The shades of Swissair 111 are approaching
on the horizon. Read what was in
the Seattle P-I this morning. Especially with third parties
with the installation of ADDITIONAL WIRING to accommodate passenger
requirements. Does this appear to be another "flirting
fate" with respect to airplane wiring?
American scrutinize planes' laptop ports
Monday, July 3, 2000
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
DALLAS -- Even as they equip more jetliners with power outlets for
computers, the nation's two largest airlines are confronting safety
over the ports. United Airlines disconnected the ports on some
they can be rewired, while American is inspecting its entire fleet
after an in
-flight incident. In May, wiring from an outlet on an American Airbus
A300 leaving London for Boston overheated, causing a burning smell
in the cabin, an airline spokesman said. The captain aborted
the flight and landed in Shannon, Ireland.
"You're not going to start out over the Atlantic when you smell
you don't know where it's coming from," said American spokesman
Mechanics discovered that wiring had rubbed against a metal seat part,
causing a small hole in the wiring, which led the insulation to overheat,
Hotard said. After the incident, which was first reported in
The Wall Street
Journal, the airline began an inspection of wiring on its entire 700-plane
fleet, which will be finished in July, Hotard said.
United's decision to disconnect power outlets in 24 of its Boeing
actually unrelated. The outlets were installed by a third-party
which United declined to identify -- who placed the outlet wires closer
backup power wiring than the one-quarter-inch separation recommended
Boeing, a United spokesman said.
Rather than ground the planes, United decided to disconnect the power.
Repairs will be made from November through January, said Joe Hopkins,
United spokesman. He said none of the planes experienced any problems
to the aborted American flight.
David Stempler, president of the Washington-based Air Travellers Association,
said his group received complaints from some United passengers who
a full explanation why the power ports weren't operating. "We
thought it was
an isolated event," Stempler said. "When it happened the
second time, it
didn't seem so isolated." Despite the setbacks, both United
and American and
several other carriers are going ahead with plans to increase the
outlet-equipped planes in their fleets. Most laptop batteries
run out of
power after about 2 hours and business travellers prize the outlets.
© 2000 The Associated Press