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Report Throws Integrity of Boeing 787 Dreamliner Into Question

Report Throws Integrity of Boeing 787 Dreamliner Into Question
Joe Cortez

A report reviewed by a Seattle-based newsroom is calling into question the integrity of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner tail fin. The document alleges engineers are worried about dents in the vertical fin, which could create problems in flight for the next-generation aircraft.

More trouble could be coming for Boeing, after a newly-surfaced report is throwing the structural integrity of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner into question. Seattle’s KOMO News reports engineers have allegedly raised red flags about the vertical fin on the aircraft.

Federal Investigation Reports Concerns Over Vertical Fin Construction

According to the report seen by KOMO News, the issue revolves around the vertical fin, and a depression – or a “slight dimple” – at the place where it meets the main fuselage. While the microscopic gaps would normally be covered with shims, a Federal Aviation Administration investigation into the Dreamliner from March 2020 noted that the vertical fin may have had un-shimmed gaps of “up to 0.034 inches.”

When left unchecked, the FAA warns that the gap and depression could lead to a “catastrophic event.”

“The condition could result in failure of a PSE (principal structural element) to sustain limit load,” the FAA report reads, according to KOMO News. “And could adversely affect the structural integrity of the airplane and result in loss of control of the airplane.”

The report suggests this issue could be present on over 600 Boeing 787 Dreamliners, built at facilities in both Everett, Washington and Charleston, South Carolina. Former Boeing employees, speaking to KOMO under anonymity, say the issue could be mitigated, but it may require an FAA order to complete – similar to the one issued for fixes on the Boeing 737 MAX.

In a statement to KOMO News, the FAA confirmed they were investigating “manufacturing flaws affecting certain Boeing 787 Dreamliners,” but would not comment on how many were affected. Boeing has not publicly commented on the allegations.

New Accusations Follow Previous Whistleblower Reports

Although the allegations of quality control problems on the vertical fin is new, it’s not the first time Boeing has been accused of issues with the Dreamliner. On Sept. 8, 2020, Boeing announced they were investigating a string of “production flaws” with new Dreamliner airframes.

But the accusations go back to 2019, when engineers at Boeing first told The New York Times that “shoddy production and weak oversight” was creating major safety issues for new Dreamliners. At the time, Boeing said the article “features distorted information, rehashing old stories and rumors that have long ago been put to rest.”

View Comments (4)

4 Comments

  1. edgewood49

    September 11, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    One has to wonder just what is going on at BA the Max we understand and it has been beaten to death, but the 787 which is at this point in time Boeings only hope now has multiple issues ? Of course the 777x is delayed yet again. Now you may apparently more ‘disgruntled’ employees coming forward, that very issue is bad for Boeing or any manufactures once there is blood in the water hang on. Good news for BA is many planes are on the ground do to the Virus, And I like the 787 except for BA’s version.

  2. binkmale

    September 12, 2020 at 2:29 am

    Boeing has been headed down the toilet since the memo-men took over & moved from Seattle to Chicago. It’s been a race to the PowerPoint bottom ever since. The hee-haw 787 plant in Jeebusland was a masterstroke of feckless idiocy. Planes don’t matter. Only bonuses & perks. Welcome to American Manufacturing & executive aristocracy.

  3. Sydneyberlin

    September 14, 2020 at 6:29 pm

    Not surprised about anything anymore with Boeing. Sad to see for such a formerly proud and innovative company :-(

  4. FEasy

    September 21, 2020 at 12:52 am

    So, in April 2019 Boeing dismissed allegations which now turn out to be true? If they couldn’t be honest then, in the full wake of the MAX debacle, how can they ever be trusted? When will we be sure we reached the bottom with this lot?

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