The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has discovered another new manufacturing issue on Boeing 787 Dreamliners currently awaiting delivery, the latest in a long list of manufacturing defects located in the aircraft in recent months.
Boeing has said that the defect does not threaten safety, however, the company has committed to “fix the airplanes” before performing any more deliveries of the type.
Following a system-wide ongoing inspection of Boeing’s “shimming process”, as required by the FAA, the regulator discovered another issue “near the nose on certain 787 Dreamliners in the company’s inventory of undelivered airplanes”, Reuters reported.
The Wall Street Journal was able to disclose further details from unidentified sources, claiming the problems are with the pressure bulkhead’s skin, a former issue Boeing had with other aircraft last September when the jet did not meet certain specifications.
The FAA however noted that “although the issue poses no immediate threat to flight safety, Boeing has committed to fix these airplanes before resuming deliveries”, and after reviewing the problem, “will determine whether similar modifications should be made on 787s already in commercial service”.
Boeing expects the defect to cause a further three-week delay in deliveries, meaning anticipated customers will not receive the Dreamliner ahead of the busy summer season.
The same sources also said the FAA is trying to understand whether the problem will cause preliminary fatigue on core parts of the jet’s structure.
Currently, there are 436 Dreamliner’s on Boeing’s order backlog, recorded in its latest report on orders and deliveries in May. The last confirmed order for the 787 Dreamliner was made by German flag-carrier Lufthansa, according to Boeing.
Boeing officially resumed deliveries on its 787 Dreamliner wide-body jet in March to United Airlines after various quality inspections and marking the first since October last year, however, deliveries were halted a second time in May this year.
This was due to an FAA review into the aircraft’s manufacturing, which found incorrect spacing in some components such as the fuselage.
This follows another jet issue with Boeing and the FAA in June, as the planemaker will not likely receive certification for its upcoming 777X until 2023 due to the lack of data and a preliminary safety assessment. The jet was supposed to enter service last summer.
The aircraft is not ready to receive its crucial Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) Readiness clearance due to concerns outlined in a letter from the regulator.
The FAA listed various concerns it had in the letter, including flight control issues. Most recently, in late 2020 during a test flight, the aircraft experienced an ‘un-commanded pitch event’ – the nose of the jet swayed up or down without intentional pilot control.