A newly discovered shimming issue in the Boeing 787 stabilizer area will result in delivery delays of the widebody type to customers. The US airframer said on Tuesday that it has to inspect all ninety Dreamliners in inventory at the factory for a production issue at the back of the airplane. New shimming issue delays Boeing 787 deliveries.
Boeing identified only last week that its Salt Lake City production facility had delivered horizontal stabilizers with incorrectly sized shims. These are very tiny gap fillers that are as thin as a human’s hair but still need to be conforming to prevent any quality issues. On Friday, Boeing stopped offering aircraft for airworthiness certificates and delivery to customers after it consulted with the FAA, Reuters reported.
The shimming issue is not a safety of flight problem, Boeing stresses, so all in-service Dreamliners can operate without problems. They will have to be checked at a later stage. As Boeing doesn’t want to deliver airplanes that might have the flaw, inspections of the stabilizers are required in aircraft that are in inventory.
Ups and downs
The inventory has come down with ups and downs in recent months after they grew from late 2020 until August 2022, when production of the 787 was paused a number of times. In 2019 and later 2020, a shimming issue was identified on the aft fuselage barrels, followed later by a flatness issue in the same area and a shimming problem in the forward pressure bulkhead..
Other quality deficiencies were found around the doors. This resulted in a delivery pause between May 2021 and August 2022, when American Airlines took delivery again of a 787. This spring, they were paused again over uncertainties on how the nose issue had been documented, but this was found to be a paper issue. Shimming issues have been affecting the 787 during its first production years as well.
Active as a journalist since 1987, with a background in newspapers, magazines, and a regional news station, Richard has been covering commercial aviation on a freelance basis since late 2016.
In 2022, he has gone full-time freelance. Richard has been contributing to AirInsight since December 2018. He is also writing for Airliner World and Aviation News and until July 1 2023 in a part-time role with Dutch website and magazine Luchtvaartnieuws. Twitter: @rschuur_aero.