Sat, Nov 27, 2010
Yet Another Delay For Boeing's Most Ambitious New Airframe
Just after the close of business on Wednesday (ET) , as most of
the media was heading off to start various Turkey-oriented
pursuits, Boeing admitted that it is developing minor design
changes to power distribution panels on the 787 and updates to the
systems software that manages and protects power distribution on
the airplane. These changes come as the result of what has been
learned from the investigation of an onboard electrical fire on a
test airplane, ZA002, earlier this month in Laredo, Texas.
"We have successfully simulated key aspects of the onboard event
in our laboratory and are moving forward with developing design
fixes," said Scott Fancher, vice president 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 U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration (FAA) as soon as it is complete."
Boeing states that, 'Engineers have determined that the fault
began as either a short circuit or an electrical arc in the P100
power distribution panel, most likely caused by the presence of
foreign debris. The design changes will improve the protection
within the panel. Software changes also will be implemented to
further improve fault protection.'
The P100 panel is one of five major power distribution panels on
the 787. It receives power from the left engine and distributes it
to an array of systems.
The 787 team is now assessing the time required to complete the
design changes and software updates that are being developed. A
revised 787 program schedule is expected to be finalized in the
next few weeks -- but pundits are expecting more schedule delays
and some chest-pounding by customers who have been waiting for
their Dreamliners for quite some time.
"Our team is focused on developing these changes and moving
forward with the flight test program," said Fancher. "The team in
Laredo is also well along in preparing to return ZA002 to
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