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Boeing Halts Delivery Of 4 Models

Wed Nov 03, 1999 4:56 am

Why would they do this now?

It may not be related to anything but, is this not bad publicity for Boeing.

They press has made sure they look bad for that center fuel tank study. They are adding more wood to the fire!


Tuesday November 2, 11:18 am Eastern Time

Boeing Halts Delivery of 4 Models

Associated Press Writer

SEATTLE (AP) -- Boeing has halted delivery of four commercial jetliner models because a
cockpit part was made improperly and could burn too easily. It said the problem was
unrelated to the EgyptAir crash and that there was no immediate safety concern.

Hundreds of 747s, 757s, 767s and 777s that were made in recent years are in operation
with ``nonconforming'' drip shields, which prevent condensation from reaching vital wiring
and instruments, said Jeff Hawk, director of airplane certification for Boeing Commercial Airplane Group.

Delivery of 34 planes is being delayed for a few days while Boeing and Federal Aviation Administration officials decide what to
do about the problem, but production will continue, the company said today.

In a statement released today, the FAA said Boeing ``will not deliver any of these airplanes until they can be brought into
compliance with FAA regulations.''

Eliot Brenner, the agency's chief spokesman, said: ``As a matter of regulation, the aircraft cannot be delivered if they're not in
conformance with the (safety) regulations.''

Randy Harrison, a Boeing spokesman said, ``As far as the rest of the operation is concerned, it is unchanged.''

The FAA said it and Boeing were still deciding what to do about airplanes that have already been delivered.

``It's not connected to the EgyptAir accident at all. ... It's not related to any accident, incident or in-service event,'' Hawk, the
Boeing official, said. ``We do not see this as an immediate safety concern.''

The FAA agreed with that assessment.

The EgyptAir 767 that crashed off Massachusetts' Nantucket Island early Sunday and a Lauda Air 767 that crashed in
Thailand in 1991 had shields that conformed to company and FAA standards, Hawk said. Everyone on both planes died. The
jets were made consecutively in September 1989.

The shields are assembled at a Boeing factory in Spokane. Hawk would not give the cost per unit or estimate the time and
expense required to fix the problem. Those issues are now being determined by the FAA and Boeing, he said.

Replacing the shields altogether would take ``several days'' per plane, but more tests are needed to determine whether that
drastic step will be taken, he said.

The FAA has not issued an airworthiness directive, essentially an order to U.S. carriers to correct the problem, nor does one
appear imminent, Boeing spokeswoman Donna Mikov said.

``We imagine we will have to make some sort of modification to the shields that are now in the airplanes,'' Hawk said. ``We are
trying to understand tonight what we need to do to bring these parts into conformity.''

The shields, which enclose the cockpit, consist of an inner layer of fiberglass or Kevlar, a middle layer of insulation and an outer
layer of plastic that forms a vapor barrier.

The smallest is made for the 757 and is about 3 feet by 5 feet.

The problem was discovered in a laboratory test on a piece of a shield in which the three layers were improperly bonded. An
adhesive that was to have been used only between the inner and middle layer of the shield appears to also have been applied
between the middle and outer layer, Boeing spokeswoman Barbara Murphy said this morning.

When exposed to flame, the piece failed to meet a requirement concerning ``the ability of the material to self-extinguish,'' Hawk

Company officials have yet to determine when the manufacturing glitch developed, but it apparently affects every one of the
four models that have been delivered for ``apparently a few years,'' Hawk said.

Manufacturing processes have been corrected and the problem should not affect Boeing's plans to deliver 620 planes this year,
Hawk said. Boeing 737s and 717s are not affected.
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