US authorities to probe Boeing Dreamliner problems

Friday 11 January 2013 23.23
Dreamliner jet beset by problems since its launch in 2011
Dreamliner jet beset by problems since its launch in 2011

US aviation regulators are to launch a comprehensive review of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet, with a special focus on its electrical systems, following a series of recent safety incidents.

The review was announced by the head of the Federal Aviation Administration at a press conference, which was also attended by US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Boeing commercial airplanes chief Ray Conner.

“We believe this is a safe aircraft,” said the FAA’s Michael Huerta.

Boeing Co said it welcomed the joint review of safety issues and said it remained “fully confident in the airline's design and production system.”

A number of safety issues have arisen with 787 Dreamliner jets, most recently a reported cracked cockpit window and an oil leak on separate flights in Japan.

All Nippon Airways Co said a domestic flight from Tokyo landed safely at Matsuyama airport in western Japan after a crack developed on the cockpit windscreen, and the plane's return to Tokyo was cancelled.

The same airline later said oil was found leaking from an engine of a 787 Dreamliner after the plane landed at Miyazaki airport in southern Japan.

An airline spokeswoman said that return flight to Tokyo's Haneda airport was also cancelled while the leak was investigated. No one was injured in either incident.

The Dreamliner, the world's first carbon-composite airliner, which has a list price of €155m, has been beset by problems this week.

The 787 Dreamliner made its first commercial flight in late-2011, after a series of production delays put deliveries more than three years behind schedule.

By the end of last year, Boeing had sold 848 Dreamliners, and delivered 49.

Earlier this week, a battery fire caused damage to an empty 787 jet operated by Japan Airlines while it was on the ground at Boston airport.

The next day, another JAL 787 spilled 40 gallons of fuel onto the taxiway at the same airport after a problem that caused a valve to open, forcing the plane to delay its departure.

On Wednesday, ANA cancelled a domestic Dreamliner flight due to a brake-control computer glitch.

Boeing's top Dreamliner engineer, Mike Sinnett, was rolled out midweek to defend the 787, saying the plane's problem rates were no higher than with Boeing's successful 777 jet.

Keywords: dreamliner

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