Boeing hasn’t finished inspecting parts of the tail sections of flight-test and production 787 Dreamliners, several weeks after the Chicago-based aerospace giant identified some “workmanship issues” attributed to the supplier of the 787’s horizontal stabilizer, Italy’s Alenia.
“We had an issue with the horizontal stabilizer with our Alenia partner and found some additional things that we need to go in and verify,” said Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Jim Albaugh during an industry conference in New York this week. “I want to be real clear. These are manufacturing issues that don’t have anything to do with the airplane’s ability to fly. We are working through those issues. We think they are going to be very readily addressed and we are assessing what the impact will be at this time.”
In an effort to resolve the aforementioned “issues,” Boeing conducted an assessment of Alenia’s manufacturing processes, which resulted in the need for more inspections of 787s, according to a company spokesperson. “The inspections will verify [that] Alenia’s production processes and workmanship are up to the Boeing standards,” she told AIN in an e-mail today. “Based on what we’ve seen so far, we believe the inspections and any issues we find can be readily addressed.”
Boeing first acknowledged finding flaws in the horizontal stabilizers in late June, at which time it said it thought inspections of the flight-test aircraft would take between one and two days. The company had found improperly installed shims and associated fasteners torqued too tightly on some of the airplanes.
“We expect that this issue will be addressed within the existing program schedule,” the company said at the time. Now, it appears more problems at Alenia threaten to move delivery of the first customer 787 to All Nippon Airways into early next year.
“We are assessing the impact, if any, to our schedule,” the Boeing spokesperson told AIN today. “The team remains focused on delivering the first airplane in 2010 but as we’ve said before, delivery may move into early 2011.”