PANEL FALLS OFF AIR INDIA DREAMLINER MIDAIR , DGCA TO PROBE INCIDENT
Saurabh Sinha, TNN | Oct 15, 2013, 06.47 PM I
Air India's latest Dreamliner has a gaping hole in its belly after the panel was taken out of it to be fitted in the other Boeing 787 that lost it on a flight from Delhi to Bangalore on Saturday. The brand new plane, parked in Delhi, is yet to begin commercial flights as it is awaiting certification from DGCA. Now it will be able to fly only after Boeing sends a replacement part for it.
NEW DELHI: Air India's Dreamliner troubles don't seem to end. In a shocking incident, a large panel on a Boeing 787's fuselage flew off when the aircraft was winging its way from Delhi to Bangalore last Saturday with 148 people on board.
The Dreamliner 'miraculously' landed safely in Bangalore without the pilots realizing a thing. The gaping hole caused by the missing part — measuring 8 by 4 feet — was discovered when the plane was being prepared for the return flight to Delhi. The aviation safety regulator is investigating this incident.
The missing part was taken out of a brand new Dreamliner (VT-ANO), AI's 9th B-787 which had landed here just days back and is awaiting certification to begin commercial flying, and taken to Bangalore. Only after this part was fitted in the aircraft grounded in Bangalore (VT-ANA) could the plane fly again after a delay of almost 10 hours. However, now the brand new "Christmas tree" VT-ANO is grounded in Delhi, awaiting the part from Boeing!
AI spokesman G P Rao said: "The panel has since been fixed and the aircraft is in operation again. The DGCA is probing this." According to sources, the panel was covering the Dreamliner's AC bay. It flew off when AI 803 was on its way to Bangalore.
This is the latest in a series of troubles hitting Boeing's latest commercial aircraft, the Dreamliner. This January, the US aviation regulator had grounded Dreamliners globally and they resumed flying only in May after the fears caused by its battery overheating were resolved.
But even after the aircraft resumed flying, airlines have been reporting troubles with it. AI recently had oven overheating in its aircraft and then the electric systems of ovens were changed in all its B-787. AI flies this aircraft on both domestic and international routes. It flies on Delhi-Bangalore, Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Kolkata routes apart from long-haul flights between Delhi and London, Frankfurt, Paris and Australia. AI's turnaround banks heavily on this plane.