Boeing To Fix Design Flaw In 787 Tail

CHICAGO (AP) -- Boeing said it will fix a design flaw in the tail section of its new 787, and it still expects to start delivering the plane by the end of this year.

Spokeswoman Yvonne Leach said on Tuesday that testing showed that the outer skin of the plane and the bracket-like piece of metal that holds it near the tail could separate slightly. She said Boeing will change the way the device is made, and that should fix the problem.

The problem includes the tail cone and the piece of the fuselage near the horizontal stabilizer, the part on the tail that looks like a wing. The tail cone is made by Korea Aerospace Industries Ltd., and the fuselage section was made by Boeing at its plant in Charleston, S.C. Leach said the parts were made to specifications but the specifications need to be changed.

Boeing will fix all but the first three planes it produced, she said. Those first three planes are being used for testing only and will not be delivered to customers.

Boeing Co. has told suppliers to stop delivering 787 parts for almost five weeks. Leach said the design problem was one small part of that delay, but not the main cause.

The issue was reported Monday on FlightBlogger, part of the Flightglobal aviation news website.

Boeing shares lost $1.84, or 2.6 percent, at $67.84 in afternoon trading.

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