ANA finds damaged beacon wire on 787

All Nippon Airways, the biggest operator of Boeing Co. 787s, said it found a damaged wire in an emergency radio beacon removed from a Dreamliner used on Japanese domestic routes.

ANA also found a dented wire in a separate portable beacon and is sending the equipment to manufacturer Honeywell International for checks, Megumi Tezuka, an airline spokeswoman, said by telephone in Tokyo. The carrier has removed all emergency locator transmitters from the eight 787s it uses on domestic routes, she said Friday. The devices send radio signals that can help rescuers find a crashed plane.

Japan’s largest airline is continuing normal operations of its 12 Dreamliners flying on international routes after completing checks on their beacons. Investigators are examining whether two wires smashed under a cover on the emergency locator transmitters caused a short-circuit that triggered a July 12 fire on a Dreamliner in London, according to a person familiar with the probe.

U.S. aviation regulators on Thursday ordered inspections of emergency locator transmitters linked to the 787 fire and said they may take more action affecting thousands of identical beacons on other models. Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau also said today that it was asking airlines to check the beacons.

The blaze that broke out on an Ethiopian Airlines 787 parked at London’s Heathrow Airport was traced to a Honeywell transmitter powered by a lithium battery. The FAA, in its order, said it will look at safety of such devices on other aircraft.

Japan Airlines, the nation’s other operator of 787s, said earlier this week that it had completed checks of beacons and was flying its fleet of nine planes as usual after confirming their safety.

United Airlines says it found a transmitter with a pinched wire on 1 of its Boeing 787s – the same problem that investigators think may have sparked a fire on a parked 787 in London.

Christen David, a spokeswoman for United Continental Holdings Inc., says the airline inspected all 6 of its 787s, and found one emergency transmitter with a pinched wire. That transmitter was removed and sent back to Honeywell for further inspection. It has been replaced and David says all six planes are flying with transmitters.

Other Dreamliner woes

Qatar Airways has taken one of its Dreamliners out of service for a minor issue with the plane, Madonna Walsh, a spokeswoman for the Doha-based carrier, said Friday. She declined to elaborate.

Air India, that nation’s only operator of Boeing’s 787, said an oven for warming food on a Dreamliner overheated during a domestic flight, prompting the crew to take measures to contain smoke.

The oven’s overheating on the flight from New Delhi to the eastern city of Kolkata on July 24 didn’t cause a fire, Air India spokesman G. Prasada Rao said by telephone Friday. The flight was not diverted and the aircraft continues to be in service, he said.

India’s Directorate General of Civil Aviation is looking into what may have caused the oven’s overheating, Arun Mishra, who heads the regulator, said in a mobile phone text message. He didn’t elaborate.

Air India, which has taken delivery of seven of the jets, meanwhile has begun removing the emergency locator transmitters as a precautionary measure, according to an India civil aviation ministry official.

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