FAA Mandates New Wiring Safety Measures

 For Airliners


Fri, 09 Nov '07

Aimed At Preventing Damage Caused During Maintenance

The Federal Aviation Administration has mandated that US airlines take additional measures to protect wiring in aircraft from damage during maintenance.

"This is a big safety step," said FAA spokesman Les Dorr, a spokesman for the Washington-based agency. "The surprise issue is that maintenance was causing damage to the wiring bundles."

Bloomberg reports the FAA will give Boeing, Airbus and other manufacturers two years to develop new maintenance and inspection procedures, and three years for the airlines to implement them.

"We encourage the FAA to adopt this collaborative approach in upcoming rules," said Victoria Day, a spokeswoman for the Air Transport Association.

Modern airliners have flight systems and customer amenities which can require more than 100 miles of wires bundled throughout the aircraft. Aging, and handling during maintenance, can cause insulation to fail, with potentially catastrophic results.

Transport Canada concluded a fire on board Swissair Flight 111 near Nova Scotia in 1998 was likely caused by faulty wiring in a video entertainment system on the plane. The subsequent crash into the Atlantic Ocean claimed 229 lives.

TWA Flight 800 exploded over the Atlantic near New York in 1996, killing 230 people. The National Transportation safety Board determined the explosion in a fuel tank was likely ignited by a wiring short.