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not gonna fly

Factory issues, failed drug test hit production of new Air Force One

Multiple factory issues have disrupted production of one of Boeing's new Air Force One jets, The Wall Street Journal reports Tuesday.

In two instances earlier this year, Boeing crews were "attempting to shift" the weight of one of the two jets under development "to jacks from a scaffold-like structure in the factory," the Journal writes. But some of the jacks were holding significantly more weight than designed, causing concern that the aircraft was damaged.

The U.S. Air Force later said the jacking incidents did not harm the aircraft in question, but a subsequent examination found that "a Boeing employee involved wasn't properly credentialed for overseeing the work, crews didn't follow established procedures, and another employee involved in the operations failed a routine post-incident drug test," the Journal writes, per people familiar with the matter. The employee that oversaw the jacking had experience in such operations but not in a leadership capacity, a source said.

Also, a few months ago, two empty tequila bottles were found on one of the planes, despite alcohol being banned from all Boeing factories, Reuters reports.

The Pentagon's contractor-management agency has issued a formal request to Boeing to improve its operations in the wake of "documentation, procedural, and training shortfalls," an Air Force spokesperson told the Journal. "The situation was corrected and actions taken to prevent reoccurrence."

Boeing and the Pentagon are still in negotiations over the delivery schedule of the new presidential jets. Boeing has estimated a 17-month delay, but the Air Force thinks that will be more like 24.