November 27, 2014
FAA propose directive requiring Boeing to fix wing proximity sensor problem on 787-8 Dreamliner
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner series has had a bumpy path since its introduction into service. Aeorinside report 44 incidents (not all mechanical) for the twin engine plane, including battery failure and subsequent fire risk, engine de-icing failure and numerous reports of wing proximity sensor failure. It is the latter problem which forced the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to step in on Wednesday of this week and issue a proposed directive requiring a fix for Boeing’s (BA.N) 787-8 Dreamliner sensor problem. The FAA have given Boeing 2 years in which to sort the problem out from the date the directive becomes effective. According to an FAA spokesperson, “We have received numerous reports of failures of the proximity sensor within the slat skew detection mechanism assembly (DMA) leading to slats up landing events.” Additionally they stated that “It was determined that the failed sensors had broken magnet wires due to stresses induced by thermal expansion and contraction of an epoxy applied around them.”
Boeing have already instigated matters themselves and approximately one third of the planes with the sensors have had new ones retrofitted. Currently there are 15 787-8 Dreamliners registered in the US out of 197 operational worldwide. The problem with the sensors, according to the FAA is that a sensor failure is capable of causing an aircraft to veer while in the process of landing on a shortened runway or during adverse weather conditions. Of Boeing’s current order list of 1,054 787s, 459 are for the 787-8 model.