posted on Jul, 29 2013 @ 07:02 PM
Boeing has said that they have asked "specific operators" of the 717, 737NG, 747-400, 767, and 777 to inspect as many Honeywell Rescu406AFN
Emergency Locator Transmitters as they can, and report the results to Boeing and the FAA. They are attempting to collect data to assist the FAA in
determining if another Airworthiness Bulletin needs to be issued on the ELT.
The ELT is currently the main suspect in the fire of an Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner at London's Heathrow Airport. The fire occurred
approximately 8 hours after the flight landed, while it was sitting empty (approximately 4 hours before departure). It caused significant damage to
the area around the ELT device, one of which is located just ahead of the vertical fin, and during the AAIB investigation damaged wiring to the device
was found. It's believed that the wiring was damaged during assembly, and not by anything on the aircraft.
Both United and All Nippon Airways have inspected their Dreamliners, and both have reported at least one unit with damaged wiring. The units have
been returned to Honeywell for investigation. The FAA issued an Airworthiness Directive ordering the inspection, but it only applies to the six
aircraft flown by United, which is the only operator of the Dreamliner in the United States.
Over 1200 units have been installed on Boeing aircraft, and as many as 6000 are in use worldwide. This is the first known event involving the unit,
but one reason it's scary is that there is no way to fight the fire in that area of the fuselage, if it were to happen in flight. The AAIB
recommended either disabling the units until they could be inspected, or removing them altogether. Honeywell concurred with the recommendation, and
the FAA ordered the inspections.
Boeing has asked airlines around the world to inspect Honeywell emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) fitted on over 1,000 aircraft ahead of
possible action by airworthiness authorities to address a potential fire risk in the beacons.
Boeing says that it is asking "specific operators" of Boeing 717s, 737NGs, 747-400s, 767s and 777s to inspect aircraft fitted with Honeywell ELTs
and gather data to support potential regulatory action by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
"Up to 1,200 aircraft have been fitted with the devices, but we are asking that airlines inspect as many as possible and report back within 10 days
to help regulators decide what, if any, action to take," says a Boeing spokesman.
Boeing's request comes after an AAIB special bulletin that was issued in relation to its investigation into the fire on board an Ethiopian Airlines
787-8 that was parked at London Heathrow on 12 July.