As Boeing prepares to restart deliveries of its next-generation 787 ‘Dreamliner’ series, it has stumbled upon another potential flaw with the aircraft. The US manufacturer has elected to test the cockpit windows on select aircraft, after reports that they may not be up to standard. The decision comes after learning that a supplier is said to have altered its production processes.
Examining cockpit windows for flaws
Reports have emerged that Boeing will be undertaking a closer scrutinization of the cockpit windows on a certain new batch of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft. According to Bloomberg, it plans to because one of the manufacturer’s suppliers has recently changed its production processes. As such, Boeing will be taking extra time to ensure the windows are up to its standards. Despite this, AeroTime adds that the inspections shouldn’t jeopardize its planned delivery schedules.
Interestingly enough, an American Airlines Dreamliner recently suffered a cracked windshield on a Peru-bound flight. This may well be unrelated to Boeing’s most recent inspections, although it is far from the first cracked windshield incident involving a 787. Indeed, Simple Flying has also reported on similar incidents involving Air Canada, KLM, and United Dreamliners in recent years.
This is not the first 787 production issue to have arisen in recent months. Indeed, Boeing has also had to contend with the discovery of dimples in the aircraft’s inner lining. Then, last month, an FAA published an airworthiness directive requiring the examination of 222 Dreamliners.
The targets of this were decompression panels in the plane’s bilge barriers. Air Lease Corporation, a major lessor, has said that Boeing should solve these issues, and others involving its existing products, before it considers developing a new aircraft.
No deliveries since October
The 787’s ongoing production issues have also hampered deliveries of the aircraft in recent months. AeroTime reports that the most recent delivery of a brand new Dreamliner took place last October. Data from Planespotters.net suggests that the aircraft in question was an Etihad 787-10, registered as A6-BMI. This was one of just four brand-new 787 deliveries that month.
Boeing had hoped that this month would see deliveries of its popular Dreamliner resume. Of course, this is subject to it ironing out the aforementioned issues during the production phase. According to Bloomberg, the company stated on March 9th that:
“Based on our current plans, we continue to expect to resume delivering 787s by the end of March. However, we will continue to take the time necessary and will adjust any delivery plans as needed.”
Recent cuts to production
As well as this dry spell in terms of aircraft deliveries, Boeing has also recently made cutbacks to the Dreamliner production. In December, the company announced that it would be trimming its production rate down to just five aircraft a month.
This was the fourth time in 18 months that the US manufacturer had adjusted its 787 production rate. Previous cutbacks had seen this figure fall from 14 to 12 aircraft a month in October 2019. A further drop to 10 monthly examples followed in January 2020.
Boeing has also consolidated the Dreamliner program in terms of where the production of the aircraft takes place. It announced in October that it would soon cease to produce the aircraft at its facility in Everett, Washington. The final Everett-produced 787 rolled off the production line last month. Going forward, Boeing will build the aircraft in North Charleston, South Carolina.
What do you make of Boeing testing the cockpit windows on its 787 aircraft for potential flaws? Have you ever flown on a Dreamliner? Let us know your thoughts and experiences in the comments!