NEW YORK – Boeing's new 787 plane, which just started carrying paying passengers, ran into its first technical glitch Sunday when the landing gear failed to deploy.
The pilots of Japan's All Nippon Airways used "an alternate procedure that worked," according to Lori Gunter, a spokeswoman for Chicago-based Boeing Co. The plane landed safely and there were no reported injuries.
"We are aware of this matter and are on-site in Japan with ANA offering whatever assistance they require," Gunter said. "Maintenance was conducted and the airplane has returned to service."
ANA is the first — and so far only — airline to fly the new jet. It started using the plane on short shuttle flights within Japan last week.
The plane, which relies heavily on lightweight carbon composites, was more than three years behind schedule. The plane was built using manufacturers around the globe and then assembled at Boeing's Everett, Wash., facility. The complexity of building so many parts around the globe led to delays that lasted years. Airlines have already placed orders for more than 800 of the fuel-saving planes but China Eastern Airlines recently canceled its $3 billion order for 24 of the long-delayed planes, citing the manufacturing delays..
The 787 incident comes less than a week after a Lot Polish Airlines pilot safely landed a Boeing 767 after its landing gear failed to deploy. None of the passengers on the flight from Newark, N.J. to Warsaw, Poland were injured. But video of the emergency landing was a fixture on TV news for several days
New aircraft go through hundreds of hours of testing and government review before passengers are allowed onboard. Still, problems do arise on new and older planes.
In November 2010, one of the four engines on the relatively-new Airbus A380 failed during a Qantas flight from Singapore to Sydney. Shortly after takeoff, there was a loud bang, fire shot out the back of the engine and shredded metal was scatted below. The world's largest passenger plane safely made an emergency landing in Singapore. The problem was traced to an oil leak in the Rolls Royce Trent 900 engine, which debuted on the A380.