Boeing Discovers Fastener Issue on Undelivered 787 Dreamliners

A Boeing 787 parked at the factory.
Photo Credit: Boeing

Boeing is currently investigating a quality issue discovered on a number of its undelivered 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The issue involves improperly installed fasteners on the fuselage of the planes.

According to Boeing, the issue is limited to undelivered airplanes and does not pose a safety concern for the 787 Dreamliner aircraft already in operation worldwide.

The US plane manufacturer is saying that it is taking steps to ensure all aircraft meet quality and engineering production standards before delivery.

Understanding the Problem

The fasteners in question are located on the fuselage assembly of the undelivered airplanes and were improperly tightened during the manufacturing process.

This incorrect tightening, known as torquing, is crucial for ensuring the structural integrity of the aircraft.

According to a statement by Boeing, the fasteners in question were located in the “side-of-body” area of the assembly. These are subsequently being checked by engineers.

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner on the taxiway.
Gordon Werner from Seattle, United States, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Investigation and Resolution

Boeing is working closely with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to investigate the cause of the issue and determine if the fasteners need to be reworked.

The FAA is actively involved to ensure a swift resolution and appropriate actions are taken within Boeing’s production system.

Boeing is keeping its customers and the FAA updated throughout the investigation process. This focus on transparency aims to maintain trust and confidence in the Dreamliner program, after recent quality issues were spotlighted.

The manufacturer also confirmed that the issue would not halt the current delivery schedule. It says that a “limited to no impact on deliveries” is anticipated.

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also gave comment on the most recent issue. “Boeing disclosed that it may have improperly installed fuselage fasteners on some 787 Dreamliner aircraft.”

“The FAA is investigating and is working closely with Boeing. This will determine appropriate actions and to ensure an immediate fix in the production system.”

A Boeing 787-8 on its maiden flight.
Dave Sizer CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A History of Recent Challenges

This is not the first production or quality issue to impact the Boeing widebody 787 program in recent years. Boeing has faced previous challenges, including:

  • Battery Issues: Early Dreamliners experienced problems with lithium-ion batteries, leading to a worldwide grounding in 2013. The battery design was subsequently revised.
  • Supplier Shortages: In 2022, Boeing encountered delays in 787 deliveries due to shortages of key parts from suppliers.
  • Quality Control Concerns: Allegations of missed inspections and falsified records related to 787 production also surfaced more recently, prompting investigations by the FAA.
Photo Credit: Boeing

Looking Ahead

This latest production issue involving incorrectly torqued fuselage fasteners is a further thorn in the side for Boeing.

The US plane manufacturing giant has faced its share of quality and safety concerns this year with both the 787 and 737 MAX lines.

The week the FAA reported to the US Senate that it is maintaining its oversight of Boeing, with additional inspectors deployed to continue the monitoring process.

On the positive side, Boeing has showed a sense of proactivity and transparency in its disclosure of the recent manufacturing problem.

Moving forward, regaining and maintaining public trust will be crucial for the Dreamliner program.

Click the banner to subscribe to our weekly newsleter.

Click the photo to join our WhatsApp channel so then you can stay up to date with everything going on in the aviation industry!

By Len Varley - Assistant Editor 4 Min Read
4 Min Read
You Might Also Enjoy