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US FAA orders airlines to inspect emergency locator beacons on more than 3800 aircraft

The US FAA ordered airlines on Tuesday Sept. 17 to inspect more than 3,800 planes to ensure that emergency locator beacons sold by Honeywell do not have battery problems that could cause a fire. The Federal Aviation Administration order requires inspections of beacons on aircraft made by Boeing, McDonnell Douglas, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, ATR and Dassault Aviation. An earlier FAA order only required checks of the beacons installed on Boeing 787 aircraft. ( More...

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PhotoFinish 2
It's about time.

The locator beacon entirely manufactured by an outside contractor (Honeywell) and used on many aircraft manufacturers' planes, is about as specific to the 787, as a can of Coca-Cola in the galley carts.

Wonder what is the latest word is on that 787 at Heathrow.
preacher1 1
I think the reason it was specific to the 787 at first, besides the fact that it was in one, was there was a question on the installation. Apparently they have found something else.
As far as the 787 at Heathrow, I haven't heard anything either. That will be interesting if/or when it surfaces. It could be that Boeing will be taking the fix on that and trying to sweep it under the rug
PhotoFinish 2
Yes, at first, in ignorance, the faulty locator was associated to the aircraft type by having burned up inside the plane. But that's about the extent of the relationship. About the same as getting a bad case of gas from drinking a Coke on the plane, as anything to do with the aircraft.

They quickly determined that the crimped wires were inside the unit. Other similar units on other aircraft inspected after the incident also showed wiring issues and/or damage inside the units.

As such they should've inspected all such units in ALL aircraft ASAP, after such determination by the investigating parties that the cause of the fire was from the locator. Even moreso, after other units turned up with problematic issues.

If another one of these burns up at cruising altitude will almost certainly result in fatalities, particularly in ETOPS operation, but not only. An uncontained fire on an aircraft in flight in an area without automatic fire suppression can quickly damage essential control elements. Many if not most incidents of cargo fires, there is only a period of minutes before pilots lose control of essential control surfaces and/or the plane falls out of the sky.

Personally, I'd feel better if these locators (and similar devices with stored combustible energy) were only placed in areas of passenger aircraft that are equipped with automatic fire suppression.

Tend to agree with you about your take on the fix. But nothing more than an inkling to go on.
preacher1 2
Thanks for the additional info on the ELT's. I never did hear that the wire crimp was on the inside of the unit. The initial reports indicated they were outside of it, which I guess is what caused the 787 scramble
Alan Winn 1
the only info we got from insurance experts was that the entire tail section of the Ethiopian 787 has to be replaced, we are waiting for more info to do a followup article.
Roland Dent 1
Maybe Honeywell are getting these made and assembled by a bunch of 13 yr olds somewhere distant like China or India. The FAA takes a long long time to react. I get the feeling they ask all financial parties first before acting. Personally I would not give them the time of day.


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