Friday, July 12, 2013

Ethiopian 787 catches fire at Heathrow

This is breaking right now so much of this information can change but an Ethiopian 787 parked at a remote stand at London's Heathrow International Airport caught fire. The Heathrow fire brigade responded and the fire appear to be out.

Pictures from the scene show damage to the top of the fuselage just forward of the tail. The cargo doors were closed but passenger doors on both sides (doors 3 & 4) are opened. This area may be the aft galley of the aircraft and not near the APU lithium ion battery.

This fire does not appear to be related to the lithium ion batteries given the location.  This particular aircraft is ZA261 (LN44, ET-AOP) and was delivered to Ethiopian on Nov. 20, 2012.

The flight arrived around 6:30 AM London time and was parked at a remote stand as it's return flight to Ethiopia was not due to leave until 9:00PM. The fire occurred at about 5:15PM, almost 4 hours before departure. At that time the aircraft should be empty and completely powered down. Again it is too early to say what happened but I am leaning towards this NOT being a battery fire but perhaps some device in the galley being left on. The investigation will determine the final cause.

As to repair and return to service of this particular aircraft, that will be determined by the airline with Boeing's help. It all depends on the extent of the damage to the fuselage. 


8 comments:

David Cummings said...

This is bad very bad...

even if its not the batteries which are on the other side from the camera views and at the bottom, the vents and fire equipment should have kept it in check, this looks like a galley fire.
the fire has gone through the skin of the airframe the question is - is this repairable? i think with it being carbon fibre it isnt...

Uresh said...

What vents and fire equipment are you talking about? The aircraft was completely buttoned up and there is no fire suppression in the main cabin.

Ignazio Di Napoli said...

Any photos?

David Cummings said...

The Dreamliners where fitted with Vents around the battery containment areas weren't they to keep any battery fire / fumes away from the cabins?

Uresh said...

That's in the E/E bays not on the cabin. Thi fire didn't occur in the E/E Bays.

Ignazio Di Napoli said...

I hope you will be able to inform us how they will repair it: as an engineer working in alenia grottaglie (sect. 44 and 46) I'm very interested!

nskiwi said...

Media will have a field day with this. I can just imagine the headlines. This will tarnish Boeings image for the 787 even further just when they were getting down the track again. Im not sure what out come if any of this problem that they can hope for,what ever it is, its another bad day for boeing

nskiwi said...

I wonder if the plane was completly powered down. If the plane was idle for that long how could something cause an issue after sitting there with no power. Did the pilots leave something on and it shorted because not all the steps in powering down were done properly or had someone gone back and started powering something and they hadnt followed procedures...time will tell although strange