NTSB Launches Dreamliner Safety Probe

By Paul Riegler on 8 January 2013
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Cockpit of an ANA Dreamliner in 2011

Cockpit of an ANA Dreamliner in 2011

The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said it had opened up a formal investigation into an onboard electrical fire on a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Boston on Monday, after United Airlines said it had discovered an electrical problem in one of its 787s that could result in a similar problem.

The NTSB will work with the Federal Aviation Administration and Japanese authorities, the airlines involved, and Boeing, which made the aircraft, to determine the cause of the fire and whether it presents a safety hazard going forward.

United reported that it had found improperly installed wires that attach to the APU or auxiliary power unit, the same equipment that caused the JAL fire.

The new problem, however, seems to be unrelated to recent reports of electrical issues on the Dreamliner.  In December, the FAA ordered mandatory inspections of 787 aircraft after concerns were voiced about fuel line leaks and improperly assembled engine attachments.

The first Dreamliner took flight in late 2011 operated by launch customer ANA.  Boeing has delivered over 50 Dreamliners since the launch.

(Photo: Jonathan Spira)

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