues, while not up to specifications, still meet limit load conditions. When combined in the same location however, they result in a condition that does not meet limit load requirements,” Boeing said.

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