Safety Check: Feds Testing 787

Tuesday, January 15, 2013 @ 03:01 PM gHale

Critical systems, including the design, manufacture and assembly, are among the areas federal authorities are investigating when the look under the hood of the Boeing 787.

While federal authorities remain confident the Boeing 787 is safe, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is launching a “comprehensive review” of the plane after several aircraft experienced problems including a crack in a cockpit window, a fuel leak and an electrical fire.

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“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 FAA said.

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,” said FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “We are conducting the review to further ensure that the aircraft meets our high safety standards.”

“We … stand 100 percent behind the integrity of the 787 and the rigorous process that led to its successful certification and entry into service,” said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Jim McNerney. “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.”

“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,” Boeing officials said.

The Boeing 787 entered commercial service in 2011, following a number of delays during the production process. Before certification, 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.

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