"Have You Tried Turning it On and Off Again?"
3rd May 2015
Several carriers flying Boeing Dreamliner 787 planes, including Australian Jetstar, have recently received a bit comical request from the manufacturer to turn their aircrafts on and off. Apparently, this will prevent potential "loss of control" of the jet.
This directive came straight through the United States Department of Transport's Federal Aviation Administration this Friday.
This all came as a result of a problem identified by Boeing engineers on 23 April this year during some routing lab tests.
Apparently, the power generators on the Dreamliners (all four of them) can shut down after about 8 months of use, without powering down in between. This can happen even mid-flight.
The manufacturer, however, said this is highly unlikely to occur since it's not often that an aircraft is operational for such a long period. Most planes undergo maintenance checks and repairs every few months.
Those carriers whose jets have had a power cycle within the last 4 or so months do not need to do the on-off procedure right away.
Boeing has sold the Dreamliner 787 model to 59 carriers. These include Jetstar from Australia, Air New Zealand, Virgin Atlantic from England and more.
A spokesman from Jetstar said that this directive will not change the way this carrier operates its Dreamliner fleet. However, the carrier will alter its maintenance procedures.
"None of the units on our aircraft have operated continuously for anywhere near the maximum limit as we regularly power down our aircraft. This is done when there is an extended break between flights or while the aircraft is undergoing scheduled maintenance. Following the initial notification from Boeing a few weeks ago, we've made a minor change to our maintenance tasks which will be in place until Boeing provides a software update."
With the advancement in aircraft technology, Boeing is now relying much more on electrical components in Dreamliners than on mechanical ones in order to decrease the weight of their plane and make their repairs easier.