This Time, It’s Not the 787 Causing Airlines Grief


Boeing’s (NYSE:BA) Dreamliner 787 has been drawing most of the “malfunctioning aircraft” headlines as of late, but the 767 has garnered some attention from the Federal Aviation Administration. The problem is loss of pilot control. In a directive published January 27 in the Monday edition of the Federal Register, the regulatory agency issued a directive warning that problems with the moveable section of the aircraft’s tail can jam, potentially hampering the pilot’s ability to fly the plane.

The directive mandates that the 767 jets undergo an “enhanced inspection” focused horizontal flight-control surfaces called elevators, pieces of equipment that help aircraft climb and descend. In certain cases, the elevator’s fasteners and other devices used to control the aircraft will need to be modified or replaced. According to the FAA, “failures or jams in the elevator system” can result “in a significant pitch upset and possible loss of control.”

Implementing the needed repairs would cost U.S. airline operators approximately $510 per plane for labor and an unknown amount for parts, the FAA calculated. However, the costs of inspections would run much higher, and already some carriers have replaced the parts in question to avoid the onerous federal inspections, as a source familiar with the situation told the Wall Street Journal.