Boeing in worldwide aircraft inspection
Boeing has requested airlines from worldwide to carry out inspections of a transmitter used to locate aircraft after a crash.
A UK regulator had recommended the inspection after a fire broke out on a 787 Dreamliner jet parked at Heathrow airport earlier this month.
It was traced to the upper rear part of the plane where the part – Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) – is fitted.
Boeing said it had asked operators of 717, Next-Generation 737, 747-400, 767 and 777 airplanes to inspect aircraft.
“We’re taking this action following the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch [AAIB] Special Bulletin, which recommended that airplane models with fixed Honeywell ELTs be inspected,” Randy Tinseth, vice president marketing for Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said in a blog post.
“The purpose of these inspections is to gather data to support potential rulemaking by regulators.”
As a result of the fire on the parked Ethiopian Airlines plane, London’s Heathrow airport was closed for 90 minutes.
After the fire, the regulator had asked all Boeing 787s switch off an electrical component until further notice and suggested a safety review of similar components in other aircraft.
In a statement, the AAIB had said that the component needed more “airworthiness action”.
It had said that “it was not clear whether the combustion in the area of the ELT was initiated by a release of energy within the batteries or by an external mechanism such as an electrical short”.
It added that as the ceiling space where the ELT is located does “not typically carry the means of fire detection… had this event occurred in flight it could pose a significant safety concern and raise challenges for the cabin crew in tackling the resulting fire”.
Honeywell International, the company that makes the emergency transmitters, had said that it backed the proposal to switch them off while investigations continued, but added that it was “premature to jump to conclusions”.
Last week, two airlines disclosed issues with the wiring on their Boeing 787’s emergency transmitters,
Japan’s All Nippon Airways (ANA), the world’s biggest operator of Dreamliners, said last week it found damage to the battery wiring on two 787 locator transmitters during checks.
United Airlines said that it found a pinched wire during an inspection of one of its six 787s.