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Remove Or Inspect Boeing 787 Beacons, FAA Tells Airlines

Following a fire out-break on a 787 owned by Ethiopian Airlines after it had been parked for eight hours at a remote stand at London’s Heathrow airport, the United States Federal Aviation Administration has directed carriers to remove or inspect emergency beacons in Boeing Co’s 787 Dreamliners,.

The air safety directive goes farther than the guidance from the FAA last week, when it instructed airlines to inspect the units on 787s for pinched wires in the casing and evidence of heat or moisture. The agency is now aligned with Boeing, which advised airlines last week to inspect or remove the device, known as an emergency locator transmitter or ELT.

The fire wrecked major damage in the rear of the plane and scorched the top of the outer skin of the fuselage just forward of the vertical tail fin. The Dreamliner’s fuselage is made of carbon-fiber composite, a material that burns at a lower temperature than the aluminum alloy used in traditional aircraft designs.

The fire has instigated the first test of a major repair of the jet, which industry experts say airlines will be watching closely to determine both the length of time required and the cost to fix the jet’s body.

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