Last week the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration issued a new airworthiness directive (AD) that all 222 Boeing 787 Drealiners registered in the United States to undergo yet more inspections, this time the FAA wants the decompression panels to be inspected. The AD comes after several such panels have been discovered to have been torn or damaged.
The decompression panels separate the cargo area of the airplane from the passenger compartment and are designed to keep the passenger compartment safe in case of sudden decompression from the cargo compartment. The super lightweight panels that passenger are unknowingly walking on are a honeycomb like panel that comes in a 6 foot by 8 foot section approximately, and is what the floor covering is laid on in the passenger compartment.
The inspection comes as new scrutiny follows Boeing’s troubled 737 Max program which saw production halted and all 737 Max airplanes grounded worldwide for nearly two years. Following the 737 Max program troubles, intensive inspections and review has spread to Boeings other aircraft, including the 787 Dreamliner where new production problems continue to be found on existing aircraft.
In the United States, American and United currently fly the Boeing 787. American has 45 of the type, including the -8 and the -9, with a further 44 on order and United has 60 on hand and another 4 on order covering all three variants of the Dreamliner, the -8, -9, and -10 models.