After a fire on one of the 787 Dreamliner test planes, Boeing has grounded all 787s until they investigated the cause of the incident.
On Tuesday a Boeing 787 test flight was forced to do an emergency landing at Laredo, Texas after a fire broke out in the electrical-equipment bay, which is located underneath the passenger cabin. The plane, Dreamliner No.2 (ZA002), was evacuated via emergency slides, nobody was injured.
According to Seattle Times, the fire affected the cockpit controls – the plane lost its primary flight displays and its auto-throttle.
Update: Boeing today confirmed that the plane lost its primary electrical power as a result of the fire. The Ram Air Turbine (RAT) has been successfully deployed.
It’s not known how long the suspension will last.
The Boeing 787 program is already three years behind schedule.
Source: Seattle Times
Update November 12 2010:
Boeing today released further information about this incident. Investigation has determined that a failure in the P100 panel led to a fire involving an insulation blanket. The insulation self-extinguished once the fault in the P100 panel cleared. The P100 panel on ZA002 has been removed and a replacement unit is being shipped to Laredo. The insulation material near the unit also has been removed.
Damage to the ZA002 P100 panel is significant. Initial inspections, however, do not show extensive damage to the surrounding structure or other systems.
The P100 panel is one of several power panels in the aft electronics bay. It receives power from the left engine and distributes it to an array of systems. In the event of a failure of the P100 panel, backup power sources – including power from the right engine, the Ram Air Turbine (RAT), the auxiliary power unit (APU) or the battery – are designed to automatically engage to ensure that those systems needed for continued safe operation of the airplane are powered.