Business

January 10, 2013

Federal investigators beef up scrutiny of 787 fire

ap-boeing-787Federal safety investigators intensified their scrutiny of a Jan. 7 fire aboard a Boeing 787 as concerned investors sold shares in the aircraft maker for a second day.

Boeing on Jan. 8 confirmed that the fire aboard a Japan Airlines plane appeared to have started in a battery pack for the plane’s auxiliary power unit.

The National Transportation Safety Board described the fire damage to the battery as “severe,” and said it is sending two more investigators to examine the Japan Airlines plane. It also formed investigative groups to look at the plane’s electrical systems as well as the fire response.

Boeing has a lot riding on the 787. The long-range jet promises a smoother travel experience and is 20 percent more fuel efficient than older models. After years of delays, Boeing has now delivered 49 of the planes, with almost 800 more on order.

The Jan. 7 fire happened on the ground at Boston Logan International Airport, with no passengers on board. But in-flight fires can be catastrophic, so the matter is getting close scrutiny by aviation authorities.

Interest is especially high in this fire because of indications that lithium batteries — which generally have not been used on large planes before the 787 — can burn very hot, with fires that are difficult to put out. The NTSB said it took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the fire near the back of the plane.

JAL spokeswoman Carol Anderson said the airline inspected its 787s after the fire. She declined to discuss the results, but noted that no schedule changes were made as a result of the inspections.

United Airlines said it inspected its six 787s overnight. A spokeswoman would not say what the inspections found. The Wall Street Journal reported that the inspections found an improperly installed bundle of wires connected to the same battery that burned on the on the JAL plane.

Electrical problems have been the 787’s nemesis.

Last month, a United Airlines 787 flying from Houston to Newark, N.J., diverted to New Orleans because of an electrical problem with a power distribution panel. Last week, United said it would delay the start of 787 flights from Houston to Lagos, Nigeria because it wanted to “improve the reliability of the aircraft.”

In November 2010, a test flight had to make an emergency landing after an in-flight electrical fire. The fire delayed flight tests for several weeks while Boeing investigated.

Boeing said the Jan. 7 fire appears to be unrelated to previous electrical problems on the 787.

“Nothing that we’ve seen in this case indicates a relationship to any previous 787 power system events,” Boeing said in a prepared statement. Those earlier problems involved power panels elsewhere in a rear bay for electrical equipment. Boeing also said it “would be premature to discuss additional details at this stage” of the investigation.

Boeing said it has shared information about the prior events with the NTSB.

Shares of Chicago-based Boeing have fallen 4.6 percent since the fire was reported. Investors may have been unnerved by the fire after it appeared that the mechanical and manufacturing kinks with the 787 had been worked out.

They may have also reacted to another 787 issue Jan. 8. A different Japan Airlines 787 at Logan had to be towed back to the gate after spilling 40 gallons of jet fuel. The flight was re-scheduled for later in the day. AP

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Lockheed Martin, StemRad studying first-responder radiation shield for potential deep-space application

StemRad, Ltd. and Lockheed Martin have initiated a joint research and development effort to determine if StemRad’s radiation shielding technology ñ originally designed for first-responders ñ could help to keep astronauts safe on deep-space exploration missions. This collaboration is part of Lockheed Martin’s ongoing effort to establish international partnerships for human explorat...
 
 

General Dynamics to continue modernizing submarine tactical weapons systems

General Dynamics has received a $20 million contract modification from the U.S. Navy to continue modernizing the AN/BYG-1 Weapons Control System Technology Insertion and Advanced Processing Build software for U. S. Navy and Royal Australian Navy submarines. The AN/BYG-1 software analyzes and tracks submarine and surface-ship contact information, providing tactical, situational awareness for sub...
 
 

Boeing, Vietnam Airlines sign exclusive pilot training agreement

Boeing and Vietnam Airlines announced a five-year exclusive pilot-training agreement to support the Hanoi-based airline’s 787 Dreamliners. Under the agreement, Boeing Flight Services, a business unit of Boeing Commercial Aviation Services, will provide flight training for the airline’s new 787 Dreamliner fleet at Boeing’s Singapore training campus. Nearly 90 Vietnam Airlines p...
 

 
boeing-launch

Boeing WGS-7 satellite to provide military with 17 percent more bandwidth

Boeing’s seventh Wideband Global SATCOM satellite is now in orbit and will soon provide the U.S. and allied militaries with 17 percent more secure communications bandwidth than its predecessors thanks to a payload upgrade. ...
 
 

Boeing, Japanese partners formally sign agreement on 777X

Boeing and key Japanese partners July 23 signed a formal agreement for significant work on Boeing’s new 777X airplane. The agreement finalizes last year’s announcement by Boeing, Japan Aircraft Industries and Japan Aircraft Development Corporation of a Memorandum of Agreement to provide approximately 21 percent of the major airplane structure components for the 777X. The...
 
 

Lockheed Martin receives additional EW contract to protect Navy’s fleet

The U.S. Navy awarded Lockheed Martin a $154 million contract to upgrade the fleet’s electronic warfare defenses against evolving threats, such as anti-ship missiles. Under this low-rate initial production contract for Block 2 of the Navy’s Surface Electronic Warfare Improvement Program (SEWIP), Lockheed Martin will provide additional systems to upgrade the AN/SLQ-32 systems on U.S....
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>