AP Airlines Writer
NEW YORK (AP) – Boeing’s Dreamliner has had a nightmare of a week, capped off Friday with a decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to review everything from the design to manufacturing of the new airplane.
Government officials were quick to say that the plane is safe _ nearly 50 of them are in the skies now. However, a fire Monday and subsequent spate of technical problems raised enough questions to prompt this highly unusual review. None of the airlines using the 787, nicknamed by Boeing the Dreamliner, have plans to stop flying it during the government’s inquiry.
The technologically advanced plane was delayed for more than three years. Boeing delivered the first one in late 2011. The company is ramping up production to build 10 787s per month in Washington state and South Carolina by the end of the year.
The Dreamliner promises passengers a more comfortable travel experience. For the airlines, the plane’s fuel-efficiency allows them to economically connect secondary cities.
Below are questions and answers about the 787 and the issues that led to the FAA’s action Friday.
Q: Why is the FAA reviewing the 787?
A: The battery pack on a Japan Airlines 787 ignited Monday shortly after the flight landed at Boston’s Logan International Airport. Passengers had already left the plane but it took firefighters 40 minutes to put out the blaze. There were separate issues on other planes this week _ fuel and oil leaks, a cracked cockpit window and a computer glitch that erroneously indicated a brake problem.
Q: Is the plane safe?
A: “I believe this plane is safe and I would have absolutely no reservations about boarding one of these planes and taking a flight,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said Friday. Boeing insists that the 787’s problems are no worse than what it experienced when its 777 was new in the mid-1990s. That plane is now one of its top-sellers and is well-liked by airlines.
Q: What’s different about the 787?
A: Half of the 787 is made from carbon fiber composites which are lighter but stronger than the aluminum used in traditional planes. That means the plane burns less fuel, a big selling point because fuel is an airline’s biggest expense. The extra strength allows for larger windows and a more comfortable cabin pressure. Composites don’t rust like aluminum, so the humidity in the cabin humidity can be up to 16 percent, double a typical aircraft. That means fewer dry throats and stuffy noses.
Q: Does any other plane use composites?
A: Composites are used in smaller amounts on most modern planes. Rival plane maker Airbus is designing its own lightweight composite jet, the A350, but that jet is still several years away from flying.
Q: How many 787s are there?
A: Boeing has delivered 50 planes so far. Another 798 are on order. The company plans to be building 10 each month by the end of this year.
Q: Who flies the 787?
A: Japan’s All Nippon Airways is the largest operator of the plane. United is the first U.S. airline customer with six. Air India, Ethiopian Airlines, Japan Airlines, LAN Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines and Qatar Airways also fly the plane.
AP writers Joshua Freed in Minneapolis and Joan Lowy in Washington contributed to this report.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
- Skin Cancer in Arizona: Stats, facts and new immunotherapy drugs making strides
- Distracted walking injuries end up not so funny
- Scary situations: 5 quick tips before you let a contractor in your home
- Four ways telemedicine is changing the health care industry
- 5 mistakes homeowners make in the spring
- Three rivers run through it: Exploring Arizona's waterways
- Smart home basics: things you need to know to get started
- 5 Surprising things causing back pain
- Arizona agriculture is a $17.1B industry
- Timeline: Arizona's roots in brewing history
- 5 reasons to love the D-backs this season
- Tips for taking your home entertainment experience to the backyard
- Tech-related injuries your parents never experienced
- Workers comp: Signs your co-worker could be a fraud
- Who's the real founder of America's pastime?
- Epidemic rising? What you need to know about Alzheimer's in Arizona
- 5 unforgettable Wooden Award winners
- Family and hard work are keys to success of modern dairy farmers
- Genetic testing could hold answers for colon cancer survival
- Cold beers and baseball: A beer lover's guide to Spring Training
- Telecommuting: 5 tips to make it work for employers and employees
- See how top CFOs feel about economic growth in the Valley
- Migraine myths that keep patients from effective treatments
- Here’s why Gaydos went tankless with his water heater
- Bocce ball and basketball: How you can help Arizona's Special Olympics athletes
- Tips on building the best wine room in Arizona
- Avoid the nightmare: 6 tips to choose a great contractor
- Breast cancer: Improved testing and treatments means more survivors
- Failed back surgery: New hope for patients living in pain
- Ticking time bombs: Telltale signs your water heater is about to explode