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Air India transfers pax at MEL as 787 cracks windscreen

November 6, 2013 Aviation, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59An Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner windscreen has cracked while landing in Melbourne, adding to the string of glitches to have affected the aircraft type recently.

The Delhi-Melbourne-Sydney-Delhi flight developed a crack late Sunday while landing in Melbourne, Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph. The paper reported that the high-tech plane was carrying 74 passengers, a light load for a plane that can carry 256 passengers.

Reports said all passengers were transferred to another flight to Delhi after the incident on Sunday. Air India flew in a new windscreen from India to replace the cracked one and said there was no risk to passenger safety. 250x250

Media in India quoted a spokesman for the airline saying the problem was likely due to rapid changes in temperature or particles on the windscreen while landing, media reported.

The incident comes not long after a large panel in the underside of an Air India Dreamliner apparently fell off during a flight from Delhi to Bangalore. The panel, which measured 8 feet x 4 feet (2.4 metres by 1.2 meters, or roughly the size of a large house door) has not yet been found.

The 787 Dreamliner has suffered a series of technical and safety problems in recent months and the Air India glitch is just the latest. Reports describe them as teething problems but the teething seems to be taking some time.

As one observer in the US pointed out recently, “the Dreamliner hasn’t been such a dream thus far”. Mechanical and electronic hitches, from overheating and fires to toilets failing en masse, have afflicted Dreamliners since their first flight.

Scandinavian operator Norwegian Air Shuttle criticised the plane’s reliability after it found a flaw in the electrical system.

Another electrical glitch put six toilets out of action on a Japan Air Lines (JAL) B787 flight, leaving just one working. The plane turned back. The toilet anguish struck shortly after another of JAL’s B787s suffered a malfunction in one of its two anti-ice systems on a Tokyo-bound flight from San Diego.

In August, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner turned back after a wiring defect was found in a fire extinguisher system on three of the new aircraft. The faulty wiring would have triggered the wrong extinguisher in the event of a fire breaking out in one of the plane’s two engines, Japanese carrier ANA said.

Lithium-ion battery overheating problems grounded the entire Dreamliner fleet earlier this year and in July, fire broke out on an empty Dreamliner at London’s Heathrow Airport. That blaze is suspected to have caused by another battery overheating – a lithium-manganese dioxide battery powering the plane’s Emergency Locator Transmitter.

If that fire had started over the ocean, the result could have been catastrophic. The blaze was in a difficult-to-reach space where fires can’t be extinguished by the plane’s automatic fire extinguishers, UK regulators said. Only one-third of airliners with such hidden fires can be expected to land safely.

Written by : Peter Needham

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