Boeing’s second test 787 Dreamliner, ZA002, was at 43,000 feet over southeastern Idaho shortly before 3 p.m. today as it headed home from Texas after the effects of a fire two weeks ago were repaired.
The aircraft was scheduled to arrive at Boeing Field shortly after 4 p.m. It left Laredo, Texas at noon.
The aircraft will be the final one of six Dreamliners to return to the Northwest after a fire in the aft power panel on ZA002 grounded the fleet. The aircraft won’t be conducting any test flying on its return.
A fire caused by a loose washer in the power distribution panel flared up as the test aircraft was landing at Laredo, Texas. Boeing replaced the power panel and surrounding insulation and minor structural damage before the plane took off for home.
The company says it is studying what modifications need to be made to the power panels to prevent a similar occurrence. The company is also modifying the plane’s software to better handle an electrical emergency. The fire blacked out the plane’s normal instrument screens, but an emergency display allowed the pilots to land successfully.
The test fleet remains grounded until Boeing devises a solution and modifies the test fleet. Two other test aircraft flew home after the incident, one from California and the other from North Dakota.