787 fire started in power panel
Boeing says that the fire on board one of its 787 Dreamliner test aircraft started in its P100 power panel and spread into one of the aircraft’s insulation blankets which self-extinguished the fire once the fault in the power panel was cleared.
“Damage to the ZA002 P100 panel is significant,” Boeing said in a statement on the matter. “Initial inspections, however, do not show extensive damage to the surrounding structure or other systems. We have not completed our inspections of that area of the airplane.”
The P100 panel receives power from the 787’s left engine and distributes it to an array of other systems. In the event of a failure, power from the right engine and the ram air turbine are engaged to provide backup power, which in this case allowed the aircraft to make a safe landing.
Boeing says it is developing “minor” design changes to the 787′s power distribution panels and updates to the aircraft’s power distribution software in the wake of the electrical fire on 787 development aircraft ZA002 earlier this month which has led to the suspension of the flight test program.
“We have successfully simulated key aspects of the onboard event in our laboratory and are moving forward with developing design fixes,” said Scott Fancher, VP and general manager of the 787 program. “Boeing is developing a plan to enable a return to 787 flight test activities and will present it to the US Federal Aviation Administration as soon as it is complete.”
At press time Boeing had yet to announce when the 787 fest fleet could resume flying, and what impacts this latest delay would have on the aircraft’s certification and delivery timetable.
As a consequence of the delays Boeing halted the delivery of structural parts for its 787 line in Seattle for the fourth time in 2010. The delivery pause was believed to be for about three weeks.
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