The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has said it is now investigating manufacturing flaws in a handful of Boeing 787 Dreamliners.
The FAA probe follows last week’s report of “two distinct manufacturing issues” being found in the aircraft’s fuselage, reportedly only affecting eight planes, all of which have now been grounded.
The issues were linked to production issues at Boeing’s Dreamliner plant in Charleston, South Carolina, and could result in hundreds of 787s requiring inspection, according to an internal government memo.
“The agency continues to engage with Boeing,” the FAA said Sunday. “It is too early to speculate about the nature or extent of any proposed Airworthiness Directives that might arise from the agency’s investigation.”
Speaking of the issues, Boeing noted, “The rest of the in-service fleet has been determined to meet limit load capability, and we are inspecting production airplanes to ensure any issues are addressed prior to delivery.”
It appears that the two issues that caused the grounding of the eight Dreamliners so far are only dangerous when both problems are present at once.
The planemaker said that some 787s appear to have shims that are not the correct size, while some have areas that do not meet “skin flatness specifications”.
“Individually these issues, while not up to specifications, still meet limit load conditions,” Boeing said. “When combined in the same location, however, they result in a condition that does not meet limit load requirements.”
It is not clear how many aircraft may have just one of the above reported issues, however a person close to the matter confirmed to Reuters that an impending safety directive from the FAA has the potential to cover up to 900 Dreamliners.