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FAA Orders Inspections of MD-11 Cargo Compartment Wiring


Based on a recent report of a burnt insulation blanket, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has ordered operators of 45 U.S.-registered MD-11s to verify the installation of a wire harness support bracket and clamp in the lower center cargo compartment. A missing bracket and clamp could cause a wire bundle to contact the insulation blanket and rub against the fuselage frame, producing a possible fire source.

This Emergency Airworthiness Directive (AD) does not appear to be related to the Swissair accident. However, it is prompted by information from the agency's continuous post-accident review of the service experience of the MD-11 fleet. While performing routine maintenance on an MD-11, mechanics found evidence of wire chafing in the cargo loader control unit and burnt insulation. They also discovered that a wiring harness support bracket and clamp that supports a wire bundle may not have been installed on the aircraft.

This AD affects MD-11s equipped with a 72-inch cargo door. MD-11s with a 104-inch cargo door have a different wire bundle configuration. Operators of the affected aircraft are required to perform inspections, verify the installation of the bracket and clamp, and repair any damaged wires within five days. All findings must be reported to the FAA within 10 days after completion of the inspections.

There are 45 U.S.-registered aircraft, both passenger and cargo, affected by this AD out of a total of 89 aircraft worldwide. Operators include American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, World Airways, Federal Express Corporation, and The Boeing Company. The total estimated cost to inspect the U.S. fleet is $8,100, $180 per aircraft.