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Tail flaw grounds 787 test fleet

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By Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writer
Published:
The Boeing Co. temporarily grounded its 787 test fleet because of an assembly problem with the horizontal stabilizers supplied by an Italian partner.
Still, “the 787 remains on track for first delivery to (All Nippon Airways) by the end of this year,” Yvonne Leach, Boeing spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mailed statement.
Boeing's partner, Alenia Aeronautica, shipped some horizontal tail structures with improperly installed brackets, or shims, which attach the tail to the fuselage.
The company already has five 787 jets in flight testing. Boeing said it made the decision to inspect each flight test aircraft before putting the 787s back into the air to “ensure any rework is completed as quickly as possible.” Inspection of the five jets will take one to two days.
The company also is inspecting all 787s in production. It will take Boeing as many as eight days to fix any Dreamliners that have the improperly installed brackets.
“It is not unusual for these issues to arise in the course of production programs,” Leach wrote.
Boeing is more than two years behind schedule in delivering its all-new fuel-efficient 787 Dreamliner.
Many of the delays have been due to the company's extensive global supply chain, which ship large assemblies into Everett where the 787 is assembled. The company plans to open a second 787 final assembly line in Charleston, S.C.
Earlier this year, Boeing halted the delivery of 787 structures into Everett as some suppliers struggled to ship completed parts. Last year, Boeing ordered Alenia to stop work on fuselage sections the company was building due to wrinkling of the composite material.
Boeing's unions were angered by the company's decision to outsource major structure work to the company's global partners. Boeing executives have said they're bringing back more engineering work on the next model of the 787, the 787-9.
The company has more than 850 orders for its 787.
Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454, mdunlop@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » Boeing787BusinessInsider stories

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