Moderators: jsumali2, richierich, ua900, PanAm_DC10, hOMSaR

 
Opus99
Posts: 1090
Joined: Thu May 30, 2019 10:51 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:57 am

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
enzo011 wrote:
As Boeing engineers comb through records to identity planes with possible flaws, the FAA already has learned what prompted one of the defects: The plane maker didn’t test how it produces shims, or material that fills gaps between barrel-shaped sections of the jets’ fuselages, to ensure they meet requirements, according to the FAA memo. The shims are produced at Boeing’s Dreamliner factory in North Charleston, S.C.

Boeing’s process to generate shims was “not validated prior to implementation into the production process” and lacked a quality check to verify the final product “meets the engineering requirements,” according to the FAA memo. “Boeing has acknowledged a process that produces nonconforming products” and is working to change that, the memo adds.



Wait, there are untested components on the 787? I get that it may not be a problem, but there are items on the 787 they declined to test before using them in production. This seems very serious. What else have they neglected to test before using it in production?

Revelation wrote:
Dominic Gates ( https://www.seattletimes.com/business/b ... cellations ) has updated his article to explain the HTP issue:



The fix procedure itself is relatively straight forward: undo the clamp, redo it with force less than or equal to the specified force, verify gap is not wider than spec. It's not clear how difficult it is to access the components or redo the clamping.


I know Boeing is trying to downplay the seriousness of this, but if the silver lining is that the aircraft isn't old enough to be a immediate issue, well then I guess you have to cling to what you can.

Reading through this makes for a chilling experience.

I cannot think of a factory, plant or lab that I have ever been to, where process was not the key area where attention to detail was paid. This is why you have an added layer to automation so that repetitive tasks are done in a standardized manner and in that automation, processes to ensure that set standards are met.

After that, you have quality control individuals to ensure that everything went according to plan before you deliver the plane to the customer for inspection because there is only so much that they can inspect i.e. mainly cabins and outside appearance before flight tests.

It is shocking to read. It looks like the 737 Max was simply a continuation of poor standards.


2010 to 2020 for Boeing was really a reap what you sew story. All the “cost efficiencies” that they attributed to the 787 and MAX have all come to bite them at various stages.

My hope is that they have now seen what that means for their business specifically the bottom line that they care so much about and try to protect.

I am of the belief that hopefully the ship is turning, slowly but surely. Who knows Boeing of 2018 may not have reported these issues or even done anything about it. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a long way to go but I appreciate the transparency
 
tomcat
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:14 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:13 pm

enzo011 wrote:
As Boeing engineers comb through records to identity planes with possible flaws, the FAA already has learned what prompted one of the defects: The plane maker didn’t test how it produces shims, or material that fills gaps between barrel-shaped sections of the jets’ fuselages, to ensure they meet requirements, according to the FAA memo. The shims are produced at Boeing’s Dreamliner factory in North Charleston, S.C.

Boeing’s process to generate shims was “not validated prior to implementation into the production process” and lacked a quality check to verify the final product “meets the engineering requirements,” according to the FAA memo. “Boeing has acknowledged a process that produces nonconforming products” and is working to change that, the memo adds.



Wait, there are untested components on the 787? I get that it may not be a problem, but there are items on the 787 they declined to test before using them in production. This seems very serious. What else have they neglected to test before using it in production?



It's not the item (the shim) that hasn't been tested by Boeing but the process to manufacture it. It looks like this process was sort of automated and not so much operator-dependent.

It appears also that Boeing has relied on the fact that this process was supposed to produce conforming parts and thus decided to not control them before sending them to the assembly line.
 
Gremlinzzzz
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:53 pm

Opus99 wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
enzo011 wrote:


Wait, there are untested components on the 787? I get that it may not be a problem, but there are items on the 787 they declined to test before using them in production. This seems very serious. What else have they neglected to test before using it in production?



I know Boeing is trying to downplay the seriousness of this, but if the silver lining is that the aircraft isn't old enough to be a immediate issue, well then I guess you have to cling to what you can.

Reading through this makes for a chilling experience.

I cannot think of a factory, plant or lab that I have ever been to, where process was not the key area where attention to detail was paid. This is why you have an added layer to automation so that repetitive tasks are done in a standardized manner and in that automation, processes to ensure that set standards are met.

After that, you have quality control individuals to ensure that everything went according to plan before you deliver the plane to the customer for inspection because there is only so much that they can inspect i.e. mainly cabins and outside appearance before flight tests.

It is shocking to read. It looks like the 737 Max was simply a continuation of poor standards.


2010 to 2020 for Boeing was really a reap what you sew story. All the “cost efficiencies” that they attributed to the 787 and MAX have all come to bite them at various stages.

My hope is that they have now seen what that means for their business specifically the bottom line that they care so much about and try to protect.

I am of the belief that hopefully the ship is turning, slowly but surely. Who knows Boeing of 2018 may not have reported these issues or even done anything about it. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a long way to go but I appreciate the transparency
Self reporting is a small part of what they need to do, but it is a step in the right direction. What matters now and in the very near term is what are they doing to remedy these self created problems. The remedy by the way, needs to come before there is a crash attributed to shoddy manufacturing on their part.

And you are right, cheap has become rather expensive, and very expensive real quick. It looks like they have been going through a lot of stuff to try and find out if there is anything else that may come to bite, and for this they deserve credit. Why they were not doing this every inch of the way though is a question that only they can answer.

Wide bodies and freighters are an area that Boeing dominate, and the 787 is essentially their bread and butter product. Aviation does not need them blundering their way into market share loss.
 
Gremlinzzzz
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:06 pm

tomcat wrote:
enzo011 wrote:
As Boeing engineers comb through records to identity planes with possible flaws, the FAA already has learned what prompted one of the defects: The plane maker didn’t test how it produces shims, or material that fills gaps between barrel-shaped sections of the jets’ fuselages, to ensure they meet requirements, according to the FAA memo. The shims are produced at Boeing’s Dreamliner factory in North Charleston, S.C.

Boeing’s process to generate shims was “not validated prior to implementation into the production process” and lacked a quality check to verify the final product “meets the engineering requirements,” according to the FAA memo. “Boeing has acknowledged a process that produces nonconforming products” and is working to change that, the memo adds.



Wait, there are untested components on the 787? I get that it may not be a problem, but there are items on the 787 they declined to test before using them in production. This seems very serious. What else have they neglected to test before using it in production?



It's not the item (the shim) that hasn't been tested by Boeing but the process to manufacture it. It looks like this process was sort of automated and not so much operator-dependent.

It appears also that Boeing has relied on the fact that this process was supposed to produce conforming parts and thus decided to not control them before sending them to the assembly line.
Automated lines have for ages had checks in place to ensure that products that are coming off the line are of the desired quality. You can go to a biscuit factory today, and a machine will get rid of pieces that shouldn't make it to packaging. You can go to a truck manufacturing plant, and robots will build with other robots checking that work to ensure pin point accuracy, humans checking to see that there are no defects at the end of the line. You will bring in your tomatoes to a plant and robots will get rid of what is not of desired quality, and even then you still have people checking to catch issues because even automation is not 100% reliable.

I have been to a Coca Cola factory that is greatly automated, and they still had quality control people looking at bottles because they did not want what were good bottles that might have some scratches making it out to supermarkets. If they got these, they would not send them out. A lab to test drinks batches to see that everything is in line with what is advertised. Automation gets you only so far without an additional layer to counter check that nothing has gone wrong in that entire process.
If you want something that is great each step of the way, you do not cheap out.

In aviation, we have autopilot, but you still have pilots in place in case, just in case something in the rare event goes wrong.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 24599
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:14 pm

Opus99 wrote:
I am of the belief that hopefully the ship is turning, slowly but surely. Who knows Boeing of 2018 may not have reported these issues or even done anything about it. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a long way to go but I appreciate the transparency

The ship may be turning, but it's a few inches closer to the waterline after Boeing did two major rounds of fund raising on Wall Street, one pre-covid for MAX and a second post-covid. This isn't fatal, it's just a load that needs to be serviced but it will make the board even more reluctant to give go-aheads on major new projects. This debt isn't the "Boeing owes Boeing" kind, it's the "Boeing owes Wall Street" kind. It'll only go away when Boeing has strong cash flow to pay it back, but it's hard to see where that cash flow can come from until the airline industry is in full recovery.

Keesje helpfully pointed out in our 737 reference thread that ST reports Boeing is closing in on a thousand canceled 737s, roughly half outright cancellations and half Boeing de-listings because they no longer met accounting standards i.e. the airlines stopped paying deposits. It shows to me at least that both MCAS and COVID19 are taking a big bite out of the backlog. One can say a market correction was due anyway, but this is one heck of a correction. One can suggest that the strong will survive and then we'll have a recovery, but the projections on a recovery aren't very optimistic.

ST also reported that Boeing made 787s at 10/month for the last five months and only 13 were delivered. Our A350 production thread shows similar lack of deliveries for A350. Neither A or B can afford to make planes that airlines aren't accepting. The airline industry is not healthy, and we're just heading into the slow northern winter period. It's not going to turn around any time soon, IMO.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
morrisond
Posts: 2774
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:22 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:24 pm

Revelation wrote:
Opus99 wrote:
I am of the belief that hopefully the ship is turning, slowly but surely. Who knows Boeing of 2018 may not have reported these issues or even done anything about it. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have a long way to go but I appreciate the transparency

The ship may be turning, but it's a few inches closer to the waterline after Boeing did two major rounds of fund raising on Wall Street, one pre-covid for MAX and a second post-covid. This isn't fatal, it's just a load that needs to be serviced but it will make the board even more reluctant to give go-aheads on major new projects. This debt isn't the "Boeing owes Boeing" kind, it's the "Boeing owes Wall Street" kind. It'll only go away when Boeing has strong cash flow to pay it back, but it's hard to see where that cash flow can come from until the airline industry is in full recovery.

Keesje helpfully pointed out in our 737 reference thread that ST reports Boeing is closing in on a thousand canceled 737s, roughly half outright cancellations and half Boeing de-listings because they no longer met accounting standards i.e. the airlines stopped paying deposits. It shows to me at least that both MCAS and COVID19 are taking a big bite out of the backlog. One can say a market correction was due anyway, but this is one heck of a correction. One can suggest that the strong will survive and then we'll have a recovery, but the projections on a recovery aren't very optimistic.

ST also reported that Boeing made 787s at 10/month for the last five months and only 13 were delivered. Our A350 production thread shows similar lack of deliveries for A350. Neither A or B can afford to make planes that airlines aren't accepting. The airline industry is not healthy, and we're just heading into the slow northern winter period. It's not going to turn around any time soon, IMO.


Yes much less likely to see new clean sheet projects. Here come the 737-8ER and 788-ER/F

One question does the 788 not have a different horizontal tailplane than the 789/781? Are any 788 on the list?
 
morrisond
Posts: 2774
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 12:22 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:35 pm

iamlucky13 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
tomcat wrote:
Who cares about the few short term deliveries if like the rear fuselage issue, the HTP issue will require the inspection (and repair?) of the 900 aircraft already delivered? The near term deliveries may only be the visible part of the iceberg.

I don't know, "The affected planes haven’t been delivered to customers yet" seems pretty unambiguous to me.


I would read that as "the known affected planes." It is not clear to me if they have completed their full review and are certain the issue does not exist prior to a certain date, or may need to further review QA inspection data or even perform new inspections on previously built frames.

As someone who occasionally peruses the latest Airworthiness Directive list on the FAA website out of curiosity, however, this latest issue with the gaps in the horizontal stabilizer does not really raise my eyebrows. Phrases like "may lead to premature aging" are pretty common, and in fact relatively mild with respect to the issues discovered on at least a weekly basis by both of the two largest manufacturers.

Frankly, while I'm not surprised to see the media laser-focused on Boeing issues right now, I'm confused why Mr. Gates thought the specific issue reported today was worth an article. The stated consequence is really mild compared to the sorts of theoretical consequences frequently noted. He skipped one a few weeks ago involving engine bleed valves where the listed consequence could be as severe as dual engine shutdowns, and it was even a 737 issue, to boot (both Classic and NG).

Here's some other examples from the five most recent AD's on the FAA's website today, all published since Thursday. None of the five happened to be Boeing related, so I also added #8 for a recent Boeing example, but please do not read anything into two other manufacturer's leading the count this week, as that is definitely within the normal variation.

  • Chafing due to improper clearance between a fairing nut plate and the fuselage "could lead to crack initiation and propagation, possibly resulting in reduced structural integrity of the fuselage."
  • A cracked pinion due to residual stress from manufacturing "could result in failure of the pinion with detachment of parts inside the transmission that could cause its malfunction or jamming, ultimately resulting in loss of control of the helicopter."
  • "cracking in the foot coupling, which could affect the structural integrity of the airplane."
  • A report of slat jamming during landing has potential of "causing one or more slat surfaces to be no longer connected to either the slat wing tip brake or the slat PCU, possibly resulting in reduced control of the airplane."
  • Susceptibility of the battery in an Emergency Locator Transmitter to stray currents "which could result in damage to the airplane and injury to occupants."
  • Replacement of faulty cabin air compresser outlet check valves "which could expose the flight deck and passenger cabin to smoke and fumes, and lead to reduced crew performance or produce passenger discomfort...and could cause serious injury for an individual with a compromised respiratory system."

I assume it will be a few weeks before we see an AD published for the HTP issue disclosed today.


This makes a very good point. For those who are hyperventilating about the 787 falling out of the sky - go spend some time on the AD websites for the FAA and EASA. You will be shocked by what you find - Boeing isn't the one with the most AD's.

This is a normal part of long term airliner maintenance/operation. If the Horizontal tailplane was that big of a concern they would ground it immediately especially in this regulatory environment.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 24599
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:45 pm

B787register wrote:
This is way more serious than first though

I wouldn't say so. It's way more common than first thought but less impactful than first thought. It is not a risk to flight issue, it's a potential premature aging issue.

iamlucky13 wrote:
Frankly, while I'm not surprised to see the media laser-focused on Boeing issues right now, I'm confused why Mr. Gates thought the specific issue reported today was worth an article.

Yes, the article is kind of a strange conglomeration of the HTP news along with release of the August results. I think even AD level problems are going to get an airing in the Seattle press, given the present circumstances.

morrisond wrote:
One question does the 788 not have a different horizontal tailplane than the 789/781? Are any 788 on the list?

It is different, however the ST article says one reason Boeing is making the 789/J tail in house is because the 788 tail had its own set of quality problems. The article never breaks it down by model. It does keep mentioning Salt Lake. Chances are good that this is just a 789/J issue.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
tomcat
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:14 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 1:56 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
tomcat wrote:
enzo011 wrote:


Wait, there are untested components on the 787? I get that it may not be a problem, but there are items on the 787 they declined to test before using them in production. This seems very serious. What else have they neglected to test before using it in production?



It's not the item (the shim) that hasn't been tested by Boeing but the process to manufacture it. It looks like this process was sort of automated and not so much operator-dependent.

It appears also that Boeing has relied on the fact that this process was supposed to produce conforming parts and thus decided to not control them before sending them to the assembly line.
Automated lines have for ages had checks in place to ensure that products that are coming off the line are of the desired quality. You can go to a biscuit factory today, and a machine will get rid of pieces that shouldn't make it to packaging. You can go to a truck manufacturing plant, and robots will build with other robots checking that work to ensure pin point accuracy, humans checking to see that there are no defects at the end of the line. You will bring in your tomatoes to a plant and robots will get rid of what is not of desired quality, and even then you still have people checking to catch issues because even automation is not 100% reliable.

I have been to a Coca Cola factory that is greatly automated, and they still had quality control people looking at bottles because they did not want what were good bottles that might have some scratches making it out to supermarkets. If they got these, they would not send them out. A lab to test drinks batches to see that everything is in line with what is advertised. Automation gets you only so far without an additional layer to counter check that nothing has gone wrong in that entire process.
If you want something that is great each step of the way, you do not cheap out.

In aviation, we have autopilot, but you still have pilots in place in case, just in case something in the rare event goes wrong.


Those checks were obviously not part of the production set-up of these shims. One cannot compare a line producing millions of food items per month to a line delivering barely more than 10 finished products per month. Also, out of the 1+ million components making up an aircraft, the shims are surely not the ones in which the most value is added to. It seems that in this instance Boeing has gone a bit too cheap though.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 24599
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:26 pm

tomcat wrote:
It's not the item (the shim) that hasn't been tested by Boeing but the process to manufacture it. It looks like this process was sort of automated and not so much operator-dependent.

It appears also that Boeing has relied on the fact that this process was supposed to produce conforming parts and thus decided to not control them before sending them to the assembly line.

The best info we have on the shim issue comes from the WSJ piece:

Boeing’s process to generate shims was “not validated prior to implementation into the production process” and lacked a quality check to verify the final product “meets the engineering requirements,” according to the FAA memo. “Boeing has acknowledged a process that produces nonconforming products” and is working to change that, the memo adds.
...
Boeing identified the suspect shims in August 2019 and immediately reactivated a computerized quality check that identifies improper shims that had been turned off, the person familiar with Boeing’s internal review said. The second defect, which this person said Boeing detected last month as part of an internal review, stems from variations in the smoothness of the interior fuselage skin near the rear of the planes.

A lot of hairs to be split. It seems to be saying that every production shim was not validated, and the process that produced the shims was not compliant and the quality check that would have detected improper shims was turned off. "Complaint" can be read many ways. I'm not sure what sense is being implied: is it in the regulatory sense, or in the engineering sense?
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
User avatar
smithbs
Posts: 500
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:57 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
The last plane that Boeing released that did not have issues was the 777. At some point in time, the board and management have to sit down and reflect as to whether or not they are doing right by their customers.

The FAA that is sleeping on the job similarly keeps losing face with every issue that comes up.


You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.
 
Antarius
Posts: 2508
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:11 pm

smithbs wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
The last plane that Boeing released that did not have issues was the 777. At some point in time, the board and management have to sit down and reflect as to whether or not they are doing right by their customers.

The FAA that is sleeping on the job similarly keeps losing face with every issue that comes up.


You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.


Agreed. Right now, there is an active AD on 2000 737 NGs and on 1200 US a320s (not sure about global) for various issues. Self-reported and fixed issues are common and shows that the aviation safety culture is still working.

Boeing does have their fair share of issues, no doubt. But this seems fairly routine.
2020: SFO DFW IAH HOU CLT MEX BIS MIA GUA ORD DTW LGA BOS LHR DUB BFS BHD STN OAK PHL ISP JFK SJC DEN SJU LAS TXL GDL
 
Gremlinzzzz
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:19 pm

smithbs wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
The last plane that Boeing released that did not have issues was the 777. At some point in time, the board and management have to sit down and reflect as to whether or not they are doing right by their customers.

The FAA that is sleeping on the job similarly keeps losing face with every issue that comes up.


You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.
Have you seen the 777 grounded? Grounding of a fleet means you messed up to a level where planes might be falling off the sky at any one moment in time. That has happened with the 787, and we have the longest ever grounding in the 737.

The 787? It isn't just the grounding, it is the fact that issues that now affect majority of the global fleet are beginning to prop up. Issues that guess what, should have been discovered with barely functioning processes and quality control systems. In short, these are not the teething problems that have been there with almost every program on any jet; these are systemic issues that point towards a culture of nonchalance, a lack of care for the product you are putting out.

Boeing has had this data for over a decade, they simply were not arsed about (1) Conforming their manufacturing standards to the desired quality and (2) Not bothered by actually checking the data they had to ensure that what was going to consumers was their best work.

Without Max issues, it would have taken 787's falling from the skies for them to actually change. That does not and should not sit well with anyone who knows just how much safer air travel is today compared to two or even three decades ago.
 
Gremlinzzzz
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:24 pm

tomcat wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
tomcat wrote:

It's not the item (the shim) that hasn't been tested by Boeing but the process to manufacture it. It looks like this process was sort of automated and not so much operator-dependent.

It appears also that Boeing has relied on the fact that this process was supposed to produce conforming parts and thus decided to not control them before sending them to the assembly line.
Automated lines have for ages had checks in place to ensure that products that are coming off the line are of the desired quality. You can go to a biscuit factory today, and a machine will get rid of pieces that shouldn't make it to packaging. You can go to a truck manufacturing plant, and robots will build with other robots checking that work to ensure pin point accuracy, humans checking to see that there are no defects at the end of the line. You will bring in your tomatoes to a plant and robots will get rid of what is not of desired quality, and even then you still have people checking to catch issues because even automation is not 100% reliable.

I have been to a Coca Cola factory that is greatly automated, and they still had quality control people looking at bottles because they did not want what were good bottles that might have some scratches making it out to supermarkets. If they got these, they would not send them out. A lab to test drinks batches to see that everything is in line with what is advertised. Automation gets you only so far without an additional layer to counter check that nothing has gone wrong in that entire process.
If you want something that is great each step of the way, you do not cheap out.

In aviation, we have autopilot, but you still have pilots in place in case, just in case something in the rare event goes wrong.


Those checks were obviously not part of the production set-up of these shims. One cannot compare a line producing millions of food items per month to a line delivering barely more than 10 finished products per month. Also, out of the 1+ million components making up an aircraft, the shims are surely not the ones in which the most value is added to. It seems that in this instance Boeing has gone a bit too cheap though.
You automate to reduce cost and to get standardized parts i.e. each and every part is the same which is something that cannot be achieved by humans.

You then set up automation to counter check because tooling can go wrong for any number of reasons. It might be age, it might be weather, it might be a malfunction. You finally have humans checking everything to ensure that it meets required standards. It has nothing to do with volume, and one should also expect that dealing with higher volumes should mean more problems, not less.
 
tomcat
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:14 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:33 pm

Revelation wrote:
tomcat wrote:
It's not the item (the shim) that hasn't been tested by Boeing but the process to manufacture it. It looks like this process was sort of automated and not so much operator-dependent.

It appears also that Boeing has relied on the fact that this process was supposed to produce conforming parts and thus decided to not control them before sending them to the assembly line.

The best info we have on the shim issue comes from the WSJ piece:

Boeing’s process to generate shims was “not validated prior to implementation into the production process” and lacked a quality check to verify the final product “meets the engineering requirements,” according to the FAA memo. “Boeing has acknowledged a process that produces nonconforming products” and is working to change that, the memo adds.
...
Boeing identified the suspect shims in August 2019 and immediately reactivated a computerized quality check that identifies improper shims that had been turned off, the person familiar with Boeing’s internal review said. The second defect, which this person said Boeing detected last month as part of an internal review, stems from variations in the smoothness of the interior fuselage skin near the rear of the planes.

A lot of hairs to be split. It seems to be saying that every production shim was not validated, and the process that produced the shims was not compliant and the quality check that would have detected improper shims was turned off. "Complaint" can be read many ways. I'm not sure what sense is being implied: is it in the regulatory sense, or in the engineering sense?


About the process non-compliance (I guess your refer to the bit "Boeing’s process to generate shims was “not validated prior to implementation"), I'd read this as a non-compliance against the in-house process requirements. The OEMs are defining their own manufacturing "recipes" and whoever is using them has to demonstrate their compliance prior to go into production.

I have worked with the 4 (now 3) large aircraft OEMs and I have yet to meet a manufacturing engineer who isn't complaining about the need of shims in assemblies especially when faced with ever more challenging assembly times.

To move a bit forward in this discussion I would highlight 2 points:
- the shim issue seems limited to the joint between the sections 47 and 48. It will be a good news for Boeing if the issue is indeed limited to that joint thanks to the fact that the shims used in the other fuselage joints have possibly been produced by another shop using a compliant process (I'm assuming that shims are possibly required at every fuselage barrel joint).
- although not exactly a similar issue in terms of scope of inspection and repair, the rib-feet issue found in the A380 wings due to improper shimming (or lack of shimming where the assembly gaps would have required the presence of a shim) gives an order of magnitude of the cost of fixing that sort of issue.
 
SeaKing4
Topic Author
Posts: 43
Joined: Wed Aug 10, 2016 6:42 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:37 pm

Revelation wrote:
[quote=“Tomcat”]
A lot of hairs to be split. It seems to be saying that every production shim was not validated, and the process that produced the shims was not compliant and the quality check that would have detected improper shims was turned off. "Complaint" can be read many ways. I'm not sure what sense is being implied: is it in the regulatory sense, or in the engineering sense?


Quite simple in engineering terms - Compliant - meeting or in accordance with rules and standards. - if the shim was not validated against a standard then it is not compliant. If this is the case the FAA could build a case against the manufacturer requiring inspections on all a/c.

I also read on air current that one airline has two of the 8 a/c removed from service. Which airline I don’t know.
Last edited by SeaKing4 on Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.
 
Antarius
Posts: 2508
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:40 pm

SeaKing4 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
A lot of hairs to be split. It seems to be saying that every production shim was not validated, and the process that produced the shims was not compliant and the quality check that would have detected improper shims was turned off. "Complaint" can be read many ways. I'm not sure what sense is being implied: is it in the regulatory sense, or in the engineering sense?


Quite simple in engineering terms - Compliant - meeting or in accordance with rules and standards. - if the shim was not validated against a standard then it is not compliant. If this is the case the FAA could build a case against the manufacturer requiring inspections on all a/c.


From the WSJ article, it sounds like the FAA is looking at exactly that - inspection of 900+ frames.
2020: SFO DFW IAH HOU CLT MEX BIS MIA GUA ORD DTW LGA BOS LHR DUB BFS BHD STN OAK PHL ISP JFK SJC DEN SJU LAS TXL GDL
 
tomcat
Posts: 598
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2000 4:14 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:52 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
tomcat wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
Automated lines have for ages had checks in place to ensure that products that are coming off the line are of the desired quality. You can go to a biscuit factory today, and a machine will get rid of pieces that shouldn't make it to packaging. You can go to a truck manufacturing plant, and robots will build with other robots checking that work to ensure pin point accuracy, humans checking to see that there are no defects at the end of the line. You will bring in your tomatoes to a plant and robots will get rid of what is not of desired quality, and even then you still have people checking to catch issues because even automation is not 100% reliable.

I have been to a Coca Cola factory that is greatly automated, and they still had quality control people looking at bottles because they did not want what were good bottles that might have some scratches making it out to supermarkets. If they got these, they would not send them out. A lab to test drinks batches to see that everything is in line with what is advertised. Automation gets you only so far without an additional layer to counter check that nothing has gone wrong in that entire process.
If you want something that is great each step of the way, you do not cheap out.

In aviation, we have autopilot, but you still have pilots in place in case, just in case something in the rare event goes wrong.


Those checks were obviously not part of the production set-up of these shims. One cannot compare a line producing millions of food items per month to a line delivering barely more than 10 finished products per month. Also, out of the 1+ million components making up an aircraft, the shims are surely not the ones in which the most value is added to. It seems that in this instance Boeing has gone a bit too cheap though.
You automate to reduce cost and to get standardized parts i.e. each and every part is the same which is something that cannot be achieved by humans.

You then set up automation to counter check because tooling can go wrong for any number of reasons. It might be age, it might be weather, it might be a malfunction. You finally have humans checking everything to ensure that it meets required standards. It has nothing to do with volume, and one should also expect that dealing with higher volumes should mean more problems, not less.


We are mostly in agreement but you don't automate blindly. There are instances where the manual operations remain cheaper especially when the volumes of production are low or uncertain. Also, shims are by definition non-standard. Each shim is produced with a thickness depending on the gap to be filled which is measured once the parts are put together. Some gaps even require a shim with a variable thickness. Granted, the production of such shims can be automated and it's the case many times but it's not always the case. For example if you go away from the high added value final assembly lines and go down to suppliers responsible for more basic components, you will find instances of hand made shims or formed in place (liquid) shims.
 
User avatar
Revelation
Posts: 24599
Joined: Wed Feb 09, 2005 9:37 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 4:14 pm

SeaKing4 wrote:
Revelation wrote:
A lot of hairs to be split. It seems to be saying that every production shim was not validated, and the process that produced the shims was not compliant and the quality check that would have detected improper shims was turned off. "Complaint" can be read many ways. I'm not sure what sense is being implied: is it in the regulatory sense, or in the engineering sense?

Quite simple in engineering terms - Compliant - meeting or in accordance with rules and standards. - if the shim was not validated against a standard then it is not compliant. If this is the case the FAA could build a case against the manufacturer requiring inspections on all a/c.

It's pretty clear to me that we're being prepared to expect a full inspection of the fleet, I'll be surprised if it is otherwise.

It's pretty clear that the production process was not validated, but it's not clear to me at least if the shims produced by the non validated process met physical standards or not. They may remove a meaningful subset of the shims and subject them to tests that show they meet all expected physical specifications, I would think. On the other hand they may find issues with durability, thermal properties, etc.
Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world
The heart has its beaches, its homeland and thoughts of its own
Wake now, discover that you are the song that the morning brings
The heart has its seasons, its evenings and songs of its own
 
User avatar
smithbs
Posts: 500
Joined: Wed May 17, 2017 6:09 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 6:19 pm

Gremlinzzzz wrote:
smithbs wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
The last plane that Boeing released that did not have issues was the 777. At some point in time, the board and management have to sit down and reflect as to whether or not they are doing right by their customers.

The FAA that is sleeping on the job similarly keeps losing face with every issue that comes up.


You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.
Have you seen the 777 grounded? Grounding of a fleet means you messed up to a level where planes might be falling off the sky at any one moment in time. That has happened with the 787, and we have the longest ever grounding in the 737.

The 787? It isn't just the grounding, it is the fact that issues that now affect majority of the global fleet are beginning to prop up. Issues that guess what, should have been discovered with barely functioning processes and quality control systems. In short, these are not the teething problems that have been there with almost every program on any jet; these are systemic issues that point towards a culture of nonchalance, a lack of care for the product you are putting out.

Boeing has had this data for over a decade, they simply were not arsed about (1) Conforming their manufacturing standards to the desired quality and (2) Not bothered by actually checking the data they had to ensure that what was going to consumers was their best work.

Without Max issues, it would have taken 787's falling from the skies for them to actually change. That does not and should not sit well with anyone who knows just how much safer air travel is today compared to two or even three decades ago.


I think you are being a bit alarmist. Time salves bad memories, and has mostly achieved in letting us forget the initial troubles on the 777 in the 1990s. And did you check that link I sent you? The ADs are a mostly unbroken string from day 1 to today. It's not like they've stopped, and I think that is true for most airframes - it only really stops when the model is completely dead. Even DC-10 had one two years ago!

I don't sense a conspiracy here because Boeing self-reported these latest 787 issues. If, as you say, they were sitting on this information, then why has it now been self-reported, even while they have been continuously self-reporting other issues?
 
Gremlinzzzz
Posts: 91
Joined: Fri Jan 24, 2020 4:28 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:07 pm

smithbs wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
smithbs wrote:

You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.
Have you seen the 777 grounded? Grounding of a fleet means you messed up to a level where planes might be falling off the sky at any one moment in time. That has happened with the 787, and we have the longest ever grounding in the 737.

The 787? It isn't just the grounding, it is the fact that issues that now affect majority of the global fleet are beginning to prop up. Issues that guess what, should have been discovered with barely functioning processes and quality control systems. In short, these are not the teething problems that have been there with almost every program on any jet; these are systemic issues that point towards a culture of nonchalance, a lack of care for the product you are putting out.

Boeing has had this data for over a decade, they simply were not arsed about (1) Conforming their manufacturing standards to the desired quality and (2) Not bothered by actually checking the data they had to ensure that what was going to consumers was their best work.

Without Max issues, it would have taken 787's falling from the skies for them to actually change. That does not and should not sit well with anyone who knows just how much safer air travel is today compared to two or even three decades ago.


I think you are being a bit alarmist. Time salves bad memories, and has mostly achieved in letting us forget the initial troubles on the 777 in the 1990s. And did you check that link I sent you? The ADs are a mostly unbroken string from day 1 to today. It's not like they've stopped, and I think that is true for most airframes - it only really stops when the model is completely dead. Even DC-10 had one two years ago!

I don't sense a conspiracy here because Boeing self-reported these latest 787 issues. If, as you say, they were sitting on this information, then why has it now been self-reported, even while they have been continuously self-reporting other issues?
Alarmist? My goodness!

There is a huge difference in having a product out and finding out issues when compared to having data you could have analyzed and have done nothing with it.
Today we have automated systems, huge strides made when it comes to data points that can be analyzed, and humongous steps in AI and machine learning. Things that had not been available before.

I have worked in science, business, and have a good amount of friends and family who work in aviation. I know what data analysis looks like in medicine, production in various plants not just medicine and medical equipment, quality control, all the way to analysis. I know that there is not a single plant, bank, or business that does not pay attention to the data they have. Boeing is in the business of assembly of planes......why should they wait a decade to catch problems they ought to have caught in year 1 when they have the data on their lap?
Amateur hour, a decade long. If this was any other business, there would have been a clear out of management and the board to boot.
 
smartplane
Posts: 1524
Joined: Fri Aug 03, 2018 9:23 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 7:18 pm

Revelation wrote:
morrisond wrote:
One question does the 788 not have a different horizontal tailplane than the 789/781? Are any 788 on the list?

It is different, however the ST article says one reason Boeing is making the 789/J tail in house is because the 788 tail had its own set of quality problems. The article never breaks it down by model. It does keep mentioning Salt Lake. Chances are good that this is just a 789/J issue.

If we have only heard one side, likely the 788 manufacturer exercised an exit option. Talk, and risk losing payments due, and capital equipment and IP compensation.
 
dtw2hyd
Posts: 8413
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 12:11 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Wed Sep 09, 2020 9:30 pm

smartplane wrote:
Revelation wrote:
morrisond wrote:
One question does the 788 not have a different horizontal tailplane than the 789/781? Are any 788 on the list?

It is different, however the ST article says one reason Boeing is making the 789/J tail in house is because the 788 tail had its own set of quality problems. The article never breaks it down by model. It does keep mentioning Salt Lake. Chances are good that this is just a 789/J issue.

If we have only heard one side, likely the 788 manufacturer exercised an exit option. Talk, and risk losing payments due, and capital equipment and IP compensation.


Good point smartplane. Earlier your post on how programs compete within is also a valid point, but very common practice in any US Inc.

Up thread there was a thought of 787neo. Can BCA do a 789 structure, folding wingtips with GE9X, the NextGen wide body so to speak. Would program managers(AKA cost centers) work together or continue to fight to keep their own programs.
All posts are just opinions.
 
Strato2
Posts: 557
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2016 3:52 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Thu Sep 10, 2020 9:27 am

Fingers crossed these problems are handled without a delay and the 787 does not become another Comet.
 
RB211trent
Posts: 162
Joined: Tue Aug 22, 2017 11:35 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Thu Sep 10, 2020 10:50 am

smithbs wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
The last plane that Boeing released that did not have issues was the 777. At some point in time, the board and management have to sit down and reflect as to whether or not they are doing right by their customers.

The FAA that is sleeping on the job similarly keeps losing face with every issue that comes up.


You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.

Your 100% right. ADs are constantly being issued for just about every airliner flying. People on here should take some time out and take a look at them before posing.
 
kalvado
Posts: 2899
Joined: Wed Mar 01, 2006 4:29 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Thu Sep 10, 2020 11:34 am

RB211trent wrote:
smithbs wrote:
Gremlinzzzz wrote:
The last plane that Boeing released that did not have issues was the 777. At some point in time, the board and management have to sit down and reflect as to whether or not they are doing right by their customers.

The FAA that is sleeping on the job similarly keeps losing face with every issue that comes up.


You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.

Your 100% right. ADs are constantly being issued for just about every airliner flying. People on here should take some time out and take a look at them before posing.

Thing is, there is no good understanding about the scale of this particular AD.
My impression is that AD can be a mostly paperwork exercise, with some analysis and numerical simulations. Next level of complexity would be having some inspections - similar to the recent A320 windshield: eddy current (or whatever works for carbon fiber structures - ultrasonic?) every once in a while. Business as usual, as far as I can tell.
Is it possible that some repairs - minor or major - would be needed? That would be yet another escalation.
People are talking as if later scenario is all but guaranteed. Which may be the case, but my feeling that is pretty unlikely.
 
Galore
Posts: 29
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2020 12:43 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Thu Sep 10, 2020 12:59 pm

rheinwaldner wrote:
8 of 1000 is a rate of 0.008. Sounds negligible.


What???

I’m an engineer working on semiconductors for cell phones. I just had a week of endless WebEx calls (in lieu of on-site support in Beijing due to COVID) because our non-safety critical part caused a 100ppm failure rate and our team burned midnight oil through the holiday weekend because this HAD to be fixed otherwise we’d lose this account.

For a consumer cell phone.

And you think 8/1000 = 8000ppm for a problem with an airplane (!) that can cause the death of hundreds is negligible???
 
Antarius
Posts: 2508
Joined: Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:27 pm

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Thu Sep 10, 2020 3:52 pm

kalvado wrote:
RB211trent wrote:
smithbs wrote:

You sure about that?

https://www.faa.gov/regulations_policie ... boeing+777

Every aircraft has issues. It's public record - choose your airframe of choice and run an AD report on it. Each one is a continuous stream of findings and fixes and improvements. This recent 787 stuff is no different. Issues found, issues fixed, life moves on, most people never know.

Your 100% right. ADs are constantly being issued for just about every airliner flying. People on here should take some time out and take a look at them before posing.

Thing is, there is no good understanding about the scale of this particular AD.
My impression is that AD can be a mostly paperwork exercise, with some analysis and numerical simulations. Next level of complexity would be having some inspections - similar to the recent A320 windshield: eddy current (or whatever works for carbon fiber structures - ultrasonic?) every once in a while. Business as usual, as far as I can tell.
Is it possible that some repairs - minor or major - would be needed? That would be yet another escalation.
People are talking as if later scenario is all but guaranteed. Which may be the case, but my feeling that is pretty unlikely.


I think its the general thought process until we have more information. Typically ADs are relatively ho-hum affairs, requiring inspections and repairs at certain intervals or during checks. So far, from the articles, this is similar-ish as it states that there is no immediate safety issue as the aircraft are within the premature failure window. As a result, I'm treating it as other ADs right now. If the FAA comes back with requirement of immediate inspection or a large number of aircraft need to be grounded and checked, then it is more serious and will be treated as such.

Summary - don't know enough yet to be concerned more than usual :)
2020: SFO DFW IAH HOU CLT MEX BIS MIA GUA ORD DTW LGA BOS LHR DUB BFS BHD STN OAK PHL ISP JFK SJC DEN SJU LAS TXL GDL
 
B787register
Posts: 174
Joined: Thu May 15, 2014 8:39 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Mon Sep 14, 2020 5:51 am

These four issues with the rear of the aircrafy now appears to effect line numbers 6 to 687, as well as 689-873, 875-885, 889-890, 895-897
David C
 
StTim
Posts: 3732
Joined: Thu Aug 08, 2013 7:39 am

Re: Boeing Removes 8 x 787 From Service over Structural Issues

Mon Sep 14, 2020 11:06 am

How did their quality systems allow the fact they were using an unvalidated system to produce shims go on for so long? That sounds like a major snafu!

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos