For the last day there are been bits and pieces of information coming from Boeing, inside sources and different media outlets on ZA002’s sudden landing due to reported smoke in the cabin. Boeing has just released an official statement putting some of the rumors to rest and explaining what they know of ZA002’s recent emergency landing in Laredo, TX.
Boeing confirms that ZA002 did lose primary electrical power that was related to an on board electrical fire. Due to the loss, the Ram Air Turbine (RAT), which provides back up power (photo of RAT from ZA003) was deployed and allowed the flight crew to land safely. The pilots had complete control of ZA002 during the entire incident.
After their initial inspection, it appears that a power control panel in the rear of the electronics bay will need to be replaced. They are checking the surrounding areas for any additional damages. At this time, the cause of the fire is still being investigated and might take a few days until we have more answers.
At the time of the incident, ZA002 was completing tests of the Nitrogen Generation System, but Boeing does not feel that test was related to the fire. Until Boeing determines the cause, they have postponed all flight tests on the other 787 aircraft. Boeing does not know if this incident will cause the first delivery of the Dreamliner to be pushed back to a later date.