Nose Gear Hitch On Second 787
Boeing has confirmed that the second Boeing 787 test airplane experienced some kind of problem with the nose gear on its maiden flight Tuesday but the issue was resolved in flight. "We fixed it and it landed safely," Boeing spokeswoman Yvonne Leach told the Seattle Times. "At no time during this flight was the aircraft or the pilots in danger." The Time quoted an unnamed amateur radio operator who said he monitored radio exchanges between the 787 pilots (there were only the two of them onboard) and a chase plane pilot who said part of the nose gear appeared to be angled back about 15 degrees from normal. After aborting his initial approach to Boeing Field, pilot Randy Neville turned back to the west to allow the chase plane pilot to have another look and allow engineers on the ground to consider the problem. Boeing suggested the radio exchanges may have been "misinterpreted" by the ham operator.
Boeing issued a statement downplaying the incident and reminding the media that test flights are for testing. The statement said "dialogue between the pilots, chase plane pilots, and engineers can sometimes be heard over the Air Traffic Control System and misinterpreted. It's important to remember that flight test programs are conducted to identify and solve issues as they arise." Witnesses told the Times that fire trucks were standing by at Boeing Field and the aircraft was towed to the Boeing hangar rather than taxiing. The second aircraft flew just six days after the first and is painted in the livery of the launch customer, All Nippon Airways.