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Dreamliners inspected after reports of fuel leaks

Passengers get ready board ANA's 787 Dreamliner Tokyo-NaritAirport. ANA is one 56 airlines thput orders for Boeing's new plane. |

Passengers get ready to board ANA's 787 Dreamliner at Tokyo-Narita Airport. ANA is one of 56 airlines that put in orders for Boeing's new plane. | Lori Rackl~Sun-Times

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Updated: January 7, 2013 7:17AM

Following reports of two fuel leaks on Boeing 787 Dreamliners operated by foreign airlines, the FAA has directed the Chicago-based company to inspect all 787s.

The inspection order is unrelated to the mechanical problem on a United 787 flying from Houston to Newark, N.J., that caused it to make an emergency landing in New Orleans. One of the jet’s six electric generators failed, according to United Airlines.

“The redundancies built into the aircraft allowed it to be powered by the remaining five electric power sources,” United spokeswoman Christen David said. “We are replacing the generator and running additional checks so as to return the aircraft to service.”

Boeing did not return calls to comment on either issue.

Chicago-based United Airlines is the only U.S. carrier flying 787s, and it flies three of the mid-size, wide-body jets. Another 33 are flown buy foreign airlines, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The inspection of United’s 787s already have been completed, United said.

The order comes after some planes in service suffered fuel leaks, and “the later discovery of improperly assembled fuel couplings,” the FAA said.

The fuel leaks, according to the FAA, resulted from improper assembly of the couplings. The 787 has one rigid coupling and one flexible coupling per engine for a total of four couplings per plane.

The directive requires Boeing to inspect fuel line couplings in the engine pylons and check that lock wires were assembled correctly.

The first of United’s 787 Dreamliner made its debut Nov. 4 with a flight from Houston to Chicago. The extremely fuel efficient plane is the first mid-size capable of flying large-jet distances.

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