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United 787 Flight 1146 Diverts to New Orleans Mid Flight

United Airlines First 787 at Paine Field in Everett. Phone: Mal Muir – Airlinereporter.com

On Tuesday the 4th December 2012, United flight 1146 scheduled from Houston to Newark, diverted to New Orleans due to a mechanical issue.  An emergency had been declared during descent and following standard procedure, the flight was to be welcomed by emergency crews upon landing.

As they approached the airport, there was talk between the tower controllers and the crew on board that would indicate they had predicted there might be an electrical problem.  Recordings taken from LiveATC (thanks to NYCAviation for the transcript) indicate the crew were forwarding instruction for the ground crews to help them inspect the aircraft upon landing:

UA 1146: If in fact anything’s going on it’ll be the area right behind the wings, the rear of the wings back to the third door on each side.
Tower: Which wing?
UA 1146: Uh, we don’t know. Either one. It might be on either side. But it’s behind the wing where high load electrical stuff is and back to the rear cargo. But we don’t anticipate anything, that’s just where he needs to be.
Tower: Okay.
UA 1146: So following us would be perfect.

The Dreamliner landed safely and all 184 passengers & crew on-board were unharmed.  The unexpected arrival marked the first Boeing 787 to land at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.  United re-booked passengers on another aircraft and set out to work with Boeing to investigate the issue.

United Airlines First Boeing 787 on Launch Day at the Boeing Factory in Everett. Phone: Mal Muir airlinereporter.com

United Spokesperson Christen Davis confirms to AirlineReporter.com that the maintenance inspection of the 787 that diverted to New Orleans (N26902 the latest of their their 787s)  revealed that one of the six electrical generators on the aircraft failed and that back up systems allowed it to be powered by the remaining five.  United will replace the generator, run additional checks and then return the aircraft to service as soon as possible.

United also confirmed that this diversion was unrelated to the latest FAA Airworthiness Directive to all 787 operators that required mandatory inspections to the fuel feed systems.  The FAA implemented these mandatory checks this week, which had already been recommended by Boeing.  United’s 787s have already undergone the inspections for the fuel systems & Davis confirmed that United would continue to work closely with Boeing and the FAA to determine what went wrong with flight 1146.

This story written by…Malcolm Muir, Lead Correspondent.Mal is an Australian Avgeek now living and working in Seattle. With a passion for aircraft photography, traveling and the fun that combining the two can bring. Insights into the aviation world with a bit of a perspective thanks to working in the travel industry.

@BigMalX | BigMal’s World | Photos

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