It's been turbulent flying recently for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner passenger jet.
This past Monday, an electrical fire was discovered aboard an empty Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 scheduled for departure from Boston's Logan International Airport. The following day a JAL flight to Tokyo aborted takeoff from Logan after a crewmember on another airplane spotted the Dreamliner leaking fuel
As a result, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will conduct a comprehensive review of the 787's critical systems -- including the design, manufacture and assembly. The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s safety standards.
“The safety of the traveling public is our top priority,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”
A statement issued by Boeing said the aircraft maker "is confident in the design and performance of the 787," and that it welcomes the review. The statement adds that after 15 months of service, the Dreamliner is showing reliability "well above 90 percent."
Joint review planned
A team of FAA and Boeing engineers and inspectors will conduct the joint review, with an emphasis on the aircraft’s electrical power and distribution system. The review will also examine how the electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.
“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening," said FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. "We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”
The review will be structured to provide a broader view of design, manufacturing and assembly and will not focus exclusively on individual events. The review is expected to begin in Seattle, but may expand to other locations over the course of several months.
FAA technical experts logged 200,000 hours of work during the 787 type certification and flew on numerous test flights. The FAA reviews 787 in-service events as part of our continued operational safety process.
United Airlines is currently the only U.S. airline operating the 787, with six airplanes delivered. The worldwide in-service fleet includes 50 aircraft.