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Boeing 787 trouble

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane after multiple emergency landings across the world were required. Japanese and French aviation officials also have launched investigations.

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(Photo: BBC)

SEATTLE — A Boeing 787 Dreamliner made an emergency landing in Japan early Wednesday morning after an alarm signal on a battery activated, a spokesman for All Nippon Airways in Tokyo said. ANA immediately grounded its fleet of 17 Boeing 787s, and Japan Airlines grounded its seven 787s until further notice.

No ANA flights left SeaTac Airport Wednesday, ANA representatives said. Passengers scheduled to go on a flight were transferred to other carriers. Flights were scheduled to resume Thursday, but the airline would use Boeing 777′s instead of the 787.

The ANA flight, which was scheduled to leave Yamaguchi Ube Airport at 8 a.m. Wednesday (6 p.m. ET Tuesday) and to arrive at Haneda Tokyo International Airport at 9:25 a.m., made an unscheduled landing in Takamatsu airport, Takuya Taniguchi said.

In recent weeks, Dreamliners have suffered issues including fuel leaks, a cracked cockpit window, brake problems and an electrical fire. As a result, Japanese and U.S. authorities have launched investigations into the aircraft.

Japan’s Ministry of Transport said smoke was seen in the cockpit, but not in the passenger compartment. The source of the smoke is not known. A strange smell was also confirmed. All 137 passengers and crew were safely evacuated, using emergency chutes.

Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said the company is “aware of the event and working with the customer.”

The emergency landing occurred as the National Transportation Safety Board in the United States continues its investigation of a battery fire last week. Fifty Dreamliners are in service worldwide, and 800 more are on order.

The Boeing Company released a brief statement on Twitter Tuesday evening.

“We’re aware of the ANA 787 diversion in Japan. We will be working with ANA and the authorities to determine what happened and why.”

It is just the latest in a string of incidents over the past 10 days.

On Jan. 7,  a fire broke out on an empty Japan Airlines 787 on the ground in Boston. The fire was traced to batteries used to provide electricity while the plane is on the ground. The batteries were removed and are being inspected by the FAA.

Then a Japan Airlines 787 flight was canceled in Boston after a fuel leak was discovered as the plane was preparing for departure. The plane was towed back to the gate after losing about 40 gallons of jet fuel.

“This has happened with other type of aircraft; it’s not a common thing but it has happened before. It’s not just specific to a 787,” Logan International Airport Director of Aviation Edward Freni said.

On Jan. 9, another ANA  flight in Japan was canceled after the crew discovered an error message related to braking system.

Boeing released a statement saying:

“While the 787′s reliability is on par with the best in class, we have experienced in-service issues in recent months and we are never satisfied while there is room for improvement.”

Seattle aviation expert Scott Hamilton said the NTSB will have to take a comprehensive look at all of the recent problems.

“These are all electrical issues, but it appears to me these are different electrical issues. Having said that, the NTSB will probably take a look at all these electrical issues and try to determine if there’s some sort of a pattern or systemic nexus,” Hamilton said.

Boeing has a lot at stake here. The 787 is widely seen as the future of the Boeing Co.

Boeing currently has orders for 800 Dreamliners, at a cost of about $200 million apiece.

BoeingTOKYO – A Japan Airlines’ inspection of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner involved in a fuel spill last week at Boston’s Logan International Airport confirmed the liquid was leaking from a nozzle on the plane’s left wing, a JAL spokesman said Sunday.

The ongoing investigation found the leak in a fuel nozzle, the spokesman said.

The jet was bound for Tokyo on January 8 when a pilot on another airplane spotted the 787 leaking fuel just before takeoff. The plane was later flown to Japan for examination.

For more on this CNN story, click here.

dreamlinerSEATTLE — The FAA announced on Friday that it will conduct a major review of the safety of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s electrical systems.

“While the 787′s reliability is on par with the best in class, we have experienced in-service issues in recent months and we are never satisfied while there is room for improvement. For that reason, today we jointly announced with the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) the start of a review of the 787′s recent issues and critical systems,” Boeing said in a statement released early Friday morning.

The review will come after a battery fire Monday aboard a parked Dreamliner at Logan International Airport in Boston, which followed a series of smaller incidents involving the airliners’ electrical panels.

Boeing’s Dreamliners will continue to fly passengers while the broad review of the entire electrical power system is conducted and Boeing said the airplane has logged 50,000 hours and more than 150 daily flights. Boeing said the plane has a reliability “well above 90 percent.”

boeing plane on fireA Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner passenger jet was found to be on fire after arriving at Boston’s Logan International Airport from Tokyo.

The fire was discovered at 10:30 EST by a mechanic who saw smoke in the cabin once all passengers from the Japan Air Lines Co. flight were unloaded at the gate 15 minutes earlier, said airport spokesman Richard Walsh.

Firefighters used infrared equipment to determine the source of the smoke and found a strong heat signature in the underbelly of the aircraft, Walsh said.

“It was in the area where the auxiliary power unit is located,” he said.

A second fire erupted after a battery exploded, Walsh said.

For the complete Los Angeles Times story, go here.

dreamlinerSEATTLE — Aerospace giant Boeing Co. just can’t seem to escape trouble with its new 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.

More than three years late because of design problems and supplier issues, the much-anticipated plane has run into another bout of turbulence with fresh concerns about its safety.

The Federal Aviation Administration this month ordered inspections of fuel line connectors on Dreamliners because of risks of leaks and possible fires.

For more on this LA Times story, click here.


SEATTLE — The Federal Aviation Administration is ordering airlines to inspect 787 Dreamliners for improperly installed fuel-line connectors that could result in leaks or even fires, the Seattle Times reported Tuesday.

The safety directive, which the Times will be published Wednesday, gives airlines a week to check fuel-line system fastening wires and 21 days to check connectors inside the pylons that hold the engines.

Fuel leaks were reported by airlines on two in-service 787s, and subsequent inspections by Boeing of jets in service or still in production revealed some fuel line connectors were installed incorrectly.

Such leaks “could result in fuel leaks and consequent fuel exhaustion, engine power loss or shutdown, or leaks on hot engine parts that could lead to a fire,” according to an FAA notice Tuesday in the Federal Register, the Times said.

Boeing recommended such inspections to 787 customers on Nov. 25. The FAA airworthiness directive makes it mandatory.

To read the full Seattle Times article, click here.