Just one day after the announcement of an FAA probe into the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing’s woes unfortunately continue, as the planemaker announced another new fault found in its aircraft.
Boeing has revealed a fault in its Dreamliner’s horizontal stabiliser, apparently only on its planes that are yet to be delivered.
It appears that some components of the stabiliser were clamped with “greater force” than necessary during the fabrication process, which could ultimately lead to “improper gap verification and shimming”.
This fault was reportedly found in February, however has only now been announced to the public.
Boeing said the issue was not an immediate flight safety issue.
The planemaker also said the stabiliser issue stemmed from its production plant in Salt Lake City, Utah, and it is already in the process of being corrected on airplanes that have not yet been delivered.
“Analysis is underway to determine if action is required on the in-service fleet,” Boeing added.
This is now the third fault in the 787 Dreamliner revealed in as many weeks, adding to Boeing’s financial strain amid the COVID-19 downturn, and its ongoing recertification battle over its troubled 737 MAX.
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced on Tuesday that it is investigating “manufacturing flaws” in the 787 Dreamliners, believed to include both today’s revealed problem, as well as the previous two outstanding manufacturing problems.
The previous issues were linked to production issues at Boeing’s plant in Charleston, South Carolina, which resulted in some 787s with shims that are not the correct size, while some have areas that do not meet “skin flatness specifications”.
It appears that these 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, “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.”
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.
Boeing said it expects the inspections will affect the timing of its 787 deliveries in the near-term.