Boeing Suspends 787 Production Over Fuselage Issue


Boeing has suspended production of 787s after it discovered an error in the manufacture of the aircraft fuselage. “In reviewing certification records, Boeing discovered an analysis error by our supplier related to the 787 forward pressure bulkhead,” Boeing said in a statement. “We notified the FAA and have paused 787 deliveries while we complete the required analysis and documentation.” The company said the issue doesn’t affect the safety of the in-service fleet and doesn’t expect any long-term effect on the delivery schedule.

This is at least the third issue with the Dreamliner airframe to interrupt production. The plane was out of production for a year over manufacturing faults and when production resumed last August the FAA required its own inspectors to sign off on the completion of each plane rather than the normal practice of allowing the manufacturer to certify its airworthiness. The company hopes to deliver up to 80 Dreamliners this year.

Russ Niles
Russ Niles is Editor-in-Chief of AVweb. He has been a pilot for 30 years and joined AVweb 22 years ago. He and his wife Marni live in southern British Columbia where they also operate a small winery.

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  1. Looks like paper work will solve this one. Bet Boeing has fingers double crossed that it is the case because cutting out a faulty pressure bulkhead and fitting a new one is not something which can be done easily.

  2. How exactly does a problem with the forward pressure bulkhead NOT “affect the safety of the in-service fleet”?

    • This is a new build issue. It only applies to aircraft in construction since the restart of assembly.

      There are also many reasons why a documentation problem or physical anomaly doesn’t impact safety. An example of a physical anomaly could be it was painted the wrong color… I’ve seen that one personally. Another could be water content; maybe there’s more water being retained in the fibers than is allowable for production. Some time in a dryer will fix that.

      Maybe it’s none of that. Whatever the reason, the FAA is aware of the problem and they and Boeing will figure it out.

  3. We can either stop innovating, or realize it comes with risks. There is no free lunch. Stagnation is deadly. As people who fly planes that were mostly obsolete when built and are now antiques, you’d think we’d be aware of that.