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Boeing Blunder Hampers Air Force One Production

The next-generation presidential jets were already months behind schedule.

Another tough headline is about the last thing Boeing needed.

The entire global aviation sector suffered in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Boeing has also faced production issues with its 787 Dreamliner and the grounding of the 737 Max after two deadly crashes.

A crash of a Boeing 737-800 in China last month remains under investigation, and, this week, reports surfaced of a production mishap involving perhaps the company’s most famous plane.

The Wall Street Journal reports that one of Boeing’s two next-generation Air Force Ones could have been damaged when workers attempted to shift the under-construction jet onto jacks.

The weight on the jacks was reportedly well in excess of what they were designed to hold, and officials were reportedly concerned that the aircraft could have been damaged.

The Air Force did not find any damage, but its investigation instead determined that Boeing crews didn’t follow established procedure and that one employee wasn’t properly credentialed to supervise the work. Another later failed a routine drug test.

The Air Force requested that Boeing improve its operations, and a spokeswoman told the Journal that the matter was corrected and steps taken to prevent similar incidents in the future.

Boeing’s multi-billion-dollar Air Force One program was already months behind schedule, and the latest disclosure isn’t the only embarrassing episode from their construction: reports last year said Boeing was investigating how a couple of empty mini-bottles of tequila found their way onto one of the jets at its San Antonio facility.

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