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Power Panels The Cause Of 787 Dreamliner Fire

November 12, 2010

The Tuesday afternoon fire onboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner which forced the temporary cancellation of test flights featuring the next gen passenger jet was caused by faulty power panels, the aerospace development firm has announced.

“We have determined that a failure in the P100 panel led to a fire involving an insulation blanket,” Boeing representatives said in a statement which was cited in an AFP article Thursday. “The backup systems engaged during the incident and the crew retained positive control of the airplane at all times and had the information it needed to perform a safe landing.”

The P100 panel, which is located beneath passenger seats near the wings, obtains power from the left engine and redistributes it to other components on the aircraft. According to AFP, Boeing says that the damage to the panel was “significant” but that other systems near the damaged power source were not seriously affected.

As previously reported on RedOrbit, Boeing announced the cancellations of 787 Dreamliner test flights on Wednesday, one day after one of the passenger jets was forced to make an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas. During the flight, the pilot of the ZA002–one of six Dreamliner prototypes–observed smoke in the cabin before making the emergency landing, forcing the Chicago-based aerospace company to temporarily pull the plug on test flights featuring the highly fuel-efficient craft.

According to FAA spokesperson Lynn Lunsford, all 42 passengers on board the craft were safely evacuated at Laredo International Airport. As of Friday morning, 787 test flights remained postponed, with no indication given by the company as to when they could resume.

The 787 Dreamliner, which was launched in April 2004, has suffered a series of setbacks during its six year life span. Development of the craft, which reportedly could reduce fuel consumption by one-fifth, is said to be as much as three years behind schedule. To date, Boeing has received approximately 900 orders worldwide for the 787, with the first of them now expected to be delivered to Japan’s All Nippon Airways in or around February 2011.

Image Courtesy The Boeing Company

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