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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-09-052
Synopsis: On June 28, 2008, about 2215 Pacific daylight time, an ABX Air Boeing 767-200, N799AX, operating as flight 1611 from San Francisco International Airport (SFO), San Francisco, California, experienced a ground fire before engine startup. The captain and the first officer evacuated the airplane through the cockpit windows and were not injured, and the airplane was substantially damaged. The cargo flight was operating under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 121. At the time of the fire, the airplane was parked near a loading facility, all of the cargo to be transported on the flight had been loaded, and the doors had been shut.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Require transport-category airplane operators to (1) perform a one-time inspection of all passenger service unit reading lights installed on their airplanes to ensure that they include rubber boots or use other means to isolate the electrical parts of the assembly and (2) include, in maintenance manuals or other maintenance documentation, information about the importance of this electrical protection.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
Mode: Aviation
Location: San Francisco, CA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Accident #: DCA08MA076
Accident Reports: Ground Fire Aboard Cargo Airplane, ABX Air Flight 1611, Boeing 767-200, N799AX
Report #: AAR-09-04
Accident Date: 6/28/2008
Issue Date: 7/8/2009
Date Closed: 10/17/2011
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s): Maintenance, Wiring

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
Date: 10/17/2011
Response: The FAA has misinterpreted the safety concern addressed by this recommendation. The FAA has repeated what we stated in the letter issuing this recommendation: that typical PSU configurations with reading lights do not have pressurized oxygen systems in proximity to the light. The NTSB stated that a PSU reading light without rubber boot protection has the potential to short circuit, causing a spark that could ignite such combustible material as accumulated lint. Without checking any other airplanes, the FAA stated that the potential safety concern related to the reading lights was installation specific and limited to airplanes modified in accordance with STC ST01433SE. And, because aircraft modified in accordance with ST0l433SE have been inspected and corrected as needed, the FAA regards its action in response to this recommendation to be complete and plans no further action. The NTSB issued this recommendation because we regard the evidence that we found of a fire threat to constitute a sufficient basis for the recommended action. Because the FAA disagrees and plans no further action, however, Safety Recommendation A-09-52 is classified CLOSED—UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
Date: 7/13/2011
Response: CC# 201100278: - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: Typical configurations, which utilize reading lights, do not have pressurized oxygen systems in proximity. The potential safety concern related to the reading lights was installation specific and limited to airplanes modified from a passenger to freighter configuration in accordance with supplemental type certificate ST01433SE. Aircraft modified in accordance with ST01433SE have been inspected and corrected as needed. By design, the reading lights are intended to have a rubber boot installed over the back of the light to isolate the electrical connectors. However, the boots were not installed on the accident airplane. I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation, and I consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
Date: 7/9/2010
Response: The NTSB is pleased that the FAA has assembled an interdisciplinary team of technical specialists to address these safety issues and looks forward to reviewing the FAA's findings related to Safety Recommendations A-09-44 and A-09-46 through -53 and, more importantly, its plan for addressing the safety deficiencies identified in these recommendations. Pending the NTSB's review of this information, Safety Recommendations A-09-44 and A-09-46 through -53 are classified OPEN – ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
Date: 9/23/2009
Response: Letter Mail Controlled 10/5/2009 12:30:33 PM MC# 2090617 - From J. Randolph Babbitt, Administrator: To comprehensively address Safety Recommendations A-09-44, and A-09-46 through -53, the FAA has assembled a team of specialists from various technical disciplines to review the recommendations and assess the underlying safety issues. Following this review we will develop a plan to address each recommendation.