| SEATTLE, Sept 17
SEATTLE, Sept 17 U.S. regulators on Tuesday
ordered airlines to inspect more than 3,800 planes to ensure
that emergency locator beacons sold by Honeywell International
do not have battery problems that could cause a fire.
The Federal Aviation Administration order requires
inspections of beacons on planes made by Boeing,
McDonnell Douglas, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, ATR
and Dassault Aviation SA. An earlier FAA order only
required checks of the beacons installed on Boeing 787 aircraft.
UK investigators have identified a Honeywell emergency
locator transmitter (ELT) as the likely source of a blaze on a
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked at London's
Heathrow Airport, and recommended that the Beacon be turned off.
The locators are used to help rescuers find a plane that has
In July, Boeing asked airlines to inspect the Honeywell
beacons on planes it had manufactured, looking for faults that
could cause a short circuit and fire. The units
use a lithium-manganese battery.
In August, Transport Canada ordered Canadian airlines
worldwide to inspect the beacons on a broad list of aircraft for
possible wiring problems that could lead to a fire.
. That order affected about 3,600 planes,
Transport Canada told Reuters. The units are made in Canada.
A draft of the latest FAA order was in the Federal Register
on Tuesday, and was scheduled to be published and to take effect
on Sept. 18. It affects 3,832 Honeywell beacons installed on
U.S. aircraft. The UK is leading the investigation into the
cause of the fire in London, and that probe is continuing.
The FAA said operators of airplanes with the beacons should
look for damage to the battery cover, the black protective cover
of the battery, battery wires and insulation and the transmitter
unit, wires connected to the battery and problems with the
battery cover gasket.
The FAA gave airlines up to 120 days to inspect and correct
any faults found, an unusually long time that the agency said
was intended to avoid disrupting airline operations. The
Canadian regulator gave its airlines 150 days to comply.
Honeywell said it is cooperating with all of the agencies
investigating the cause of the fire, which has not been finally
determined. It said the required inspections are "precautionary"
and that it has supplied ELTs "since the mid-2000s and have
never before had any issues reported related to fire or heat"