Investigators are trying to figure out why a body panel fell off a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Air India while the aircraft was landing in Bangalore on Saturday.
On the web
To see the Times of India report and a photo of the newly delivered 787 that Air India took the panel from, go to:
The incident marks a new problem for the high-tech jet that has suffered a string of mishaps since its 2011 introduction, according to Reuters.
Boeing said it’s working with the carrier to understand what caused the 8-foot by 4-foot section to become detached.
“Boeing is aware of the 787 in-service event and we’re engaged with Air India to provide support needed,” the company said in a written statement Wednesday.
Boeing also said the loss of the panel did not pose a safety risk to passengers.
“There was no risk to the continued safe operation of the flight but strict aviation rules, which ensure air travel is the safest mode of transportations, prevent continued operation with the panel missing,” the company said.
The jet was carrying 148 passengers and crew members on a flight from Delhi to Bangalore, the Times of India newspaper said. The panel landed near Bangalore’s airport, Reuters reported.
The section was discovered missing after the plane was on the ground. The incident is under investigation.
Boeing said the piece was from the underside of the jet. “It was the mid-underwing-to-body fairing located on the belly of the airplane on the right side,” Boeing spokesman Doug Alder told Reuters. The panel, which is not considered a structural part of the fuselage, “provides a more aerodynamic surface in flight.”
The company wouldn’t say whether the jet was made in Everett, Wash., or North Charleston. At least three Air India 787s have come from the South Carolina assembly line.
An aircraft registration code cited in the Times of India report matches a plane made in Everett, according to the aviation blog All Things 787.
The newspaper also said the missing section was replaced with one taken from a newly delivered 787 that wasn’t yet ready for commercial service. That jet’s registration code matches a Dreamliner made in North Charleston and delivered to Air India on Oct. 3, according to the blog All Things 787.
Previous problems that have afflicted the 787 include overheating batteries that prompted regulators to ground the entire global fleet in January. Flights resumed in April.
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