Boeing halts 787 deliveries amid electrical system investigation
BY JOSHUA FREED Associated Press
Saturday, January 19, 2013
1/19/13 at 5:19 AM
Boeing Co. is stopping deliveries of the 787 until the plane's electrical system is fixed.
Chicago-based Boeing said Friday production is not stopping. The plane is assembled in Everett, Wash., and North Charleston, S.C., out of pieces built all over the world.
Some components are manufactured in Tulsa by Spirit AeroSystems and NORDAM.
The Federal Aviation Administration has grounded the 787s currently in use until Boeing can prove the batteries are safe.
The FAA's emergency airworthiness directive issued late Wednesday said the 787's battery system would need to be modified, "or other actions" taken, under a method approved by the FAA. However, the agency has not said what those actions should be.
Boeing said deliveries are stopped until an FAA-approved fix has been carried out. The FAA has said it is working on a fix but it has not said how long it will take.
Boeing's move is not surprising. Many experts had suspected that airlines would not accept new 787s from the company until the FAA directive was carried out.
Boeing hasn't delivered a 787 since one went to Air India in early January, before a battery fire raised concerns about the plane's safety. The company has said no other deliveries were planned during that time.
A lithium ion battery caught fire on a parked Japan Airlines 787 on Jan. 7. That fire prompted federal investigations, including a potentially broad FAA look at the plane's electrical design and manufacturing.
This week the battery on an All Nippon Airways 787 overheated in flight, prompting an emergency landing. That caused the Japanese airlines to voluntarily ground their planes, followed by the FAA order later the same day.
It's likely that burning lithium ion batteries on two Boeing 787 Dreamliners were caused by overcharging, aviation safety and battery experts said Friday, pointing to developments in the investigation of the Boeing incidents as well as a battery fire in a business jet more than a year ago.
An investigator in Japan, where a 787 made an emergency landing earlier this week, said the charred insides of the plane's lithium ion battery show the battery received voltage in excess of its design limits.
The similarity of the burned battery from the All Nippon Airways flight to the burned battery in a Japan Airlines 787 that caught fire Jan. 7 while the jet was parked at Boston's Logan International Airport suggests a common cause, Japan transport ministry investigator Hideyo Kosugi said.
"If we compare data from the latest case here and that in the U.S., we can pretty much figure out what happened," he said.
There was one lithium ion battery fire during testing of the 787 for certification.
Original Print Headline: Boeing halts deliveries of 787
U.S. officials, accompanied by Japanese officials, inspect an All Nippon Airways jet Friday that made an emergency landing Wednesday at Takamatsu airport in Japan. Four Americans, including two Boeing Co. representatives, are in Japan to inspect the troubled Boeing 787 jet. Kyodo News/AP