FAA Acts On 787 Honeywell ELTs

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The FAA Friday issued an airworthiness directive (AD) as a final rule for Boeing 787-8 Dreamliners requiring removal or inspection of Honeywell's heretofore unimpeachable fixed emergency locator transmitter (ELT), in part "to prevent a fire in the aft crown of the airplane." The FAA action is the result of a fire that involved the Honeywell ELT on an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing Model 787-8 aircraft as it sat on the ground at Heathrow this July. The agency has determined that the ELT may have initiated the event. Since 2005, Honeywell's ELT products have not experienced a single other reported issue, but their use on other aircraft will now also be investigated.

According to the FAA's AD, the agency believes an unsafe condition may exist or develop in other products of the same type and design. "Discrepancies within the ELT, if not corrected, could cause a fire" in the airplane, the FAA wrote. The AD requires removal or inspection of the ELT and its associated wiring and components and taking unspecified corrective action if necessary. The AD is limited to in-service aircraft flying with ELT part number 1152682-2, and future aircraft will be addressed prior to shipment. Because Honeywell's ELTs are installed on multiple models of aircraft, the FAA says it will continue its investigation and may consider further rulemaking. For the 787-8, the AD goes into effect immediately and is also accepting comments. Find the AD online in PDF form here.