Pilots Concerned About the Boeing 787’s Firefighting System Malfunctioning

Jun 15, 2019

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Aircraft fleet woes continue for Boeing, with the Guardian citing unnamed pilots who have voiced concern over the safety of the 787 Dreamliner after learning that an engine firefighting system has the potential to malfunction.

On Feb. 19, 2019, the FAA issued an airworthiness directive (AD) based on reports of the warpage of internal engine fire handle components on the 787-8, 787-9 and 787-10. If the handle components fail, it could prevent the fire extinguisher agent from being released. If there’s an engine fire, the FAA found it could be uncontrollable, resulting in potential wing failure.

Boeing did issue an alert to airlines about the 787, admitting that a switch used to extinguish an engine fire has failed in a “small number” of instances, according to the Guardian

The FAA noted that the AD, which went into effect on Feb. 22, covered 120 US-based Dreamliner 787s. It decided against grounding the fleet, instead requiring airlines to inspect the engine fire handle every 30 days. It is also worth noting that the FAA came under attack for being one of the last to ground the 737 MAX back in March.

Boeing is Chicago-based and makes Dreamliners outside of Seattle and Charleston. The company told the Guardian that fewer than 1% of fire switches have proved defective. “Boeing works closely with the FAA to monitor the fleet for potential safety issues and take appropriate actions,” said a spokesperson.

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