Thu, Nov 06, 2008
Strike Effects Still Being Felt... And Now There's A New
Boeing has confirmed what has been a foregone conclusions among
industry observers -- the Dreamliner's first flight is no longer a
possibility in 2008.
The Associated Press reports Boeing acknowledged Tuesday the
first test flight of its long-delayed 787 jetliner has been pushed
off into next year due to the 57-day strike of the International
Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers.
As ANN reported Wednesday, it may take several
weeks for all of Boeing's production lines to restart following
machinists' return to work.
Company spokesman Jim Proulx declined a specific prediction.
"The time frame for first flight has not been established and will
be based on the strike recovery assessment."
Boeing also stated Wednesday there's a new
problem concerning the assembly of the first composite-bodied
airliner... one that will seem uncomfortably familiar for
those who have followed Boeing's start-and-stop attempts to sort out the
plane's construction. During the IAM strike, Boeing
officials reportedly discovered improperly installed fasteners on
six 787s in various stages of assembly, including the first test
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports some three percent of all
fasteners installed on those aircraft were installed incorrectly...
resulting in some fasteners projecting slightly from mounting
holes, instead of lying flush with surrounding panels. The problem
afflicts fasteners throughout the aircraft.
The issue appears to stem from improper assembly at companies
tasked with producing 787 fuselage segments for Boeing, and some
suppliers have reportedly discover the improperly mounted fasteners
on segments they have yet to ship to Boeing for final assembly.
The start of the test flight program has been officially delayed
at least four times by Boeing, in September and October of 2007,
then in January and April of this year.
Boeing still holds 900 orders for the Dreamliner. The first
airline on the delivery schedule is Japan's All Nippon Airways,
which says it still has an official date of August 2009.
The company has promised both investors and customers specific
updates once its recovery from the strike is assessed.
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