Aviation News

November 13, 2010

FAA Hits Brakes on 787 Certification Until Cause of Fire Investigated

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By: BNO News
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The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Friday said it has no plans to resume certification testing of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner aircraft until it fully understands what caused an incident on Tuesday.

ZA001, the first Boeing 787 built, is on remote deployment to Edwards Air Force Base in California for a series of tests to demonstrate extreme landing conditions. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)

“The FAA does not plan to resume certification testing until we clearly understand the cause of the incident and identify any corrective actions that might be needed,” said FAA spokesman Lynn Lunsford, while adding that it only applies to flight testing of the aircraft.

The incident happened on Tuesday when a Boeing 787 Dreamliner test flight was evacuated after landing in Laredo, Texas due to smoke in the cockpit. All occupants were evacuated safely via the aircraft’s emergency slides.

On Wednesday, Boeing said the aircraft lost primary electrical power as a result of an oboard electrical fire. Backup systems, including the deployment of the Ram Air Turbine (RAT), functioned and allowed the crew to perform a safe landing.

“The pilots executed a safe landing and at all times had positive control of the airplane and all of the information necessary to perform that safe landing,” Boeing said in a statement. “Initial inspection appears to indicate that a power control panel in the aft electronics bay will need to be replaced on [the aircraft]. We are inspecting the power panel and surrounding area near that panel to determine if other repairs will be necessary.”

On Thursday, Boeing added that the failure in the panel led to a fire involving an insulation blanket. “The insulation self-extinguished once the fault in the P100 panel cleared,” Boeing said.