FAA Requiring Airlines to Reboot Dreamliners Every Three Weeks

Dec 7, 2016

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There’s a reason for the IT trope “Have you tried turning it off and on again?” The simple act of restarting your computer or phone can clear out the memory and fix many simple problems. Turns out, this issue is a lot more critical for Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has indicated that pilots could lose control of a Dreamliner if the power is left on for more than 21 days. Specifically, “all three flight control modules on the 787 might simultaneously reset if continuously powered on for 22 days.” This glitch seems to be present in all 489 Dreamliners in operation worldwide, 99 of which are registered here in the US.

VAA 787-9
Airlines now have to power off their 787 Dreamliners every 21 days. Image courtesy of American Airlines.

In a FAA Airworthiness Directive published Friday (caution: PDF link), the FAA is now requiring airline operators to turn off and turn back on the power on all Dreamliners “within 7 days” of last Friday and then in “intervals not to exceed 21 days.” Meanwhile, Boeing is working on a permanent fix to the problem, which is expected to be released in the second quarter of 2017.

The estimated cost to complying with this new protocol is estimated to be just $85 per cycle — a small price for airlines to pay to avoid potential disaster. While it’s good that the FAA and Boeing are addressing this issue, an industry expert interviewed by the Seattle Times reports that it’s already “extremely rare” for an airline to leave a Dreamliner on for more than a week.

Featured image courtesy of Dan Kitwood via Getty Images.


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