- ‘Welcome to the edge of freedom’: Biden’s boots touch down in DMZ
- Obama: Hole U.S. ‘digging out of’ requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Obama’s regulatory agenda will cost U.S. economy $143B next year: report
- Patriot Act author on James Clapper: Fire, prosecute him
- Russia P.M. Medvedev: No amnesty for political prisoners
- Michigan GOP Senate hopeful reminds government is the ‘servant’
- Christmas, by Congress: Members mull a 15-cent tax on trees
- U.S. unemployment falls to five-year low of 7 percent; 203K jobs added
- World mourns Nelson Mandela and celebrates his life; burial set for Dec. 15
- Bill O’Reilly reminds: Nelson Mandela ‘was a communist’
U.S. officials defend handling of Boeing 787 mishaps
WASHINGTON (AP) — Obama administration officials struggled Wednesday to defend their initial statements that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is safe, while promising a transparent probe of mishaps involving the aircraft’s batteries.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stood by his Jan. 11 assertion that the 787, Boeing’s newest and most technologically advanced airliner, was safe. At that time, Mr. LaHood and the head of the Federal Aviation Administration, Michael Huerta, declared the plane fit to fly despite a battery fire in one plane.
Five days later, following another battery mishap that led to an emergency landing of a 787 in Japan, Mr. LaHood and Mr. Huerta ordered United Airlines, the lone U.S. carrier with 787s, to ground the planes. Authorities in Europe and elsewhere — including Chile, Poland, Ethiopia, Qatar and India — swiftly followed suit. Two Japanese airlines voluntarily grounded their planes before the FAA’s order.
“On the day we announced the planes were safe, they were,” Mr. LaHood told reporters at an aviation industry luncheon. He became testy when a reporter pressed him on whether his initial pronouncements had been too hasty.
“I’m not doing these hypothetical look-backs,” he said. “We did what we did.”
What changed between Jan. 11 and the FAA’s issuance of a grounding order on Jan. 16 was that a second battery failure occurred on an All Nippon Airways 787 while the airliner was in flight, said Mr. Huerta, who joined Mr. LaHood at the luncheon. In the first incident, the battery fire occurred in a Japan Airlines 787 that had already landed at Boston's Logan International Airport and was empty of passengers.
“We took the action we took (to ground the planes) because we saw a hazard,” Mr. Huerta said.
The National Transportation Safety Board is also investigating the battery fire in Boston and has sent a representative to Japan to assist authorities there with their investigation of the second. The board so far has not said the battery problem would endanger the safety of the plane in flight or recommended that the planes be grounded.
The board’s technical experts are in possession of the battery that caught fire and are effectively performing an autopsy on its charred insides in a search for clues to what caused the conflagration. It took firefighters about 40 minutes to put out the fire.
The FAA is working as quickly as possible to find the cause of the problems, assembling a team of technical experts that include those from industry as well as the agency’s staff, Mr. Huerta said. The review includes not just the 787’s ground-breaking lithium-ion battery system, but how that system works with the aircraft’s electronic systems and their certification, manufacture and assembly, he said.
“We don’t know yet what caused these incidents yet. When we know the cause, we will take appropriate action,” he said.
The officials emphasized that the investigation would be completely transparent so that the public will have confidence in the outcome.
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- Obama administration issues permits for wind farms to kill more eagles
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Kill team: Obama war chiefs widen drone death zones
- Rush Limbaugh: Obama trying to make Mandela death about himself
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Activists urge Obama to go rogue, sidestep Congress
- NAPOLITANO: Pope Francis should be saving souls, not pocketbooks
- Colorado judge: Bakery owner discriminated against gay couple
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Classical music and the performing arts: news and reviews you can use.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Great discoveries in the world of restaurants and chefs fulfill the quest for delicious food and cooking.
White House pets gone wild!