1. A Rolls-Royce engine blew up on a test stand in England last summer. A proposed software and hardware fix has yet to be vetted by regulators. Runway tests in Roswell, N.M also uncovered cracking airfoils in one of the engine’s compressors.
2. An electrical fire on a test flight last month caused a cascading series of system failures. A redesign of the power-distribution system will have to be approved by regulators.
3. NO ETOPS Certification, the FAA has told Boeing that it won’t get early certification needed to fly the 787 on transocean and transpolar routes without proof of engine and system reliability. The 787 wouldn’t be allowed to fly more than 60 minutes from the nearest airport without the certification known as ETOPS, for Extended-range Twin-engine Operational Performance Standards. That would drastically curtail the use of the jet for many airlines, including launch customer All Nippon Airways of Japan.
4. Alenia of Italy built the horizontal tails badly, and each one is different. Mechanics are slowly working through the 20 Dreamliners already built.
5. The rework of aircraft and unfinished installation of systems on the planes already rolled out — more than 100,000 tasks outstanding — will take many months to complete.
6. The supply chain is halted for the fourth time this year. Incomplete aircraft scatter the Boeing facility.
With the Dreamliner nearly three years overdue analysts estimate Boeing’s cost overruns at a staggering $12 billion or more. Despite a total of 120 cancellations, Boeing still has 846 orders. Yet the 787 has run into more trouble than any previous Boeing jet.
“This program is not like anything we’ve seen,” said the veteran 787 employee. “It’s a screwed-up mess.”
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