Sunday, November 14, 2010

ZA002 News - ZA001 and ZA005 to fly back to Boeing Field

Boeing released a statement this morning updating the media on the fire on board ZA002 and giving some immediate plans. First off, the two 787s that are not at Boeing Field, ZA001 and ZA004 will be flown back to Boeing Field. Currently ZA001 is at Rapid City, SD where it was being re-fueled for a return to Boeing Field when the fire took place. Boeing elected to ground the airplane after the incident. ZA005 has been at Victorville, CA. for a few weeks undertaking NAMS (nautical air mile testing). It too will be flown back to Boeing Field today. Boeing cleared the flights with the FAA and no testing will be undertaken on these ferry flights to Seattle. The other 787s are already at Boeing Field except for ZA002 which is being repaired and ZA003 which is at Everett for ground tests.

On ZA002, Boeing has completed its inspection but not its investigation. They've collected all the data and have begun repairs to the aircraft. There was a some structural damage which Boeing says will be repaired using standard repair techniques that they have developed for the composites on the 787. The repair team will also replace the insulation and the failed power module.

Boeing has not yet established a timeline to complete the repairs or for when test flights will resume. They say they are getting closer to a root cause of the fire but have not yet shared this knowledge.

Boeing said the entire incident lasted only 90 seconds and the fire lasted 30 seconds. Boeing also said that the redundancies allowed the airplane to conclude the flight in a configuration that would have enabled it to fly to a diversion airport if the airplane was flying a typical revenue flight. The meaning of that statement is that the airplane systems worked as advertised (other than the failed power panel) and the safety systems and redundancies made sure that the airplane concluded the flight safely. This would have been the case if the airplane was over the middle of the Atlantic at 40,000 feet.

A local Seattle TV news station said that the pilots didn't declare an emergency until AFTER the 787 had landed in Laredo. It had been widely assumed that the emergency was declared while the airplane was on final approach into the airport.

King 5: Pilots Declared Fire Emergency after 787 landed

In light of the fire, the FAA has stopped certification activities except for ground tests. How long this suspension will last will depend on the nature of the incident and Boeing's ability to demonstrate that they have a fix and that it will not occur again.

FAA Hits Brakes on 787 Certification

Guy Norris has a posting on today news:

Guy Norris: 787 will today - briefly

Here's Boeing's statement:

Two Boeing 787 Dreamliners to Return to Seattle; Laredo Investigation Continues

EVERETT, Wash., Nov. 16, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- 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, S.D., and Victorville, Calif. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration 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.

The incident on ZA002 demonstrated many aspects of the safety and redundancy in the 787 design, which ensure that if events such as these occur, the airplane can continue safe flight and landing.

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 cannot comment on the potential impact of this incident on the overall program schedule.

787 production continues

Meanwhile there will be line move in the 787 final assembly building today with the 26th 787 (ZA231) for Air India moving to the paint hangar at Everett.
The first 787 for Air India (ZA230) made it's first appearance being towed to the Boeing flightline at Everett. Flightblogger posted photos of the aircraft being towed to the flightline from the paint hangar. The line move makes room for the 30th 787 (ZA234) to start final assembly. The next 787 to enter final assembly after that will be ZA117 for ANA on Dec. 1st...two weeks from now.


Gianfranco said...

One week after the incident, all this doesn't sound good for the program, no ?

Uresh said...

Jury is still out on that one.