Inspections for Boeing 787 Aircraft Proposed by Federal Aviation Administration
As a result of several recent incidents involving Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft, a proposal by the Federal Aviation Administration of the United States calls upon airlines to inspect emergency locator transmitters in the entire fleet worldwide for signs of wire damage or pinching, as well as signs of unusual heating or moisture of the lithium manganese dioxide battery of each transmitter.
Investigators in the United Kingdom traced a fire in the interior of a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines to an emergency locator transmitter. The fire forced Heathrow Airport near London to be closed temporarily on July 12, 2013.
According to an article written by Bart Jansen for USA TODAY, the proposal is expected to be finalized by the Federal Aviation Administration within days. The inspections are expected to be mandatory.
In addition to the incident involving the aircraft operated by Ethiopian Airlines, other incidents occurred recently involving Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” airplanes, including the following:
- Thompson Airlines flight 126 traveling from England to Sanford, Florida in the United States had reportedly returned to Manchester Airport on July 12, 2013 as the result of experiencing a technical issue during its flight.
- Japan Airlines flight 007 traveling from Boston to Tokyo had reportedly returned to Logan International Airport as a precautionary measure on July 18, 2013 after a maintenance message indicator alerted the pilots of possible fuel pump issues during its flight over Hudson Bay in Canada.
- United Airlines flight 94 traveling from Houston to Denver had reportedly returned to the international airport in Houston on June 23, 2013 as the result of a mechanical problem related to an issue with the brake indicator — and FlyerTalk member mojave3 was a passenger aboard the aircraft on that flight.
- United Airlines flight 125 traveling from London to Houston had reportedly been diverted to the international airport in Newark on June 20, 2013 as the result of an indication of the aircraft being low on oil.
- United Airlines flight 139 traveling from Denver to Tokyo had reportedly been diverted to the international airport in Seattle on June 18, 2013 as the result of an indication of a problem with an oil filter. This incident was supposedly unrelated to the low oil indicator incident which occurred on United Airlines flight 125.
Despite the incidents listed above, United Airlines apparently ordered 20 of the newer and longer Boeing 787-10 “Dreamliner” aircraft — positioning itself as one of the “launch” customers for this particular model.
Although the exact and definitive cause of a fire in the cargo area aboard a Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” aircraft operated by Japan Airlines at Logan International Airport in Boston on January 7, 2013 was never found, Boeing reportedly added more insulation between cells of the lithium-ion battery in an auxiliary unit which helps power the aircraft; surrounded the battery with a metal box to prevent the spread of a potential fire; and installed a titanium tube to carry flammable electrolytes off of the aircraft in the event of a fire.