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Boeing 787 Dreamliner sparks fire, NTSB investigation


The Roll Royce engine is pictured on a Boeing Boeing 787 Dreamliner belonging to All Nippon Airways September 25, 2011 in Everett, Washington. Boeing delivered its long-awaited and delayed first 787 airliner to All Nippon Airways which it will celebrate before ANA flies the airliner to Japan September 27, 2011.


Stephen Brashear

The NTSB is investigating after a Boeing 787 Dreamliner engine malfunction caused a grass fire at a North Carolina airport during tests on Saturday.

Debris from the GE engine sparked the fire and forced the airport’s closure for 70 minutes, The Post and Courier reported.

“A 787 experienced an engine issue today while undergoing pre-flight runway testing in North Charleston,” Boeing representative Candy Eslinger told the newspaper. “After the investigation, we will determine what went wrong and come up with a remedy.”

Boeing builds some 787s in South Carolina.

The Dreamliner has experienced other safety concerns and delays since Boeing introduced it with much fanfare a decade ago.

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Production and weight issues forced Boeing to delay rollout four times for a total of about 3 ½ years.

The first 787 took off in December 2009, while Boeing delivered the first airplanes in September 2011.

Earlier this month, All Nippon Airways grounded five of its 787s because of a problem with gearboxes in the Rolls-Royce engines.

ANA was the first airline in the world to accept delivery of the Dreamliner.

The National Transportation Safety Board said investigators could release details about Saturday’s incident on Monday, The Associated Press reported.

Boeing built the Dreamliner using high-tech materials hoping to shed excess weight and improve efficiency.

The planes can seat a maximum of 290 passengers, and use 20 percent less fuel than similar craft.

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