The US Federal Aviation Administration has ordered Boeing 787 operators to switch their aircraft off and on every 51 days to prevent what it called “several potentially catastrophic failure scenarios” – including the crashing of onboard network switches.
The airworthiness directive, due to be enforced from later this month, orders airlines to power-cycle their B787s before the aircraft reaches the specified days of continuous power-on operation.
The power cycling is needed to prevent stale data from populating the aircraft’s systems, a problem that has occurred on different 787 systems in the past.
According to the directive itself, if the aircraft is powered on for more than 51 days this can lead to “display of misleading data” to the pilots, with that data including airspeed, attitude, altitude and engine operating indications. On top of all that, the stall warning horn and overspeed horn also stop working.