The crew of one of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight test aircraft was forced to make an emergency landing yesterday after smoke filled the cabin during flight. The incident occurred with aircraft ZA002 (pictured above before its first flight) on a test flight from Yuma, Arizona.
An electrical fire in the aft section of the aircraft led to the smoke in the cabin and the flight crew opted to make a precautionary landing in Laredo, Texas rather than continuing on to the planned destination of Harlingen, Texas. The fire did affect electrical power on board the airplane and both the primary flight displays in the cockpit as well as the auto throttles were not operable according to a story in the Seattle Times.
After landing in Laredo, the crew deployed the evacuation slides and the flight crew and engineers on board the Dreamliner were able to safely exit the aircraft.
ZA002 has accumulated almost 560 flight test hours during 179 flights. The six flight test aircraft in the 787 fleet have accumulated more than 2,373 flight test hours since the first flight back in December of last year.
Tuesday’s flight was testing the onboard nitrogen generation system that is designed to introduce the inert gas into the fuel tanks to reduce the chance of combustion. The fire occurred in an unrelated electrical system on board the airplane, though it is not known if the fire is related to an aircraft system or flight test equipment that would not be on a production aircraft.
Boeing is investigating the cause of the fire.
Photo: Jason Paur/Wired.com