FAA Opens Investigation Into Boeing 787 Dreamliner

(NECN: Scot Yount - Boston) – The Boeing 787 Dreamliner has been a bit of nightmare of bad press for its chief consumer, Japan Airlines. First, an electrical fire and a fuel spill at Logan Airport in Boston, and now, cracks in a windshield and an oil leak in Japan.

"Nothing we have seen would indicate that this airplane is not safe,” said Michael Huerta, an FAA administrator. “We identify a safety problem, we are going to take appropriate action."

So the Federal Aviation Administration is opening an investigation.

"Our focus is on developing a complete picture of these incidents and focusing on taking whatever action need to take to resolve them," Huerta said.

Under review are the 787’s critical systems, including design, manufacture and assembly.

The plane is the first to use rechargeable lithium ion batteries, which charge faster and are space-saving. The plane is made with lightweight composite materials instead of aluminum.

"We believe -- I believe this plane is safe, and I would have absolutely no reservation boarding one of these planes and taking a flight," said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

"Well I think these are just normal, sort of start-up problems," said MIT aeronautics professor John Hansman. He said new airplanes often have minor problems, and that the aircrafts being designed and manufactured now are the safest ever built.

But he agrees that in order to settle the worries of travelers and airlines, the review is a good first step.

"In order to basically settle things down, I think it is reasonable for the FAA to go and do a comprehensive review, and make sure that there is not any systematic problem, but I don't think they are going to find anything," Hansman said.

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