Workers at South Carolina Boeing work on a 787 Dreamliner for Air India at the plant's final assembly building in North Charleston, South Carolina in this December 19, 2013 file photo. Boeing Co said March 7, 2014 that "hairline cracks" had been discovere
Workers at South Carolina Boeing work on a 787 Dreamliner for Air India at the plant's final assembly building in North Charleston, South Carolina in this December 19, 2013 file photo. Boeing Co said March 7, 2014 that "hairline cracks" had been discovere

Boeing 787 software problem could lead planes to fall out of the sky if they’re left turned on for too long

Issue is just the latest in the Dreamliners' problems, which have also included battery failures and potential hacking attacks

Andrew Griffin
Friday 01 May 2015 20:26
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Boeing’s huge 787 Dreamliner could see its engines shut down if it is left running for too long, because of a software glitch.

If the plane is left turned on for 248 days, it will go into a failsafe mode that will lead to the plane losing all of its power, according to a new directive from the US Federal Aviation Administration. If the bug is triggered, the generator control units (GCUs) will shut off, leaving the plane without power and loss of control of the plane.

“If the four main GCUs (associated with the engine mounted generators) were powered up at the same time, after 248 days of continuous power, all four GCUs will go into failsafe mode at the same time, resulting in a loss of all AC electrical power regardless of flight phase,” the directive warns.

Boeing is working on a software upgrade that will address the problems, the FAA says. The company is said to have found the problem during laboratory testing of the plane, which is also known as the Dreamliner.

The company told the Guardian that the problem has only occurred in the lab and that all of the planes in service have been turned off and on again as part of regular maintenance.

It is the latest problem to hit the plane, which is also said to be vulnerable to hacking attacks and to have seen difficulties with batteries that have seen them catching fire. Such problems have seen the planes grounded, though they were returned to service shortly after.

Over 250 of the planes have been built, and they are used by companies all over the world including British Airways.

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