Boeing advised to swap 787 beacons

Boeing advised to swap 787 beacons

The US aviation regulator has followed the UK Air Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) in advising airlines flying the Boeing 787 to remove emergency locator transmitters from the aircraft. 

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) published an airworthiness directive today following the fire onboard an Ethiopian Airlines 787 at Heathrow earlier this month.

The directive goes farther than the FAA indicated last week, when it said airlines should inspect the units.

However, the AAIB advised airlines to inspect or remove the emergency locator transmitters (ELTs) from 787s last week, pending further investigations.

US manufacturer Boeing issued a statement supporting the AAIB's recommendation.

The transmitters are fitted to several thousand aircraft apart from the Dreamliner. The AAIB recommended safety checks on the ELTs on other aircraft, although there have been no incidents involving the devices until now.

The AAIB quickly identifed the ELT as the source of the fire on the Ethiopian Airlines aircraft and ruled out a direct connection to the aircraft's lithium-ion batteries.

The latter batteries were implicated in a fire in January which led to the aircraft's grounding.

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