Never Ending Headaches for Boeing, now the ELTs

The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch – AAIB, is recommended to the Federal Aviation Administration – FAA, to deactivate all Boeing 787’s Emergency Locator Transmitters until “appropriate airworthiness actions can be completed”.

Last week’s fire onboard Ethiopian Airlines’ Boeing 787 Dreamliner fortunately occurred when the craft was parked at Heathrow Airport. Had it blazed during a flight, British investigators say, it would have been “a significant safety concern.”

The recommendation came on Thursday after the investigators said that the greatest damage to the parked Ethiopian Airlines Dreamliner occurred around the aircraft’s Rescu406AFN emergency locator transmitter — or ELT — near the tail section of the plane.

Although is not clear if the fire was caused by the transmitter’s lithium-manganese dioxide batteries or a short near or around the transmitter, but recommended to the FAA to deactivate all Honeywell transmitters in all Boeing 787s fleet “until appropriate airworthiness actions” can be carried out.

In an statement, Boeing said it supported the British investigators’ recommendations — which it called “reasonable precautionary measures” — and was working to take appropriate action in response.

“We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity,” the company added.

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