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More bad news for Boeing’s 787

Post by John Gillie / The News Tribune on July 30, 2009 at 3:11 pm |
July 30, 2009 3:11 pm

Boeing’s 787 technical problems could be more severe than the company has admitted.

Engineers working on the fix for a weak joint between the composite airliner’s wings and its body told the Seattle Times this week that the joint failed in testing much earlier than the company’s computer models had predicted.

The problems with that joint are what is delaying the first flight of the Dreamliner, Boeing’s nickmane for the revolutionary twin-engine airliner.

Under severe stress the composite wing reinforcements began to delaminate, break apart where the layers of composite fabric are joined together, the Times said.

Boeing says it is designing a remedy for the structural problem, but it doesn’t yet know how long it will take to retrofit the test aircraft.

Some outside experts are predicting the plane won’t take its first flight until December or January.

In other 787 news, the company designing braking software for the plane is in a dispute with Boeing over who should pay to rewrite that software.

Crane Co. contends that Boeing changed the aircraft design, necessitating the software rewrite. Boeing says the software changes should be done on Crane’s nickel.

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