Friday, February 10, 2012

Boeing and Airbus Continue Competition For Bad News

Boeing and Airbus Continue Competition For Bad News:

The on again, off again competition between the world’s two largest airplane makers continues with each company suffering recent issues with their newest aircraft.

The Airbus A380 wing crack woes continue as the European Aviation Safety Agency expanded the airworthiness directive to cover all 68 of the A380s currently in service. In January only 20 of the super jumbos with the most take offs and landings were affected.

The issue is not one of immediate safety concern, but the EASA wants inspections of brackets on the wing ribs to happen for the A380 fleet sooner rather than later.

“EASA and Airbus are working closely together to ensure the continuing safe operations of the A380 aircraft type” the agency said in a statement. “In accordance with EASA, Airbus has established a repair scheme if cracks are found during the inspection. In parallel, EASA and Airbus are working on a long-term fix to be defined by the summer of 2012.”

Not to be outdone with fixes needed to already finished airplanes, Boeing has announced it has discovered another problem with its new 787 Dreamliner. The issue is with small shims used to fill gaps between the composite fuselage barrel and the internal fuselage support structure.

Shims are commonly used on most airliners during assembly to take up space that develops because of manufacturing processes. The problem in the 787 affects a section of the aft fuselage where the shims did not fit properly and could lead to delamination of the composites if left unchecked for a long period of time. The company says repairing existing airplanes affected by the shim problem will “take days, not months” to fix.

Like Airbus, Boeing says the problem doesn’t pose an immediate safety hazard and inspections and work on fixing the issue has already begun. Currently there are five 787s flying passengers, all with launch customer All Nippon Airways of Japan.

Photo: Jason Paur/

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