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Eight B787 pulled from service over structural issues

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Eight B787 pulled from service over structural issues

Old 16th Jul 2021, 00:57
  #121 (permalink)  
 
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I have to agree with Yeehaw.
In addition, my employer now provides tool boxes. Personal tools are no longer used (except for the odd GS and multitool).

Also, thankyou for supplying the AAIB report. Lots of holes in the Swiss cheese lining up there.
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Old 3rd Aug 2021, 18:52
  #122 (permalink)  
 
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On Flight Global.

Boeing video reviews fuselage ‘gap’ issue that prompted 787 delivery halt

Intro:-
Boeing has released a video about the fuselage-related quality issues that led the company to halt deliveries of 787s.

The Chicago-based airframer released the video on 23 July alongside an email from Boeing Commercial Airplanes chief executive Stan Deal to all Boeing’s commercial aircraft employees.

The letter addresses Boeing’s efforts to bring “production stability” to all its commercial aircraft programmes.
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Old 7th Sep 2021, 15:53
  #123 (permalink)  
 
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Process, continued

Wall Street Journal reporting today (Sept. 7 2021, article by Andrew Tangel) that FAA has not given its approval to the inspection process Boeing had proposed to FAA. Reportedly, in their meeting on August 2 with FAA certain Boeing staff presented the company's proposed inspection method or process, but another Boeing engineer disagreed that the proposed method or process would be sufficient. (There is enough detailed reporting in Mr. Tangel's article so that further summarizing of factual points or items wouldn't be helpful here.)

Article does refer in some places to the "team" or "teams" (plural) of Boeing engineers and employees, even referring to them as "teammates".

When were the tryouts for these teams, this SLF/attorney wonders? Aviators undergo real tryouts, what with detailed flight instruction, qualification tests for licenses to be granted, recurrent training, and so on. Isn't it the case that pilots first learn how to fly an airplane, and then how to fly a particular type of airplane? Word choices in contemporary vogue - such as calling groups of employees a "team" - obviously are not either the start or the solution of safety problems confronting Boeing . . . yet the sell-out by the "aerospace giant" widely and frequently derided on this forum very well could be reflected in company culture that encourages employees to yield to group-think mentality rather than thinking for themselves, individually. Or even requires it.
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Old 14th Oct 2021, 14:33
  #124 (permalink)  
 
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Process continued further - and more problems

Article in Wall Street Journal (Andrew Tangel by-line, Oct. 14) stating that new problems have surfaced in 787s produced over the past three years: unspecified "titanium parts" that were found to be "weaker" than expected. As an non-engineer maybe this is an unwise side-comment, but shouldn't the concern be that parts were not as strong as specified?

Article is ambiguous about whether the (unidentified) titanium parts were found in aircraft in the production process only, or include planes already delivered. It does state that two undelivered aircraft were "repaired." And that "Boeing and regulators have determined that the new titanium issue doesn’t pose an urgent safety risk to planes currently flying, people familiar with the matter said."

The recent history with regard to Boeing's interactions and communications to/from FAA are noted, though without shedding any further light on what this newly reported titanium parts issue is about.
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Old 14th Oct 2021, 18:19
  #125 (permalink)  
 
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More detail:

787 more detail:
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Old 14th Oct 2021, 20:37
  #126 (permalink)  
 
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"The parts include fittings that help secure the floor beam in one fuselage section, as well as other fittings, spacers, brackets, and clips within other assemblies."
sounds like something that wouldn't be particularly newsworthy if any other manufacturer was involved.
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Old 20th Nov 2021, 19:40
  #127 (permalink)  
 
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More delays, more problems

More developments with regard to production and related problems with the 787. Wall Street Journal reporting today (weekend edition) that the production rate has been slowed again, due to problems in "areas surrounding passenger and cargo doors" on aircraft already in the production process - and that the manufacturer is (or may be) seeking assistance from other aerospace manufacturers for resolving these problems.

According to the article the earliest the company could deliver completed aircraft to customers now is February or March and, relatedly, at least one major airline is "proactively" taking the wide-body aircraft out of its planned winter schedules. As the article notes, something like 105 airplanes are in inventory awaiting delivery (certainly a major portion of which are due to the pandemic, obviously) with resulting highly negative financial impact on the company.

Not least, the article reports that the situation - more specifically the effectiveness of the FAA approach and actions in addressing the situation - has prompted increased scrutiny on Capitol Hill and because this involves the uncontroversial subject area of politics (. . .) I'm quoting the article directly on the point.
"On Thursday, Democratic and Republican leaders of the U.S. House Transportation Committee and its aviation subcommittee requested that the Department of Transportation’s inspector general review the FAA’s manufacturing oversight and 'the effectiveness of the FAA’s actions to resolve 787 production issues,' according to a letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal." [article by Andrew Tangel, internal quotation in original] Reuters reporting the same thing also.

Anyone following Boeing's issues over the past few years will (or should) recognize that it was House T&I that conducted one of the most, if not the most, thorough and far-reaching investigation into the 737 MAX; which authored and got enacted legislation to try, at the very least, to bring effectiveness to the FAA-manufacturer relationship; and which announced its definite intention to stay, if you will, on the case. And the Inspector General reports and their value speak for themselves. While the Congress, like lawyers, get a lot of cheap shots, sometimes the efforts of both deserve some measure of respect. But we'll see.
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Old 20th Nov 2021, 22:09
  #128 (permalink)  
 
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Didn't the Capitol cut down the FAA financially before and paralysed it with the budget fight while moving US export company support into their agenda or similar? The House did a good job improving what had been wrong with the MAX before but maybe the FAA needs even more funding and political support to be able to work as in the old days? Reforming it growing the staff and spooling up seems to take long this time. It feels like this is already affecting the speed to get the 777X and 787 on track again.
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Old 21st Nov 2021, 01:01
  #129 (permalink)  
 
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This isn't Congress or the FAA's problem, it is Boeing's problem. I would have thought that by now Boeing executives would have figured out that if they don't commit enough time or money to do the job right, they will end up having to spend much more time and money to do it over
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Old 21st Nov 2021, 12:33
  #130 (permalink)  
 
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Among people who have strongly criticized Boeing (especially on this forum, and not only here) it probably isn't controversial to say that the problems, plural, at the company run very deep, and that these problems didn't materialize just all of a sudden.... and so breaking the situation down and addressing problems is likely going to be a long process.

And that the problems presented in the situation at Boeing also require responses, if not solutions actually, at FAA and from Congress. It isn't either/or.

It could be very informative to hear what knowledgeable people think about identifying one of probably several root causes of the 787 Dreamliner difficulties at present. -- Specifically, in prior threads some posters have observed that Boeing shifted production to S. Carolina precisely for the reason of getting away from a unionized workforce. That union-organized workforce had turned out 787 airplanes without these production problems, had it not? At the same time, isn't the workforce in S. Carolina something like a distant second to the Seattle-area workers? If this much is valid, then.....

Maybe it would take more than the proverbial "act of Congress" but pack it in, move it back. Move all the 787 production back to the Seattle area. If any politicians from that southern state don't like that idea, tell each one they can move with it - but each will have to start by learning how to use a slide rule, then work their way up, just like "Wimpy" would have insisted, back when.
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Old 21st Nov 2021, 18:49
  #131 (permalink)  
 
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Do we know if this story that Seattle produced 787s had no problems is actually true? I believe the increased oversight by the FAA as well as increased self inspection by Boeing seems to have mostly, if not completely, taken place after the transfer of production to S. Carolina.
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Old 21st Nov 2021, 23:00
  #132 (permalink)  
 
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WillowRun 6-3

Boeing have done their darnedest to make this impossible.
Firstly, the 787-10 fuselage sections are too long to be transported to Seattle: the -10 was only ever designed to have its final assembly in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Secondly, Boeing has sold off the DreamLifter arrival / unloading / materials storage facility in Seattle (to UPS or Fedex IIRC) to make sure there's no way to actually get the 787 major sub-assemblies to a FAL in Seattle
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Old 21st Nov 2021, 23:56
  #133 (permalink)  
 
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SamYeager -
Good question. I haven't read anything that excludes 787s assembled not in S.C. from the pertinent manufacturing defects. The timing of the more intensive scrutiny does suggest the possibility that the other manufacturing site hasn't been accounted for sufficiently, with regard to these defects. (Several posts early in this thread suggested that the defects identified were in sections in S.C. - nos. 7 & 13 for example, but obviously that doesn't exclude the other site from problems.)

As for relocating back, okay that won't happen. Maybe posters who have advocated tearing the company down and selling off assets, letting someone else start from scratch, will prove prophetic.
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 07:27
  #134 (permalink)  
 
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My understanding is that most, if not all, of the 787 structural problems are rooted in manufacture, not final assembly, though it's during the latter process that they manifest themselves.

So transporting completed fuselage sections across the USA for final assembly elsewhere wouldn't be a solution.
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 19:40
  #135 (permalink)  
 
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https://www.seattletimes.com/busines...er-composites/
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 21:02
  #136 (permalink)  
 
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WillowRun 6-3

The shift of production to South Carolina was a result of Boeing executives that thought that the Seattle work force was too expensive. Well big surprise the old adage you get what you pay for actually applied and so any work force savings are now obliterated by the costs to fix the problems the low wage work force created. The South Carolina production decision however is just a symptom of the root cause. The old Boeing ( ie pre MD merger ) was an engineering company and so the last major program at old Boeing, the 777, was designed mostly in house with aircraft component subcontracting carried out largely after the design was completed. When the 787 program was launched by the new Boeing, the Boeing engineers wanted to use the same process but were over ruled by the C suite execs. Instead the big bosses wanted both the design and build of most major components subcontracted to the lowest bidder who was usually many time zones away and often did not have proven production record. Boeing people would therefore only be doing the integration work which allowed for greatly reducing the size and influence of the engineering department.

Because Boeing execs were so focused on cost and largely had no real engineering or production background they did not appreciate what the ramifications of their decisions was. In particular outsourcing design and manufacturing QA meant that by the time it was apparent things were badly wrong it was too late to fix. Many of the issues were IMO totally foreseeable, if there had been any Boeing oversight. Ultimately all of Boeings problems with the 787 and indeed the MAX fiasco, can be attributed to a refusal on the part of senior Boeing management to acknowledge the value of spending money on quality engineering and production. Pay now or pay (more) later, there are no shortcuts in large aircraft design and manufacturing.
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Old 22nd Nov 2021, 21:14
  #137 (permalink)  
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Thanks for the article Chris2303, I am not an engineer and I have not a degree in composite manufacturing so it is not easy to understand if this Teflon and wrong titanium alloys are indeed minor issues that happens regularly and are just blown up because it is Boeing, and/or because the FAA has taken a much firmer stand after the Max debacle, or if indeed as the article suggests , it is alarming and potentially safety related.
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Old 24th Nov 2021, 20:44
  #138 (permalink)  
 
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The letter from the leaders (both political parties) of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee of the U.S. House of Representatives, requesting the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Transportation conduct a review of FAA oversight of the "manufacture and production" of the 787: It's straight from the Committee webpage. The redactions are the same as on the webpage - the names of Committee staff members.

2021-11-18 LTR to DOT OIG 787 Production Issues FINAL.pdf (house.gov)

Big Pistons Forever (thanks for your post, btw)

I don't disagree with anything you've said - and that's even if previously I had a more credulous view of Boeing party-line dishonesty. (If I had to defend my earlier credulity, like in the film "Defending Your Life", I'd plead that I really wanted to become an aeronautical engineer when "I was a kid" - and the world would not have despaired over one fewer attorney.)

And something in your post might be interesting for more comment. Moving the production physically back to the location where the better workforce is located, as has been shown, isn't at all realistic. So, instead, what if someone were asked to advise the Boeing Board, along with the relevant USFG (U.S. Federal Government), authorities about what "should" be done to return the 787 program to a status the same as what "OldBoeing" would have had in place? I know this is a "what-if" speculative question -- but..... is there some viable proposal for fixing this mess that somehow Seattle Times, Air Current et cetera have missed?

I'll seize upon the very useful dichotomy your post drew, OldBoeing cf. NewBoeing -- Engineering Primacy cf. Engineering on-the-Cheap. What if the company - okay, so by magic - were forced to hire significant cadres of engineers, some destined to be seconded to subcontractors whose performance on subassemblies for the 787 obviously has left much to be desired; some sent to North Charleston to take charge; some with college minors in Industrial Relations sent to air thoroughly the grievances every single whistleblower in that plant; and some to oversee all the company-level engineering work?

I realize some people, some folks very, very knowledgeable about travel by air aboard airliners, find the 787 to leave a lot to be desired. But isn't the use of composite material a bona fide technological or engineering (or both) advance? and isn't it a worthwhile aircraft program to get back on track? and not only as a matter of financial survival for a major company?
Is it not the case that somebody somewhere, somehow or another, has to devise a game plan to rescue the 787 aircraft program from the awful mess it has become?

(I guess my limited, substandard undergraduate education is showing, so pardon me.... I was taught, repeatedly, that something to accomplish the given goal or objective or purpose must be added, before one can drop the corresponding something one wants to get rid of. You have to add before you can drop. (Ann Arbor, circa 1970-1972))

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Old 25th Nov 2021, 02:30
  #139 (permalink)  
 
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WillowRun 6-3

The production foot print is already set so I think moving production around isn't worth the cost and disruption. The solution is truly independent QA and SMS teams and processes. This means they have the authority to hunt out problems and shut down any part of the operation. No bean counter or marketing "professional" can over rule a team decisions.

The problem is things will invariably get worse before they get better because I think it is obvious that the more the teams look, the more they are going to find. The cost of doing it right is going be significant with an inevitable effect on profits and share price over the short and probably medium term. The chance of this happening in todays environment that prioritizes quarterly share prices, is IMO pretty much zero. The pay off is setting up the company for long term success, but it requires the vision to take the long view. I just don't see any of the current Boeing management that is interested/able to get there from here. Instead the company will lurch from crisis to crisis as it loses market share and relevance.

The decline and now breakup of GE is I think, sadly an example of the kind of trajectory that Boeing will follow...

As for the 787, well I think that program is effectively over in terms of meaningful large new sales going forward. It will limp along but the airlines have shifted decisively to the Airbus A350.
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Old 25th Nov 2021, 19:14
  #140 (permalink)  
 
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Boeing successfully rectified major program troubles with their early 787s, the early 747-8 flutter and the MAX. Ungrounded even in China.
What makes it so hard for them to finally get the 787 manufacturing right now?

Last edited by Less Hair; 26th Nov 2021 at 05:32.
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