The Federal Aviation Administration has ordered a safety review of Boeing's flagship plane after two more dangerous incidents raised troubling concerns about their integrity. The latest problems came on Friday, when a Japanese flight crew found a crack in a cockpit window of a 787 Dreamliner and different 787 on the same airline suffered an oil leak inside an engine. That makes five separate incidents this week alone for a plane that has received numerous and varied complaints since being launched in late 2011.
The order may not require the planes in service to be grounded, but will include a review of "critical systems," including "the design, manufacture and assembly of the aircraft." Boeing has put 50 787 Dreamliners into service around the world, but has orders to deliver 800 more in the next few years.
The 787 was meant to be a revolution in aircraft design utilizing several new techniques and materials and ushering in a new era of commercial aircraft construction. However, the plane's launch was delayed by several years and the planes have seen a host of glitches since going into service. Perhaps the most troubling problem for Boeing is that there is not one single flaw being discovered across the fleet, but a variety of different issues, from electrical problems to battery fires to cracks in the lightweight fiberglass structure.
Boeing's stock was hit hard earlier this week after reports of a fire on a plane at Logan Airport in Boston, and will be watched carefully once the market opens later this morning. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Federal Aviation Administrator Michael Huerta, and Boeing president Ray Conner will discuss the review at 9:30 a.m. press conference.