August 19, 2013
Transport Canada and the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), broadening an FAA directive that focused on the Boeing 787, have ordered all operators with certain Honeywell-made Emergency Locator Transmitters (ELTs) to check the units and related wiring for fire risks.
Under the Aug. 15 airworthiness directive (AD), issued by Transport Canada and effective Aug. 26., operators of some 22 types of aircraft have 150 days to inspect the ELTs and surrounding areas. Canada’s regulations require ELTs, so deactivating the devices is not an option.
On Aug. 16, EASA immediately adopted the Canadian AD as written. Last month, EASA, following the FAA’s lead, issued a directive targeting 787s.
In an Aug. 16 airworthiness bulletin, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority “strongly recommended” operators follow the Canadian order, but stopped short of a mandate.
The new ADs cover aircraft with Honeywell RESCU 406AF and 406AFN ELTs that include transmitter unit part numbers 1152682-1, -2 and -3.
Affected aircraft include all Airbus and ATR aircraft, all Boeing commercial aircraft, and the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, MD-80, and MD-90.
The mandates are the latest ramifications of the July 12 fire on an Ethiopian Airlines 787 at London Heathrow Airport. While the U.K. Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB)-led probe is not complete, preliminary conclusions determined that the fire’s source was most likely a ELT wire short circuit or an issue with the ELT’s battery.
In a July 18 update on the incident, AAIB recommended that the FAA address 787 ELTs specifically, as well as review lithium-powered ELT systems on all aircraft “and, where appropriate, initiate airworthiness action.”
AAIB’s findings led 787 operators to inspect ELTs. United Airlines found one ELT with a pinched wire, and All Nippon Airways reported wiring damage on two transmitters.