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Boeing inspects 787s for defects in tail sections

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By Michelle Dunlop
Herald Writer
The Boeing Co.'s shares finished slightly lower Monday as Wall Street responded to another problem with the jet maker's popular 787 program.
Over the weekend, Boeing said it was inspecting the tail sections of the 787 Dreamliner after identifying a manufacturing issue. On Monday, shares dropped 88 cents, roughly 1.2 percent, to $75.46.
"There is no short-term safety concern," Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter wrote in an email. "Repairs, should they be needed, will be implemented in the most efficient manner possible."
Boeing discovered a problem that originated at the company's South Carolina facility, a site bought from troubled supplier Vought Aircraft Industries.
The issue involves shims -- small pieces of material used to fill inevitable gaps where two pieces join -- between the 787's skin and the parts that support it. Most airliners are built using aluminum skin. The 787 is the first major airliner with a skin made almost entirely of carbon fiber, which is essentially a high-tech plastic and intended to be lighter and stronger than aluminum.
Boeing said the latest woe on the 787 is "well defined." The company said it's making progress on a repair plan. The defect was first reported by FlightGlobal.
Boeing has delivered five of the planes since September to Japan's All Nippon Airways. It has built dozens more, many of which need extensive rework to bring them up to delivery quality.
The Chicago-based company's 787 program has suffered several setbacks since its launch, and the plane was more than three years late entering commercial service with ANA. But Boeing has roughly 865 Dreamliners on order.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454;
Story tags » Boeing787



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