While everyone knows by now that the best place to cook eggs at 40,000 feet is on the Dreamliner battery compartment, little did anyone know that Boeing (which was just caught selling used parts as new to the Pentagon) has now put into circulation a new and improved version of the Dreamliner: the Cabriolet. This is what Air India discovered, much to its surprise, yesterday when an 8 by 4 foot panel on a Boeing 787 fuselage "flew off" on a routine Delhi to Bangalore flight.
The "detachable" component shown below:
Times of India reports on this latest debacle for the most accident prone "futuristic" airplane in history:
The Dreamliner 'miraculously' landed safely in Bangalore without the pilots realizing a thing. The gaping hole caused by the missing part — measuring 8 by 4 feet — was discovered when the plane was being prepared for the return flight to Delhi. The aviation safety regulator is investigating this incident.
The missing part was taken out of a brand new Dreamliner (VT-ANO), AI's 9th B-787 which had landed here just days back and is awaiting certification to begin commercial flying, and taken to Bangalore. Only after this part was fitted in the aircraft grounded in Bangalore (VT-ANA) could the plane fly again after a delay of almost 10 hours. However, now the brand new "Christmas tree" VT-ANO is grounded in Delhi, awaiting the part from Boeing!
This is hardly the extent of Dreamliner issues experienced by the Indian airline company:
But even after the aircraft resumed flying, airlines have been reporting troubles with it. AI recently had oven overheating in its aircraft and then the electric systems of ovens were changed in all its B-787. AI flies this aircraft on both domestic and international routes. It flies on Delhi-Bangalore, Delhi-Chennai and Delhi-Kolkata routes apart from long-haul flights between Delhi and London, Frankfurt, Paris and Australia. AI's turnaround banks heavily on this plane.
Of course, the ATA and all other regulators will turn a blind eye to this, and all other recent, accidents involving Boeing's prized aircraft: after all the last thing the US can afford is a collapse in Durable Goods orders at a time when everything and the kitchen sink is thrown into making the US economy appear strong. That, and of course, the fear of what might happen to BA stock again should the Dreamliner have to be grounded once again. So until such time as the numerous accidents plaguing the aircraft actually results in casualties, all is well.
But as usual, we have saved the best news for last: the Dreamliner Cabriolet "option" from Boeing does not cost one penny extra.