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United Airlines grounds 96 planes


United Airlines has temporarily grounded 96 of its Boeing 757 aircraft

United Airlines has temporarily grounded 96 of its Boeing 757 aircraft

United Airlines has temporarily grounded 96 of its Boeing 757 aircraft

Ninety-six United Airlines aircraft have been grounded temporarily while the US carrier carries out maintenance checks that were not completed.

The grounding has caused at least 15 flights to be cancelled and an unspecified number of delays.

The maintenance checks take 60 to 90 minutes. The issue could affect United's schedule throughout Wednesday.

United Continental Holdings spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said United grounded the Boeing 757 aircraft because the carrier determined that it had not completed operational checks after updating air data computers following a 2004 federal directive.

An Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) spokeswoman said United's move was voluntary and affected its Boeing 757 fleet only. She said Continental's fleet of 62 757s were not grounded.

United and Continental merged last year to create the world's largest airline, but they will continue to operate separately under the parent holding company until they receive a single operating certificate from the FAA, which they expect to receive by the end of the year.

The airworthiness directive required a modification of the air data computer system on certain Boeing aircraft.

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It involved installing new circuit breakers, relays, and related components, and making various wiring changes in and between the flight deck and main equipment centre.

According to the published directive, the actions were necessary to ensure that the flight crew was able to silence an erroneous overspeed or stall warning.

A persistent erroneous warning could confuse and distract the crew and lead to an increase in its workload. Such a situation could lead the crew to act on hazardously misleading information, which could result in loss of control of the plane, according to the directive.

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