The British Aircraft Accident Investigation Board issued its preliminary findings (S5-2013 ET-AOP) on the Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 787 fire at London Heathrow airport, and cites the Honeywell Emergency Locator Transmitter as the likely cause.

The report indicates that the most damaged area “coincides with the location of the aircraft’s Emergency Locator Transmitter and its associated system wiring which is mounted internally on structure close to the aircraft skin.  There are no other aircraft systems in this vicinity which, with the aircraft unpowered, contain stored energy capable of initiating a fire in the area of heat damage.”

The report makes two recommendations – “that the FAA initiate action for making inert the Honeywell International RESCY406AFN fixed Emergency Locator Transmitter system in Boeing 787 aircraft until appropriate airworthiness actions can be completed.”, and that the FAA, in association with other airworthiness authorities, conduct a safety review of Lithium-powered ELT systems in other aircraft types in addition to the 787.

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