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Boeing 787 to undergo FAA review. Is electrical power at fault?

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Eric Schultz/The Huntsville Times/AP/File

(Read caption) In this Jan. 27, 2012, file photo, Boeing's newest aircraft, the Boeing 787, sits on the tarmac at Huntsville International Airport. Federal investigators are probing a fire aboard an empty 787 in Boston, the latest glitch for a jet that uses unique electrical systems.

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In its new 787 "Dreamliner," Boeing has brought a new level of fuel efficiency to the skies by borrowing a page from earth-bound hybrids: battery power.

So when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced Friday it would launch an investigation into the Boeing 787 because of a recent small electrical fire and fuel leaks, it raised a question if Boeing has pushed reliance on electric power too far too fast.

Boeing officials insist the plane is safe, and industry experts downplay the errors as typical growing pains for a new technology. The Airbus A380, now a staple of commercial flight, suffered an exploding engine and cracked wings in its early years.


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