Now Boeing 787 Dreamliner delayed by fire on test flight

2nd Boeing 787 First Flight

First flight of Boeing 787 No.2: Image via Wikipedia

An electrical fire could have a myriad of causes and does not necessarily have any fundamental design implications, but the Dreamliner does not need further delays even for fairly trivial faults.

The Press Association reports:

Boeing has grounded its test fleet of new 787 passenger jets while it investigates an electrical fire that forced one of the planes to make an emergency landing. On Tuesday, a 787 on a six-hour test flight had to make an emergency landing in Texas after the crew reported smoke in the rear of the plane.

Boeing said it would take several days to analyse flight data and stopped flights for all of its 787 test planes “until we better understand the cause of the incident”. Spokeswoman Loretta Gunter said it is not yet clear how long it will be until test flights resumed. “We don’t have a schedule in mind right now,” she said.

The company plans ground tests on the planes while they are not flying.

Ms Gunter said the fire started in a power control panel in a rear electronics bay on the test plane. Boeing is inspecting the power panel and the area around it to see if other repairs are needed. The fire cut the plane’s electrical power. Boeing said back-up systems including a ram air turbine – essentially a wind-powered generator – functioned as expected.

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating Tuesday’s incident and the National Transportation Safety Board is monitoring the situation but has not sent investigators to the scene.

It is the latest setback for a plane that is already about three years behind schedule. Boeing had hoped to deliver the first 787, which it calls the Dreamliner, to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in the first quarter of next year.

“We are committed to finding the cause quickly but will not rush the technical team in its efforts,” the company said.

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