FAA urges inspections for Dreamliner transmitters

Airlines should inspect the emergency locator transmitters of all Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the Federal Aviation Administration urged Friday following a fire earlier in the week aboard one of the airliners parked at London’s Heathrow Airport.

British aviation authorities, who are investigating the fire on an Ethiopian Airlines 787, have said the transmitters should be disabled after finding that one of the squat orange boxes was the only thing with enough power to start a fire in the plane’s tail section, which was scorched.

The FAA made no mention Friday of disabling the transmitters in a brief statement. Instead, the agency said that after reviewing the British investigators’ recommendations, U.S. officials have begun working with Boeing to develop instructions for how airlines should conduct the inspections.

The inspections would ask airlines to examine transmitters for proper wire routing and damaged or pinched wires, the statement said. The transmitter’s lithium-battery compartment would be inspected for heat or moisture.

An order making the inspections mandatory for U.S. operators is expected in the coming days, the FAA said. Aviation authorities in other countries are expected to follow with their own orders for inspecting or disabling the transmitters, all made by Honeywell International.

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