Both Boeing and the NTSB are investigating an issue with a GEnx powered 787 that was about to conduct its first flight yesterday. The aircraft in question is ZA238 (LN 54, VT-ANJ) for Air India. This is the 2nd 787 built at the Boeing Charleston facility. Apparently a piece of debris fell out of the engine and landed on a grassy area next to the runway at Charleston. The piece was apparently hot enough to spark a small fire that was promptly extinguished by the USAF fire fighting crew stationed at the joint use airport.
The investigation is in the early stages however I do think that this might be an issue that is either a one off manufacturing or maintenance issue issue with this particular aircraft and I have doubt that this would be a fleetwide issue as the GEnx-1B has been performing well up to now. I do suspect that this is more of a ground maintenance issue (perhaps something not secured properly) but the NTSB will have to make that final determination along with Boeing and GE. At the time of the incident, ZA238 was doing taxi tests prior to undertaking its first flight. It is not known if this will have a delivery impact on other 787s both at Charleston and Everett. Currently there are 8 GE powered 787s that are ready or being readied for delivery including the for Dreamliners for Air India. The other carriers include Ethiopian, Qatar, and Japan Airlines. The aircraft for Qatar had completed a tour to the Farnborough Airshow where it performed an aerial routine for three days and returned to Everett without incident. Jon Ostrower of the Wall Street Journal has a great article about the situation.