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Boeing Dreamliner Catches Fire In Boston 151

Posted by timothy
from the but-it's-not-even-warm-in-boston dept.
19061969 writes "The BBC reports that a Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire in Boston. Carter Leake, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets in Virginia, said, 'I don't want to be an alarmist, but onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets.' This represents bad news for Boeing especially after the FAA identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings in the Dreamliner."
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Boeing Dreamliner Catches Fire In Boston

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  • Re:Titanic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by webmistressrachel (903577) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:22AM (#42517845) Journal

    | "onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets"

    Hmm... I'm sure a missing wing, or rapid loss of pressure due to a collision, or massive power failure, or lots of other things could be a lot worse than a battery fire.

    Am I correct in assuming TFA doesn't know what on earth (or off it) they're on about?

  • Re:Titanic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SomePgmr (2021234) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:29AM (#42517959) Homepage
    Yeah I'd say, "The airline said that no passengers or crew members were hurt as they had already disembarked." puts the kibosh on "as bad as it gets [on airplanes]".
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:30AM (#42517971)

    Citing a thing like "FAA identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings in the Dreamliner." when the actual fire, according to this morning's Boston Globe, was "[a] Small electrical fire..."

    The article continues with " indication of smoke...", "...cleaners ...smelled smoke, notifying a mechanic...", and "...mechanic ... traced the smoke to a unit that powers the plain when it is on the ground with the engines off, but was unable to extinguish it."

  • by YrWrstNtmr (564987) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:38AM (#42518083)
    ...but I have thrown out a NiCad that was swelling and smelling. Yes, I mean thrown out, from 35,000 ft, somewhere over the North Atlantic. Glad we had a door that opened in.

    Uh huh. Sure you did.
  • Re:Titanic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:40AM (#42518125)

    Actually, they are as bad as it gets. Wing off, you die. Cabin fire, you suffer while knowing you're going to die. There is a distinct difference. Listened to the tapes; they still haunt me.

  • by Rich0 (548339) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:44AM (#42518169) Homepage

    If leaving an APU turned on causes a catastrophic loss of the aircraft, then there is a design flaw.

    However, I don't see how leaving one on should cause a battery to overheat. The batteries should be on circuits that limit currents appropriately, whether charging or discharging. This is an aircraft - not a plastic toy.

  • Re:With one fire (Score:4, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:51AM (#42518275)

    The dreamliner turns into a nightmare. Film at 11.

    The Dreamliner is one of the most sophisticated planes ever created. It's going to have problems. I don't think it's a "nightmare", as the FAA fully qualified it for flight. These are the kinds of problems you can only find when it's in production.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @10:53AM (#42518309)

    The aircraft wasn't departing, it had just arrived and the passengers and crew had deplaned.

    Also, no certified crew on a commercial carrier leaves the APU running after its needed - it takes up substantially more than a "tiny fraction of fuel" and leaving it on for even a short haul flight can cost the operator thousands of dollars in extra fuel costs for just that one flight.

    Here's a more educated guess: faulty battery underwent thermal runaway and caught fire, causing a minor explosion and a heck of a lot of smoke.

  • Re:Titanic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LeadSongDog (1120683) on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @12:27PM (#42519679)
    Stop, you're both wrong.
    1. This is not, by definition, an aviation accident: even the crew had deplaned.
    2. Many parked aircraft have lost wings without crashing: all it takes is wind passing over the tarmac on the wrong vector.
    3. A fire, even in flight, doesn't have to be the end of the world if the systems design detects the fire and limits its ability to spread. This was the principal lesson-learned from SR111, which has since changed material approvals for aircraft. SA295 was never adequately explained, so teaches us little, but evidently the firefighting routines were not followed. VJ592 was caused by illegally carried hazmat (oxygen generators) in the cabin. AC797 had many similarities to SR111 (insulation burning spread the fire), but the lessons learned were not applied to designs in time to prevent SR111. I'd blame the FAA's inaction on NTSB recommendations.
  • Re:With one fire (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <> on Tuesday January 08, 2013 @01:04PM (#42520305)

    It would seem you have a selective memory about the reliability, economy and safety of older vehicles :)

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?