FAA Issues Cockpit-Window Safety Mandates

FAA Issues Cockpit-Window Safety Mandates


Federal air-safety regulators ordered stepped-up inspections or replacement of certain cockpit windows that—since the 1980s—have caused at least 11 fires or smoke incidents on widely-used Boeing Co. jet models.

The directive, made public Friday by the Federal Aviation Administration, affects more than 1,200 jets manufactured by Boeing and flown by U.S. airlines. It covers Boeing 757, 767 and 777 models, all of which have similar window-heater designs prone to electrical shorts or other malfunctions that can lead to smoke or fire. Hundreds of Boeing jets operated by foreign carriers eventually are expected to be subject to the same rules.
The agency also said it plans to mandate similar enhanced maintenance procedures for Boeing 747 jumbo jets.
Originally proposed more than a year ago, the move had been widely anticipated since the FAA’s announcement earlier this year that it was speeding up work on the directive.
Some airlines already have voluntarily shortened inspection intervals for the suspect parts, while AMR Corp.’s American Airlines is close to finishing voluntary replacement of certain cockpit windows on a large portion of its overall fleet.
The latest FAA order, however, doesn’t go as far as some pilot groups advocated in mandating swift, across-the-board replacement of certain cockpit windows. The heating systems are used to prevent ice from building up on cockpit windows.

The safety issue moved back into the public spotlight after a United Airlines Boeing 757 was forced to make an emergency landing in May at Dulles International Airport near Washington D.C. after a window-heating element malfunctioned and caused a fire in the cockpit.
Boeing in the past has identified more than two dozen smoke or fire incidents traced to defective or malfunctioning cockpit window heating systems. The latest FAA directive covers only forward-looking cockpit windows, not side cockpit windows.
Boeing has issued a string of service bulletins warning airlines about the hazards, and urging various changes in inspection procedures.
Write to Andy Pasztor at andy.pasztor

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

California Aviation Alliance: Airport News List E-mail
Sent by AviaEd@netscape.net – Lorena de Rodriguez on behalf of CAA subscribers. Add your comments to these stories realtime online at http://aviaed.wordpress.com/.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to the Airport News List, send an email, from the email account you wish to receive or discontinue CAA posts on, addressed to imailsrv@californiaaviation.org and
place only the following in the first line of the body of the message:
Subscribe airport YourFirstName YourLastName YourJobTitle YourAirport/Company

Manage your CAA subscriptions with the user friendly Mail List Administration database. You’ll find it at: http://californiaaviation.org/cal/index.cfm

Contact stepheni@cwnet.com with problems with your subscription.

Leave a Reply