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FAA Orders Boeing Fuel Pump Study

September 25, 2002

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Federal Aviation Administration is ordering airlines to inspect more fuel pumps on Boeing jets to determine if they have a flaw that could lead to an explosion.

The order, signed Tuesday, expands a previous FAA advisory issued Aug. 30 that affects certain Boeing 737s and all 747s and 757s, said Laura Brown, FAA spokeswoman.

``It does not increase the number of airplanes that need to be looked at, it increases the number of fuel pumps that have to be looked at,″ Brown said.

Chicago-based Boeing Co. said further investigation revealed that more of the fuel pumps than previously thought might have a certain configuration of wire bundles. The placement of the wire bundles could cause chafing and electrical shorting, Boeing said.

``Boeing is working closely with the supplier and the FAA to resolve this issue and ensure the safety of the flying public,″ the company said.

The pumps are made by Hydro-Aire Inc. of Burbank, Calif.

There are six pumps on 737s and 757s, 16 pumps on newer 767s and 14 pumps on older 767s, said Cindy Wall, Boeing spokeswoman. About 35,000 pumps on planes and in inventories need to be inspected, she said.

Boeing issued a service bulletin on Friday advising airlines to inspect the pumps, but they don’t have to be replaced, Wall said. ``It’s really more precautionary,″ she said.

Hydro-Aire president Greg Ward said mathematical projections indicate about 30 pumps might have to be replaced, but said he thinks that number is high.

``It’s precautionary, to be safe,″ Ward said. ``Everybody just wants to err on the side of safety.″

Airlines are advised to avoid fuel pump problems by making sure the pump is covered with fuel or by X-raying it to make sure it doesn’t have any problems.

The service bulletin affects about 3,300 planes worldwide, including 1,400 in the United States, Boeing said.

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