The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Aviation Administration has grounded Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner in the United States. The move follows a spate of incidents involving the electrical systems on latest Boeing jetliner.
The FAA ordered the temporary grounding while it investigates the increasing frequency of smoke-related emergencies. Japanese carriers ANA and JAL have both grounded their 787 fleets following well-publicized incidents involving their aircraft. The Journal notes that the latest scare, involving ANA Flight 692 bound for Tokyo, pushed the FAA to widen the scope of the inquiry:
Wednesday’s incident has expanded the world-wide probe of the 787’s electrical troubles. After previous reported problems, officials had said they were examining the electrical system on the 787 broadly, but all the recent incidents involved components in the aft electrical-equipment bay located behind the wings. The latest problem emerged in a forward bay that until now had been free from scrutiny. This bay sits underneath the flight deck and behind the nose landing gear.
While teething problems are not unusual with new airplane models, the dramatic nature of the move could prove a huge headache for Boeing. In an environment of defense cutbacks, the commercial airplane business is more critical than ever for the aerospace giant, and the new 787 is the linchpin of its product line, embodying the latest in technical and design innovation.
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