New Locks Installed For Boeing Reversers

A new locking device for thrust reversers on Boeing jetliners is being installed to help prevent accidental deployment of the reversers in flight.

A year ago this week, a Lauda Air Boeing 767 crashed after takeoff from Bangkok, Thailand, killing 223 passengers. No official cause for the crash has been determined, but investigators found that one of the reversers - devices to slow a plane on landing only - had deployed in flight.

A design review of thrust-reverser systems on all jets, including those manufactured by McDonnell Douglas and Airbus Industrie, was ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration after the Lauda crash. Additional design changes could be ordered later.

The new devices, called "sync locks" are designed for all Boeing twin-engine jets. They add a third lock to the system and already are being installed on 757s with Pratt & Whitney engines, and on some 767s powered by Rolls-Royce and General Electric engines.

FAA certification is pending for GE engines used on 757s, and others on 767s, and the CFM International power plants used on the three newer models of 737s, said Christopher Villiers, Boeing spokesman. Older 737s have different systems.

The new locking system also is being designed into new engines being considered for Boeing jets.

Besides creating a third locking system, the new locks are expected to simplify maintenance checks, Villiers said.