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Federal Aviation Administration says Boeing 787 is safe, but starts review

The government stepped in Friday to assure the public that Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner is safe to fly.
By JOAN LOWY and JOSHUA FREED Published: January 12, 2013
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/articleid/3745246/1/pictures/1926309">Photo - National Transportation Safety Board  Investigator Mike Bauer works Tuesday inside a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft under investigation at Boston’s Logan Airport.  AP Photo
National Transportation Safety Board Investigator Mike Bauer works Tuesday inside a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft under investigation at Boston’s Logan Airport. AP Photo

The FAA review announced Friday, which will be conducted jointly with Boeing, will include the design, manufacture and assembly of the 787 with an emphasis on the plane's electrical power and distribution systems. The review also will examine how the plane's electrical and mechanical systems interact with each other.

‘Isolated incidents'

There is no obvious trend or similarity to the problems, which suggests they are more likely the result of quality control than a design flaw, aviation safety experts said.

“These appear to be isolated incidents,” said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member. However, the battery fire remains a special concern because “they overheat or burn with such intensity, at such high temperatures, they can cause damage to the surrounding aircraft structure,” he said.

Boeing has insisted the 787's problems are no worse than it experienced when its 777 was new in the mid-1990s. That plane is one of its top-sellers and is well-liked by airlines.

“Every new commercial aircraft has issues as it enters service,” said Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing's commercial aircraft division. He joined Huerta and LaHood at the news conference.

United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier whose fleet includes the 787, said it has confidence in the airliner and will continue to operate its six 787s as scheduled.


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