January 21, 2013

As plane technology advances, FAA scrambles to keep up

David Koenig / The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

An All Nippon Airways' Boeing 787 "the Dreamliner" is parked on the tarmac at Haneda airport in Tokyo on Friday. Nearly all 50 of the 787s in use around the world have been grounded.

AP

Thomas Anthony, director of the aviation-safety program at the University of Southern California, said many new planes have flaws that are only discovered once they go into service, and that the regulatory process worked the way it was supposed to with the Dreamliner.

"The FAA used to be accused of 'blood priority'" — acting only after a disaster, Anthony said. "In this case, it's not true. The regulators are taking their job seriously. There were no accidents, there were no injuries, there were no fatalities."

That has not always been the case. In 1979, authorities grounded the McDonnell Douglas DC-10 for five weeks after an engine tore loose from the wing of an American Airlines plane, causing a crash that killed 273 in Chicago. And there were other incidents that occurred after the DC-10 was introduced in 1971, including cargo-door problems that forced one emergency landing and caused a Turkish Airlines crash that killed 346 in 1974.

Boeing, based in Chicago, is racing to find a fix to the Dreamliner's battery systems and get the planes back in the air. It is still producing 787s but has stopped delivering them to customers.

Bloomberg News reported that Boeing has tried to persuade FAA to end the groundings by proposing a variety of inspections and having pilots monitor electronic signals from the batteries to prevent fires. The FAA has been reluctant to approve those steps without a clear idea of what caused the defects and how they can be prevented.

Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors




Further Discussion

Here at PressHerald.com we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)