This Boeing image shows its 787 airplane.

Boeing Changing 787's Power Distribution Panel

The changes are being made after the company investigated an onboard electrical fire during a test flight earlier this month in Laredo, Texas.

Boeing announced Nov. 24 that it is "developing minor design changes" to the power distribution panels on its 787 airplane and updating the systems software that manages and protects power distribution on the plane. The changes resulted from Boeing's investigation of an onboard electrical fire on a test airplane, ZA002, earlier this month in Laredo, Texas.

"We have successfully simulated key aspects of the onboard event in our laboratory and are moving forward with developing design fixes," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, in a statement posted by the manufacturer. "Boeing is developing a plan to enable a return to 787 flight test activities and will present it to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration as soon as it is complete."

The statement said engineers concluded either a short circuit or an electrical arc in the P100 power distribution panel was "most likely caused by the presence of foreign debris." The design changes being made will improve protection within the panel, and software changes will further improve fault protection, according to Boeing.

The P100 panel, one of five major power distribution panels on the 787, receives power from the left engine and distributes it to several systems. "Our team is focused on developing these changes and moving forward with the flight test program," said Fancher. "The team in Laredo is also well along in preparing to return ZA002 to Seattle."

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