Boeing admits it used wrong rivets in 747s

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The Independent Online

Boeing has warned airlines and air regulators that rivets reinforcing the structure of its aircraft need to be replaced in several 747-400 jumbo jets.

A mechanic at Boeing's plant in Wichita, Kansas, discovered that as many as 1,000 of the wrong kind of rivets had been installed on each of the 27 aircraft, 10 of which are in service with airlines.

The aircraft manufacturer's spokeswoman, Shannon Myers, said the rivets used on the upper deck and main deck of the jumbos did not pose a safety risk. She said, however, that the rivets do help to reinforce part of the plane's structure and that those used cannot handle the stresses involved.

Ms Myers said about 300 to 1,000 rivets on each plane were at issue - a small number given the tens of thousands of rivets used in each aircraft.

Boeing will issue a service bulletin in a few days telling its customers how to fix the problem. It will have to take an additional three days per aircraft to fix the problems on the jumbos still under construction.

This is the eighth instance of manufacturing and parts problems Boeing has faced so far this year. There also have been problems with loose nuts on next-generation 737s.