An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner carrying 249 people had to make a second approach at a west Japan airport before landing, after a glitch forced the pilot to manually deploy the main landing gear, the airline said Monday.
The first glitch on a commercial flight for the new plane occurred on a domestic route Sunday after a cockpit monitor showed that the landing gear had not fully deployed shortly before landing, ANA said.
As flight 651 from Tokyo's Haneda airport approached Okayama airport in western Japan, the monitor issued a warning that the main landing gear had not deployed due to a hydraulic valve fault, an ANA spokeswoman said.
The glitch forced the pilot to circle the airport and manually deploy the main landing gear, she said.
"The plane went around again as the pilot manually lowered the landing gear," the ANA spokeswoman said. The jet carrying 249 passengers and crew touched down afterwards slightly later its scheduled 8:50 am (2350 GMT) landing time, she said.
The long-awaited 787 made its first commercial flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong on October 26.
In a short email Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel gave no explanation for the problem, but said the company understood that "the backup procedures worked as expected, the landing gear deployed and a safe landing was performed."
ANA was the first customer to receive the fuel efficient jets touted by Boeing as an industry game-changer as the first mid-sized plane to fly long-haul, amid hopes it will help attract more customers and boost sales.
But the delivery of the first 787 to its launch carrier came more than three years behind schedule and billion of dollars over budget due to production and design problems.
Sunday's glitch came less than a week after a Boeing 767-300 with 220 passengers on board made an emergency landing on its belly at Warsaw international airport after its landing gear failed on a flight from Newark in the United States.
All passengers and crew safely disembarked. Raw video footage of the emergency landing showed the plane skidding down the landing strip on its belly in a splattering cloud of white foam and sparks.
ANA, which launched its first domestic services with the new 787 jet one week ago, is scheduled to use it for international service on a Haneda-Beijing route and on a Haneda-Frankfurt route in the near future.
Boeing says the twin-aisle 787's construction, partly from lightweight composite materials, means it consumes 20 percent less fuel than comparable planes, an attractive proposition for airlines facing soaring fuel costs.
The Chicago-based aerospace and defence giant has also been touting the larger windows, bigger luggage storage bins and improved cabin humidity than conventional jets, a factor it says will reduce traveller fatigue.
(c) 2011 AFP
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