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FAA: 59 Problems Reported in Boeing Wiring, Plumbing

From Associated Press

The Federal Aviation Administration has received 59 reports of faulty wiring or plumbing in cargo-hold and engine fire-suppression systems of Boeing commercial jets since 1981, officials said.

FAA officials said 32 of the problems were found by airlines between March, 1988, and Jan. 31, when the agency issued an airworthiness directive ordering checks of all Boeing aircraft built since Dec. 31, 1980, and flown by U.S. operators, covering 741 planes in all.

The other 27 problems have been found since Jan. 31, the latest on Thursday.

None of the discrepancies directly affected the airworthiness of the aircraft, the FAA said in a news release, but the agency said flight crews could have been misled into taking the wrong action during an in-flight engine or cargo compartment fire.

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All of the problems were corrected before the planes were returned to service, the FAA said.

Of the 27 problems found since the Jan. 31 order, six were on U.S. aircraft and 21 on foreign planes.

Eleven of the problems were in engine fire warning and suppression systems: five on 737-300s and 737-400s, three in 767s, two in 757s and one in a 747. Sixteen problems were found in cargo compartment fire warning and suppression systems, 13 in 747s and three in 767s.

Boeing Co. said it is redesigning some parts and overhauling test procedures to prevent errors.

Meanwhile, a letter dated Jan. 26 from Leroy Keith, local manager of the FAA’s Aircraft Certification Service, to Boeing officials renewed concerns about delays in reporting safety problems to the federal agency, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported Friday.

Boeing learned of crossed wires in a 757 cargo fire-suppression system last August but reported the problem four months later, Keith noted.

“Until now, I had been encouraged that there were definite improvements,” his letter said. “The 757 issue, however, indicates that more needs to be done.”


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