For anyone who has picked up the reports on Yahoo or Google News about the Focus magazine story of another potential round of 787 delays, and Boeing’s response Sunday denying the report, this all must be very confusing.
We don’t know if the report, which cites unidentified sources in the FAA, is correct or not. The report also says Boeing will announce another delay of three to six months in May, though the English-language reporting of the Focus story doesn’t say where this timing information comes from.
What we do know is that since before the 787 roll-out, the FAA has been concerned about a variety of issues relating to the ground-breaking technology of the 787 and has issued several “special condition” rules that Boeing has to meet. This is not anything to get exercised about.
We also have been told, however, on many occasions–also beginning before the roll-out–that the FAA is short on the technical expertise to assess some of the technology and that it’s had to rely on engineers at the US Air Force who have greater experience in composites and other areas than those at the FAA. This lack of technical expertise at the FAA may be what’s at work here, if the Focus report has any validity.