Feds to investigate Boeing 787, say plane is safe

Federal authorities are “confident” the Boeing 787 is safe Photo: Business Wire

ATLANTA, Jan. 14, 2013 – Federal authorities are “confident” the Boeing 787 is safe, but the Federal Aviation Administration is nonetheless launching a “comprehensive review” of the plane.

Several Boeing 787 aircraft have experienced problems recently, including a crack in a cockpit window, a fuel leak and an electrical fire.

The federal review will include a look at “critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly,” the FAA said. “The purpose of the review is to validate the work conducted during the certification process and further ensure that the aircraft meets the FAA’s high level of safety.”

The federal agency did not order any of the aircraft grounded during the review. United Airlines is the only domestic airline that operates the 787.

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

Boeing said it would welcome a federal review of the aircraft, which has logged 50,000 hours of flight. However, the Wall Street Journal reported Boeing officials “fought unsuccessfully for days to head off or deflect the FAA announcement,” a report the aircraft manufacturer denied.

“We … stand 100 percent behind the integrity of the 787 and the rigorous process that led to its successful certification and entry into service,” Boeing Chairman, President and CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement. “We look forward to participating in the joint review with the FAA, and we believe it will underscore our confidence, and the confidence of our customers and the traveling public, in the reliability, safety and performance of the innovative, new 787 Dreamliner.”

The company said it “is confident in the design and performance of the 787. It is a safe and efficient airplane that brings tremendous value to our customers and an improved flying experience to their passengers.”

Boeing added: “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.”

Known as Dreamliners, the Boeing 787 entered commercial service in 2011, following a number of delays during the production process. Before it was certified, technical experts from the FAA logged 200,000 hours of work on the aircraft, which “completed the most robust and rigorous certification process in the history of the FAA,” Boeing said.

“The safety of the traveling public is our top priority,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “This review will help us look at the root causes and do everything we can to safeguard against similar events in the future.”

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Todd DeFeo

Todd DeFeo jouned The Washington Times Communities in May 2012. He covers travel and Georgia. A marketing professional who never gave up his award-winning journalistic ways, DeFeo revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He also serves as editor of The Travel Trolley.


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