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Thu, Nov 18, 2010

Two Boeing 787 Dreamliners To Return To Seattle

Laredo Investigation Continues, No Timeline Set For Resumption Of Flight Testing

While the investigation into the incident onboard 787 Dreamliner ZA002 continues, Boeing has established a plan to fly two other aircraft, ZA001 and ZA005, back to Seattle from Rapid City, SD, and Victorville, CA. The FAA has reviewed and approved the plans.


ZA001 was undergoing refueling in South Dakota when the incident on ZA002 occurred and the company decided to forgo additional flights. ZA005 was on remote deployment for testing in California. The flights follow a series of inspections on the airplanes' aft electronics bays. No testing will be performed on the flights.

The team investigating the incident in Laredo has developed a detailed understanding of the ZA002 incident, though more work remains to complete the investigation. In addition to the information already released about the incident, data show that:

  • The total duration of the incident was less than 90 seconds.
  • The fire lasted less than 30 seconds.
  • The airplane concluded the event in a configuration that could have been sustained for the time required to return to an airport suitable for landing from any point in a typical 787 mission profile.  


The team in Texas has completed inspection of ZA002 and has begun to prepare to install a new power panel and new insulation material. The team also is repairing minor structural damage that occurred during the event. This damage will be addressed with standard repair techniques in the airplane structural repair manual. The team is currently evaluating the timeline for completion of the repair work.

In a statement released Wednesday, Boeing says it has determined that a failure in the P100 panel led to a fire involving an insulation blanket. The insulation self-extinguished once the fault in the P100 panel cleared. The P100 panel on ZA002 has been removed and a replacement unit is being shipped to Laredo. The insulation material near the unit also has been removed.

Damage to the ZA002 P100 panel is significant. Initial inspections, however, do not show extensive damage to the surrounding structure or other systems. We have not completed our inspections of that area of the airplane.

The P100 panel is one of several power panels in the aft electronics bay. It receives power from the left engine and distributes it to an array of systems. In the event of a failure of the P100 panel, backup power sources – including power from the right engine, the Ram Air Turbine, the auxiliary power unit or the battery – are designed to automatically engage to ensure that those systems needed for continued safe operation of the airplane are powered. The backup systems engaged during the incident and the crew retained positive control of the airplane at all times and had the information it needed to perform a safe landing.

Molten metal has been observed near the P100 panel, which is not unexpected in the presence of high heat. The presence of this material does not reveal anything meaningful to the investigation.

Inspection of the surrounding area will take several days and is ongoing. It is too early to determine if there is significant damage to any structure or adjacent systems. As part of the investigation, a detailed inspection of the panel and insulation material will be conducted to determine if they enhance understanding of the incident.

Boeing officials said they are continuing to evaluate data to understand this incident, and devising a repair plan. In addition, they are in the process of determining the appropriate steps required to return the rest of the flight test fleet to flying status.  No decision has been reached on when flight testing of the 787 will resume. Before that decision can be made, we must complete the investigation and assess whether any design changes are necessary. Until that time, Boeing says it cannot comment on the potential impact of this incident on the overall program



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