By AP Airlines Writer
updated 3/16/2010 7:57:09 PM ET 2010-03-16T23:57:09

The Federal Aviation Administration wants new software installed on Boeing 777s to prevent crews from inadvertently engaging the autopilot before takeoff.

  1. Don't miss these Travel stories
    1. Lords of the gourd compete for Punkin Chunkin honors

      With teams using more than 100 unique apparatuses to launch globular projectiles a half-mile or more, the 27th annual World Championship Punkin Chunkin event is our pick as November’s Weird Festival of the Month.

    2. Airports, airlines work hard to return your lost items
    3. Expert: Tourist hordes threaten Sistine Chapel's art
    4. MGM Grand wants Las Vegas guests to Stay Well
    5. Report: Airlines collecting $36.1B in fees this year

The problem can result in a high-speed rejected, or aborted, takeoff and increase the chance of a runway overrun.

Boeing says the problem is rare — just nine reported instances of a rejected takeoff because of inadvertent engagement of the autopilot during the 777's 15-year service history. Two incidents occurred in January. There have been no runway overruns or injuries associated with the issue.

The airworthiness directive is to be published in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The rule, which applies to certain model 777-200, 777-200LR, 777-300, 777-300ER and 777F series airplanes, takes effect 15 days later.

The 777 is a long-range, wide-body aircraft that seats over 300 passengers. One configuration allows for seating up to 440 passengers.

Boeing Co., which is based in Chicago, has delivered 254 777s to U.S. carriers through February. Excluding leasing companies, 147 of the airplanes are operated by U.S. carriers, according to Boeing.

Delta Air Lines, the world's biggest carrier, lists on its Web site that as of Sept. 30, 2009, it owned eight Boeing 777-200ERs and eight 777-200LRs. American Airlines says on its Web site that as of May 2009 it had 47 Boeing 777s. United Airlines says on its Web site that it had 52 Boeing 777-200s in its mainline fleet as of the end of 2009.

Boeing said it supports the FAA's directive. The company said the directive essentially mandates the service bulletin it issued to 777 operators on Jan. 22.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments