Boeing holds a Production Certificate issued in 1949
Production of B-787 line has had Quality Control Problems
FAA staff to exercise final review of 4 B-787s
Boeing holds what is arguably the oldest Production Certificate issued in 1949 by the Civil Aeronautics Administration, predecessor of the FAA and then denominated PC 700 by the current certification authority. The holder of this revered authority has been warned that the privileges flowing from it are at risk.
This certificate with a one-page supplement that lists all approved production sites, and a seven-page Production Limitation Record (PLR) that lists all approved airplane models. PC 700 goes all the way back to the -G2 – an early version of the venerable DC-3 – which was approved for production on July 7, 1941. The latest airplane to be added to the PLR was the B- 787-8 production in North Charleston, SC in March 2015. Significantly this amendment validated the plant’s compliance with the Boeing Quality Management System.
The Boeing-FAA relationship has been more public than even the Kim Kardashian and Kanye West divorce except that the celebrity couple did not have to testify before Congress about their respective faults. The Max 8 disaster made it clear that the oversight between the Type Certificate holder and the FAA aircraft certification organization/Organization Designation Authorization ( ODA)// Boeing has some serious problems.
The Dreamliner problems can be traced to problems at North Charleston, a non-union facility. For months (or longer) airlines have complained that Quality Control (QC) there has been below the normal Boeing standards. An FAA audit found the 787 production line did not meet the company’s design and manufacturing standards, specifically, “nonconforming” sections of the rear fuselage, or body of the plane, that fell short of engineering standards.
These QC failures are attached to Boeing’s meeting its PC 700 obligations. In response to these reviews, the FAA has withdrawn the PC holder’s PRIVILEGE to perform the last steps which are intended to assure airworthiness. Replacing the Boeing QC personnel with FAA inspectors FOR FOUR SPECFIC B 787 reviews is more of a symbolic act than a “punishment.” Clearly the Administrator and the Aircraft Certification division are trying to get the attention of Chicago, Renton and now North Charleston. The proud company must be feeling this rebuke. Chairman Calhoun needs to get the message now. Next in line could be the cancellation or suspension of the ODA.
- GILLIAN RICH
- 04:03 PM ET 03/18/2021
The Federal Aviation Administration said late Wednesday that its regulators, not Boeing (BA) employees, would inspect specific 787 Dreamliners before they enter service. Boeing stock fell.
Boeing had been responsible for the basic final safety checks needed to issue an airworthiness certificate before delivery. But FAA said it would now be responsible for the checks for four 787 Dreamliners as Boeing deals with production issues.
“The FAA is taking a number of corrective actions to address Boeing 787 production issues,” the FAA said in a statement. “One of the actions is retaining the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for four 787 aircraft. The FAA can retain the authority to issue airworthiness certificates for additional 787 aircraft if we see the need.”
The FAA’s move is similar to what it did in 2019 with the 737 Max after two fatal crashes, which raised scrutiny on the regulator’s earlier practice of delegating certain safety and oversight functions to Boeing.
Boeing has more than 80 787 Dreamliners awaiting delivery, according to Ascend data cited by the Wall Street Journal. United Airlines (UAL) is due to receive two of them in late March or early April, sources told the Journal.
The aerospace giant stopped deliveries in October as it looked to deal with quality control issues that included excessive gaps in the vertical tail fin that could cause strain on the structure of the plane and shims that were the incorrect size.
Boeing’s manufacturing processes came under fire after two deadly 737 Max crashes led to a 20-month grounding. Investigations into Boeing’s certification process further exposed a toxic work culture, and warnings from some employees said overworked factory staff were making mistakes.
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