FAA to mandate inspections on Honeywell beacons on 787s

Washington DC
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US airlines will soon be mandated by the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to inspect and in some cases remove a Honeywell fixed emergency locator transmitter (ELT) on Boeing 787s to prevent fires.

The airworthiness directive (AD) could become effective in about 45 days and follows a fire that damaged an empty and parked Ethiopian Airlines 787 at London Heathrow airport on 12 July.

The FAA has jurisdiction over only US operators, of which only United Airlines operates the 787. But the AD is likely to be copied by the FAA's counterparts around the world.

The Honeywell Rescu406 ELT became the focus of a safety probe of the Ethiopian fire by the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch, as it represented the only electrical system with a self-contained power source in the area of the fire in the crown of the aft fuselage.

The FAA clarifies that the AD applies only to the Honeywell ELTs installed on the 787. However, the part is common on several aircraft types and the FAA may extend the mandate for inspections beyond the 787.

"Once final action is identified, we might consider further rulemaking," the FAA says in a preview copy of the AD.

The inspections are required on the 787 fixed ELTs with part number 1152682-2, the FAA says.