Delivery of the fourth 787 flight test aircraft has been delayed indefinitely due to damage sustained to the center fuselage at the Global Aeronautica facility in Charleston, SC, Boeing has confirmed.
Sources in both Everett and Charleston tell FlightBlogger that the repair, which was completed this past weekend, centers around damage caused to section 44, a monolithic bonnet structure joined to the center wing box fabricated by Italy's Alenia Aeronautica.
"An Alenia Aeronautica employee had an issue not following proper procedures, we've had a production issue that has resulted," said Boeing. "The repair has been completed and the issue has been resolved."
Alenia North America, which holds a fifty-percent share in the Global Aeronautica joint venture with Boeing, was unable to comment on the incident by press time.
Boeing underscored that the incident was isolated and unrepresentative of the production system but declined to provide specific details about the incident.
According to sources, incorrect fasteners were improperly installed in the wrong holes causing damage to the composite structure during the join process. When installed, each fastener "splintered out the hole" causing significant enough damage to postpone delivery of the center fuselage.
Boeing added that Global Aeronautica would have met the commitment of the completion of assembly and on-time delivery had the incident not taken place. As a result, the center fuselage is being held in Charleston for continuing assembly work to meet the level of completion originally committed to Boeing by Global Aeronautica.
Boeing does not currently have a timeline for the delivery of the center fuselage for Dreamliner Four to Everett.
Indications of the delay arose last week when the nose and center fuselage sections were removed from the delivery calendar without explanation.
Boeing and Global Aeronautica have a "zero tolerance for fiber breakout" for composite structure prompting the time-consuming repairs to section 44, says a veteran engineer familiar with the problems.
Boeing acknowledged that the follow-on impact of the delay to the flight test program and overall FAA certification, if any, is unclear.
Read the complete post at http://www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flightblogger/2008/06/exclusive-boeing-delays-dreaml.html
Tue, Jul 1 2008 1:20 AM
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