Boeing wants to be able to fix its 787s with duct tape

Ask Airbus: ‘simple’ paint problems can turn into costly nightmares. Thus the A350s of the European manufacturer acquired by Qatar Airways, whose defects caused a commercial earthquake between the two parties, with a lawsuit and billions gone.

According to Qatar Airways, it is not just a matter of coquetry and a purely aesthetic problem: the company argues that these paint defects could decrease the resistance of the aircraft concerned to lightning strikes.

The United States is not exempt from these pitfalls, which Airbus attributes to the interaction between the carbon and the paint that covers it, explaining that this cannot be the source of any danger.

crippled defects putting Boeing in great difficulty, the wings of the 787 Dreamliner, supposed flagship of the Seattle firm, also seem to have some coating problems. So far, Boeing has used a technique as old as mechanics to deal with the most urgent: to cover the defects with simple adhesive tape.


Problem: for passengers, these a priori rather innocuous tinkerings do not look very serious, and the astonishing photos that flourish on social networks will probably not help the manufacturer to reassure about its recent and disastrous passive security.

So, to cover its back and reassure its customers as well as their customers, Boeing is asking the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the American regulator, to intervene to make the temporary more permanent.

The manufacturer thus wishes to “officialize” the use of this adhesive tape, pending the green light given by the same body to a more durable, invisible and therefore less anxiety-provoking solution: the incorporation of a layer against ultraviolet to the usual coating.

“Although the use of adhesive tape has no effect on the safety of the devices, the public could have the impression [que le vol pourrait se dérouler dans des] risky conditions seeing it on the surface of the wings”, writes Boeing in its plea.

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