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complete the investigation. Initially the manufacturer
was able to say that the re had caused ZA002 to lose
primary electrical power. "Backup systems, including
the deployment of the ram-air turbine, functioned
as expected and allowed the crew to complete a safe
landing," the company said.
e ight crew had retained positive control of
the airplane and were said to have had "all of the
information necessary to perform that safe landing".
Initial inspection indicated that a power control panel
in the a electronics bay would have to be replaced.
Boeing inspected the power panel and surrounding
structural area to determine if other repairs would be
Flight data was retrieved from the aircra and sent
to Seattle for "several" days' analysis. e incident
occurred as the ight-test team was monitoring the
787's nitrogen-generation system.
Boeing continued to conduct ground testing until
the 787 eet could be returned to the air and while it
gauged the e ect of the lost ight time. "We cannot
determine the impact of this event on the overall
programme schedule until we have worked our way
through the data. Teams have been working through
the night and will continue to work until analysis is
complete and a path forward is determined."
In a later statement, Boeing reported that the
"total duration" of the incident had been less than 90
seconds, with the re itself lasting less than 30 seconds.
A er a complete inspection of ZA002, investigators
began to prepare to install a new electrical-power
panel and new insulation material. Unspeci ed "minor
structural damage" was to be repaired using standard
repair techniques in the 787 structural repair manual.
Boeing claimed the on-board re demonstrated
many aspects of the 787's safety and redundancy. e
manufacturer said that, before any decision could be
taken on resuming ight-testing, it had to complete the
investigation and assess whether any design changes
were necessary. "Until that time, Boeing cannot
comment on the potential impact of this incident on
the overall programme schedule," it said.
Within days, images of the re-damaged interior of the
787's equipment bay began to appear on the Internet
before being quickly removed at the request of Boeing,
which indicated their proprietary nature. One on
the Plane Talking website showed a charred thermal
blanket and a melted electrical component, while
another illustrated what was described as "destruction
of alloy components" in the re, despite its apparent
Following removal of the images, Plane Talking
posted a notice: " e publication or suppression of
information about a re on board ZA002 is not in itself
going to a ect the resolution of issues arising from the
re, nor the time taken to achieve certi cation. It is the
re that matters, not the management of the message."
As Boeing prepares to resume 787 ight-testing,
Japanese programme partner Fuji Heavy Industries
has begun to expand in anticipation of increased
series-production rates. It is enlarging its factory in
Haneda, where it broke ground on the expansion on
21 November. e factory, its third on the site, will
handle integration of the 787's centre-wing box and
main landing-gear bay. Production is scheduled to start
in November 2011.
Despite the recent hiatus in 787 completion, with
suppliers having been asked to slow down (or even
stop) output of components while Boeing catches up
with nal assembly or modi cations to completed
airframes, the manufacturer has taken on almost 1,000
workers in recent weeks. Alongside increased ow on
the 787 line, Boeing is raising manufacturing rates of
the 737, 747, and 777. ●
Boeing 787 timeline
The following key points are taken from
a 787-programme timeline developed by
Reuters news agency:
June 2007 -- Boeing said its scheduled
late-August first- flight date might slip to
September, absorbing much of a one-
month "window" that would still permit
May 2008 first delivery.
27 July 2007 -- Less than three weeks
after 787 roll-out, Boeing acknowledged
the programme was running slightly late
in some areas, but held to the schedule.
September 2007 -- Boeing delayed
first flight about three months to mid-
November/mid-December but the delivery
schedule was unchanged.
October 2007 -- Boeing confirmed an
extended delay to late March 2008 and
postponed first delivery by about six
January 2008 -- Further three-month
hold-up due to supply and assembly
problems put back first flight to late June,
with delivery forecast for early 2009.
April 2008 -- Boeing re-scheduled first
flight to the last quarter of year, and first
delivery to 2009's third quarter.
November 2008 -- Maiden flight delayed to
2009 by 58-day production workers' strike.
December 2008 -- First flight rescheduled
to April-June 2009, with delivery forecast
as first quarter of 2010.
August 2009 -- Boeing put back first
flight to the end of year, with delivery in
15 December 2009 -- First flight of 787.
August 2010 -- Boeing postponed initial
delivery to mid-first quarter of next year.
September 2010 -- ZA001 grounded
for engine change following Trent 1000
failure at Rolls-Royce.
9 November 2010 -- all six 787 flight-test
aircraft grounded after fire aboard ZA002
leads to unscheduled landing.
16 November 2010 -- 787s ZA001 and
ZA005 cleared to return to Seattle from
remote flight-testing elsewhere.
Boeing is still unable to say when flight-testing will resume.
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