Firefighters and airport officials investigate the scene of an incident involving a Boeing 787 jetliner at the Laredo International Airport Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 in Laredo, Texas. (The Laredo Morning Times, Ricardo Santos)

Firefighters and airport officials investigate the scene of an incident involving a Boeing 787 jetliner at the Laredo International Airport Tuesday, Nov. 9, 2010 in Laredo, Texas. (The Laredo Morning Times, Ricardo Santos)

Today, Boeing’s second 787 Dreamliner, ZA002, reported smoke in the cabin and had to be evacuated after landing in Larado, TX.

“The crew continued its approach and landed safely at the airport. Emergency personnel responded. The crew safely evacuated the airplane,” Boeing 787 spokeswoman Lori Gunter said. “We are continuing to gather data regarding this event.”

ZA002 took off from Yuma, AZ at 6:30am today with 30-plus test personnel aboard. Jon Ostower via his blog Flight Blogger is reporting that a fire broke out in the aft electronics bay causing the flight deck primary flight displays (update: it is being reported now that the flight displays did not fail) and auto throttle to fail. During landing, the ram air turbine (photo from ZA003 – provides back up power) was deployed. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was scheduled to land in Harlingen, TX but landed instead at Laredo, TX just before 3:00pm CST.

Once again, I am sure many people will start to get excited about things going wrong with the 787 Dreamliner and more possible delays, but this is all okay.

I am so happy that some media folks, like Glenn Farley, who is our local aviation specialist on KING5 in Seattle, puts things in perspective. On his report about this latest incident with ZA002 he reminds us, “The bottom line thing to keep in mind here is this is the nature of flight test. That’s why they do it, stuff can go wrong.” He also reminds us of the rapid decompression that the Boeing 777 had during its test flight phase and today most people do not remember it or care.

He is right. This is why they test the aircraft. At this point we do not know many details and should not make assumptions of further delays. I will say again that the 787 Dreamliner is the next generation of aircraft and creating the next generation of aircraft does not come without its challenges.

This will be updated as more information is known.

UPDATE: 8:45pm PST.
Directly from Flight Blogger: “Program sources say all planned flight test for Wednesday have been postponed until Thursday at the earliest. ZA001, ZA005 and ZA006 have been shifted to ground tests as a result of ZA002’s in-flight fire. ZA003 and ZA004 had been previously scheduled to conduct ground testing.”

UPDATE 8:45am 11/10.
Flight Blogger is now reporting that 42 Boeing test people were on board ZA002 at the time of the incident. Boeing is also stating that pilots did not lose primary flight displays during landing. I spoke with All Nippon Airways, whose livery is on this test 787 aircraft and Nao Gunji with ANA communications explained that, “ANA was notified of the event on ZA002 by Boeing, and we are coordinating with them. Although the airplane is in the ANA livery, it is operated by Boeing as part of the 787 flight test fleet. No ANA employees were involved in the event. ZA002 is not one of the aircrafts ANA is scheduled to receive next year.”

UPDATE 3:45pm.
Boeing gives official word on what happened with ZA002.

More: VIDEO of ZA002 on ground in TexasPHOTO of 787 ram air turbinePHOTOS of ZA002 first flight

Photo found via the Seattle PI

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF & FOUNDER - SEATTLE, WA. David has written, consulted, and presented on multiple topics relating to airlines and travel since 2008. He has been quoted and written for a number of news organizations, including BBC, CNN, NBC News, Bloomberg, and others. He is passionate about sharing the complexities, the benefits, and the fun stuff of the airline business. Email me: [email protected]

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1 Comment

Great article, solid reporting, and you didn’t report all of the sensationalist leaked details that @flightblogger should never have gotten in the first place! He is a great digger! ZA2 will be back in the air before you know it!

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