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Dreamliners Still Glitching

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Three 787 Dreamliners operated by United Airlines suffered mechanical errors resulting in aborted flights within the last six days – the latest problems to plague Boeing’s next generation passenger jet.

According to the Associated Press, a Dreamliner traveling from Houston to Denver on Sunday had to return to its originating airport shortly after takeoff due to a brake indicator issue. Two days earlier, a Dreamliner traveling from London to Houston had to land in Newark due to an engine oil issue. Two days before that, a Dreamliner traveling from Denver to Tokyo had to land in Seattle due to an oil filter issue.

Obviously none of these problems are as serious as the lithium battery problems which resulted in the entire Dreamliner fleet being grounded from January through April of this year. The company never figured out what caused its batteries to catch fire, but it devised a solution to future conflagrations which satisfied the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Even before the grounding, Boeing was facing immense pressure to turn a profit on the plane. Originally scheduled for delivery in May of 2008, numerous design, supply and delivery problems pushed Dreamliner’s deadline back more than three years – causing numerous cancellations.

The latest Dreamliner glitches don’t sound like much (in fact they could be nothing but a trio of faulty indicator lights), but even minor problems are amplified given the troubled past this aircraft has had.

Boeing makes 787s in Everett, Washington and in North Charleston, S.C. In fact South Carolina taxpayers have shelled out more than $1 billion in taxpayer subsidized incentives to “land” Boeing’s business. S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley is the company’s biggest cheerleader, referring to 787s as “Mack Daddy Planes.”

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