Boeing: 787 fire over in 30sec, but flight testing freeze continues

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The onboard fire that has grounded the Boeing 787 fleet for six days lasted less than 30sec and the entire incident was over within 90sec, Boeing says.

Both details have emerged as the investigation continues on the cause of the fire on 10 November that damaged an electronics bay in the aft cabin with the ZA002 flight test aircraft on final approach in Laredo, Texas.

Although the 787 was 3min away from landing when the incident occurred, data from the investigation also shows that the aircraft would have had enough time to land at "any point in a typical 787 mission profile", the manufacturer says.

Meanwhile, Boeing is working to repair the damage on ZA002 and reposition two other flight test aircraft stranded by Boeing's decision to ground the 787 fleet after the incident.

In Laredo, Boeing workers are preparing to install a P100 power panel and insulation on the damaged aircraft, but the timeline to complete the repairs remains under review, the company says.

The US FAA has approved Boeing's plans for returning ZA001 from a prolonged refuelling stop in Rapid City, South Dakota, and ZA005 from a remote deployment to Victorville, California. Both aircraft will ferry back to Seattle, with no test points attempted, Boeing says.

Flight testing remains halted until the investigation determines whether design changes are required, the company adds.

Boeing is currently scheduled to deliver the first 787 in the middle of the first quarter of next year to All Nippon Airways, which is nearly three years behind the original plan.