Ethiopian 787 fuselage repair imminent

The Puget Sound Business Journal and Aviation Week’s Things With Wings blog report that the Boeing Co. is apparently ready to begin to repair the carbon-fiber-composite fuselage of an Ethiopian Airlines 787 that was damaged by fire while parked at Heathrow Airport in London.

The July 12 fire apparently originated in an off-the-shelf emergency locator transmitter manufactured by Honeywell, British investigators have said. Flames badly damaged the top of the composite fuselage just forward of the vertical stabilizer.

“This is a huge composite repair,” Richard Baker of the Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Manassas, Va., told the Puget Sound Business Journal. “It will set the standard for what’s to come.”

The Dreamliner has the first jetliner fuselage of connected, single-piece composite barrels. No one’s ever had to repair one.

So far, Boeing is not talking about how it plans to fix the plane. Scaffolding has been erected around it where it is parked at Heathrow, however, so work apparently will be done outdoors.

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