Saturday, May 19, 2018
Business

Airlines find Boeing 787 wire issues

Two airlines disclosed issues with the wiring on their Boeing 787s' emergency transmitters, the same part of the plane that is getting close scrutiny after a parked jet burned earlier this month.

United Airlines said Friday that it found a pinched wire during an inspection of one of its six 787s. Earlier, Japan's All Nippon Airways found damage to wiring on two Boeing 787 locater beacons. It flies 20 of the jets.

The inspections were mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration for U.S. airlines after the tail of an Ethiopian Airlines 787 caught fire while parked at London's Heathrow airport earlier this month. U.K. investigators said the only thing in the tail section with enough power to fuel a fire like that was the emergency transmitter. That's a metal-cased, battery-operated radio the size of a loaf of bread that activates in a crash to help rescuers find a plane.

A wire could short-circuit if it's pinched by metal and the metal cuts through the wire's insulation, exposing the part that carries electricity.

The fire at Heathrow happened just when Boeing was hoping to get the 787 out of the news. In January, smoldering lithium-ion batteries on two 787s prompted authorities to ground the plane for almost four months, forcing Boeing to redesign the batteries and their chargers.

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