Boeing Faces New Problem with Dreamliner

The aerospace manufacturer says it is making progress on a repair plan to correct a manufacturing error located in the fuselage section of some 787 airplanes.

Chicago-based aircraft manufacturer Boeing said on Monday it had discovered a manufacturing error that would require repairs in the fuselage section of some 787 Dreamliners.

"Boeing has found that incorrect shimming was performed on support structure on the aft fuselage. There is no short-term safety concern," the company said in a statement to AFP.

Shims, or spacers, are used to fill small gaps that occur between parts that don't fit together exactly.

"While it's not unusual for build issues to arise, we have standard processes in place to ensure we are delivering the highest quality products to our customers," Boeing said.

"We have the issue well defined and we are making progress on the repair plan," it said.

"We work closely with the FAA (U.S. Federal Aviation Administration) on every airplane we deliver and hold ourselves to the highest standards of performance on safety."

Citing an unnamed person with knowledge of the problem, the Seattle Times reported Sunday that Boeing was inspecting all the airplanes already built to determine the extent of the problem.

Boeing has completed assembly of about 50 Dreamliners to date and has delivered five to All Nippon Airways (ANA) of Japan. A total of 865 of the planes have been ordered by 59 clients.

Aviation website Flightglobal reported that the problem had been detected on a plane destined for ANA and another on a plane for Qatar Airways.

The plane entered service last year after more than three years of delays.

A problem with faulty shimming arose in 2010 in Italy, the newspaper noted. Mechanics at a plant there applied too much torque when tightening fasteners, and the consequent compression of the shims degraded the composite material.

At that time, those manufacturing quality issues with the horizontal tails added months of delays to the jet program, the Times said. Many airplanes had to have their tails extensively reworked.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

See Also:

Boeing Dreamliner Delivery Delayed Again for ANA

Boeing Dreamliner Makes First Commercial Flight

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