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The Dreamliner’s Latest Failure Was a Complete Navigation Blackout

Feb 06, 2014 10:00 am

Pascal Rossignol  / Reuters

An Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner prepares for a flying display, during the 50th Paris Air Show, at the Le Bourget airport near Paris, June 20, 2013. Pascal Rossignol / Reuters


An Air India flight from Melbourne to Delhi was diverted to Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 5, after after all three of the jet’s navigation computers failed at the same time.

“The cockpit software system went blank,” IBN Live, an Indian television station, reported. “The flight landed without any navigation aid.” The failures took place in “three flight management computers that control navigation and allow a plane to fly long distances on auto pilot,” according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

The flight landed safely, but more than 230 passengers and crew were stranded in Kuala Lumpur until mechanics who could fix the plane arrived from Hong Kong. “We are aware of the in-service incident and are working with Air India to provide support,” a Boeing spokesman said in an e-mail to Quartz.

Boeing’s Dreamliner aircraft has suffered a series of problems since it was introduced, most notoriously with its highly-flammable battery, and the Air India fleet has been particularly trouble-prone. The planes has 136 “minor technical snags” between September, 2012 and November, 2013, according to India’s civil aviation minister.

The Dreamliner involved in the diverted flight from Melbourne has been particularly affected: the plane’s windshield cracked while it was landing on two separate previous occasions, and its landing gear door was seriously damaged.

Air India spokesman Praveen Bhatnagar told the AFP that “software glitches” were responsible for the most recent incident. “It’s not a big issue,” he said.


This story originally appeared on Quartz, a Skift content partner.

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