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Friday, January 11, 2013

FAA Calls for Design Review of Boeing 787

FAA is calling for a critical review of Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner planes, after a week where two Japanese airlines encountered a fuel leak, electrical fire and braking system problems on commercial flights.

U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said transportation officials will review the recent issues with the plane, and also review all critical systems on the aircraft.

“We are confident that the aircraft is safe. But we need to have a complete understanding of what is happening," said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. "We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

The review is to validate the testing that occurred on the plane during the type certification process. United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier currently operating the Dreamliner, with six planes currently in service.

All Nippon Airways (ANA), the launch customer of the 787, encountered two separate incidents on a Dreamliner on a commercial flight from Tokyo on Friday. The pilot discovered a crack in the cockpit window during mid-flight, and a possible oil leak from a generator was discovered when the plane landed. That marks the fourth incident involving the 787 this week. 

ANA also reported problems with the plane's braking system during another commercial flight on Wednesday. That incident occurred a day after a fuel leak was discovered on a Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 leaving Boston’s Logan International Airport, which followed Monday’s electrical fire on a JAL 787 landing in Boston.

Boeing issued a statement regarding the FAA’s call for a review, noting that the 787 completed the agency’s “most robust and rigorous certification process in the history of the FAA.”

“We welcome the opportunity to conduct this joint review. Our standard practice calls on us to apply rigorous and ongoing validation of our tools, processes and systems so that we can always be ensured that our products bring the highest levels of safety and reliability to our customers,” Boeing said.

The 787 has logged more than 50,000 flight hours since it first entered commercial service in 2011. More 

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