New AD Addresses 787 Fuel Couplings

 - December 5, 2012, 4:33 PM

The FAA on Wednesday issued an airworthiness directive (AD) requiring inspection of Boeing 787-8 engine fuel feed manifold couplings after receiving reports of fuel leaks on two in-service aircraft.

The AD follows a Boeing multi-operator message from November 25, and requires inspections within seven days to ensure proper installation of a safety lockwire. The directive also requires inspections of rigid and flexible couplings on the fuel feed manifold, which channels fuel from wing tanks to the engines.

“The improper coupling installations, which occurred during production, have included couplings with missing or improperly installed lockwire, parts within the couplings installed in the wrong locations, incorrect parts installed in the couplings, and couplings that have extra parts installed,” according to the AD. Left undetected, the improperly assembled couplings “could result in fuel leaks and consequent fuel exhaustion, engine power loss or shutdown, or leaks on hot engine parts that could lead to a fire,” it added.

The FAA did not identify the operators of the two 787s that experienced fuel leaks. Boeing told The Seattle Times that about half of the 38 Dreamliners delivered so far have undergone inspection. The company declined to identify which airlines reported the fuel leaks.

The AD comes a day after a United Airlines 787 en route from Houston to Newark diverted to New Orleans for still unspecified mechanical reasons. The airplane, delivered to United just nine days ago, carried 184 passengers and crewmembers.