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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounded In US and EU 301

Posted by timothy
from the michael-crichton-did-it dept.
Some Bitch writes "Following previous stories that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was to review the safety of the Boeing 787 and that Japan had already grounded their fleet, the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive which has been endorsed around the world with the fleets of all eight airlines flying the 787 now grounded. EADS (the parent company of Airbus) shares were up 3.9% at close of business." General Electric's call for more sifting of more data from more sensors might have some resonance right now within Boeing.
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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounded In US and EU

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  • by Frosty Piss (770223) * on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:14PM (#42619777)

    The battery issue is front and center as it should be - if you have seen images of the melted battery it's pretty scary. But there are OTHER issues as well, from leaky fuel lines to bubbles and delam issues in the compositesâ¦

  • Re:Batteries (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alex Zepeda (10955) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:33PM (#42619967)

    How does this get modded up? The batteries are Japanese (Yuasa) in origin, sourced by a French company (Alcatel/Thales).

  • Boeing Battery pic (Score:5, Informative)

    by Crash McBang (551190) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:38PM (#42620009)

    See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/15/uk-boeing-dreamliner-ntsb-idUSLNE90E00Y20130115 [reuters.com]

    This looks bad.

    I hope Boeing can [manage|subcontract] themselves out of this before they go broke...

  • Re:Batteries (Score:5, Informative)

    by icebike (68054) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:59PM (#42620217)

    The problem isn't even conclusively in the batteries themselves. It may be the chargers used, the thermal cutoff, or simply overloading.

    Some reports in the press [king5.com] suggest that the batteries are being recharged way too fast:

    An inspection of the All Nippon Airways 787 that made an emergency landing in western Japan found that electrolytes, a flammable battery fluid, had leaked from the plane's main lithium-ion battery. Investigators found burn marks around the damage. ... The two incidents resulted in the release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage and smoke, the FAA confirmed. The release of battery fluid is especially concerning, safety experts said.

    Once the electrolyte (which includes the lithium) catches fire it is very hard to put out. Boeing, knowing this provided special containment [ap.org] for these batteries, which has kept the fires from doing much besides destroying the battery (so far). However the risks are very real that this will be insufficient.

    Large size Lithium batteries (over 8 to 25 grams of lithium) are not even allowed on aircraft as baggage or carry on, due to the propensity to burn when shorted or punctured, but some how Boeing talked the FAA into certifying this plane with these batteries to save a weight. Bad enough that these batteries are prone to catch fire when shorted, but Lithium fires are almost impossible to put out with the fire suppression systems found on planes [faa.gov] (page 9). How Boeing talked the FAA into allowing this on the plane (in multiple locations) is beyond me.

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:10PM (#42620315)

    The Boeing 737 Classic series (737-300, -4-00 and -500) was grounded for a period of time in 1989 after the Kegworth crash - no, its not an "entire commercial airframe", because it didn't cover the earlier 737-100 and -200, but the airframes are so different that it could be considered such.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:16PM (#42620385)

    http://www.nycaviation.com/2013/01/ntsb-shows-off-burnt-boeing-787-battery/

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:17PM (#42620389)

    It does indeed *look* bad, until you know what you should be looking for - the exterior of the box is largely unburned, and the strap is intact with no signs of burning, so the box did its job in containing the fire. The lid was removed by the fire personnel, using a tool which caused the dent in the left hand side, and the box was thrown from the aircraft.

    The charring on the front of the box was caused by the connecting mechanism on the front arcing, and not the main fire itself.

    So all in all, yes it looks bad, but in actuality the box did its job!

  • Re:Japan? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:19PM (#42620407)

    The Japanese grounding was not an aviation authority move, it was individual airlines taking the prudent step on their own and has happened several times for several different aircraft types (after the A380 engine failure, several airlines took their aircraft out of use for checks) - the big news here is that the FAA took a very big step in issuing a grounding order, its not one that happens often.

  • by dragonhunter21 (1815102) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:36PM (#42620561) Journal

    That's a bit different. Even then, the DC-10 was very, very popular, and the method of grounding was very different. For the DC-10, they yanked the type certificate- it effectively became illegal to fly that aircraft. For the 787, it's a new aircraft, fairly experimental, and as for the grounding, it's an AD temporarily halting operations. Not quite as severe as revoking the type cert.

  • Re:Batteries (Score:4, Informative)

    by Alex Zepeda (10955) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:39PM (#42620589)

    Sure.

    Alcatel/Thales wrote the train control software for the San Francisco Municipal Railway (SF had to sue Thales to get their shit working even half-way decently), the in-flight entertainment for some (all?) of Air Canada's planes the last time I flew them (the whole system had to be rebooted repeatedly), and they designed the chipsets for the early popular DSL modems. I can't say I've got fond memories of any of these products.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:40PM (#42620595)

    We are now blaming manufacturers for user error?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_296 [wikipedia.org]

    Pilot error, unless you are a conspiracy nutter.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:55PM (#42620725)

    As everyone should know, modern airliners are pressurized. Now it is generally considered a BAD idea if it was to depressurize in midflight by say a window or door blowing out. How do you make it hard for this to happen? Well, you make the door open to the INSIDE, so that when locked and the airplane is under pressure, the pressure will press the door INTO the frame, making it impossible to blow out. This is why airline doors open INTO the aircraft and NOT out.

    Basic stuff right? Only a company with no care for safety would change it.

    Well boeing did it, so they could shove more cargo in it.

    But surely then they would build the door really really well and have it tested really really well?

    no... they did not and a LOT of people died when the door inenvitably did blow out and brought down the airplane.

    Boeing has ALWAYS taken shortcuts and never given a shit about the risk and the FAA has always let them get away with it. Read up on the cargo door, it took a second incident for Boeing to be told to fix it BUT it was allowed to keep the outside opening door despite it being an obvious weak area.

    You have to remember that in airliners, the interests are so gigantic that there is gigantic pressure on the engineers to find shortcuts and for those who are charged to oversee safety to look away so that their nations industry isn't hampered.

    There are thousands of engineering decisions in any plane that come down to a tradeoff between cost, performance, and safety. It wasn't just the "non-plug" door that caused the accident, but an electrical problem and faulty latch combined with the door design allowed the door to blow off. [wikipedia.org]

    What good is a much safer aircraft if no one can afford to fly in it because it's so expensive to purchase and operate? There's nothing wrong with designing the aircraft to allow more cargo (thus lowering operating expenses), as long as risks are mitigated in other parts of the design - the 747 is one of the safest aircraft in the world, despite the design of the cargo door.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:14PM (#42620879)

    Um, you got just about everything wrong in your diatribe.

    The bad door was on DC-10's. It was a cargo door, so it had to open outwards.

    They did have a very bad design for the latch and for the backup safety vent, and a too small inspection port,
    and falsified inspection records,
    but you can also lay some blame to the Turkish Airlines mechanics who used unauthorized shims to adjust the parts.

    So not Boeing.

  • by lloydchristmas759 (1105487) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:18PM (#42620911)
    I think you are referring to McDonnell Douglas, not Boeing, regarding the cargo door of the DC-10 [wikipedia.org].

    American Airlines Flight 96 [wikipedia.org]

    Turkish Airlines Flight 981 [wikipedia.org]
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:26PM (#42620977)

    Flight number: United Airlines Flight 811
    Models: Tyra, Giselle, Chanel Iman

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_811

  • Re:Batteries (Score:2, Informative)

    by ksdd (634242) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:50PM (#42621145)

    An inspection of the All Nippon Airways 787 that made an emergency landing in western Japan found that electrolytes, a flammable battery fluid, had leaked from the plane's main lithium-ion battery.

    But it's what plants crave.

  • Re:Batteries (Score:5, Informative)

    by DragonWriter (970822) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @06:14PM (#42621313)

    The US was set up as a non-democratic republic, with voting.

    The US was not set up as "a non-democratic republic, with voting". It was set up as a system which is both a representative democracy and a federal republic.

  • by cdrudge (68377) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @08:31PM (#42622267) Homepage

    As everyone should know, modern airliners are pressurized. Now it is generally considered a BAD idea if it was to depressurize in midflight by say a window or door blowing out. How do you make it hard for this to happen? Well, you make the door open to the INSIDE, so that when locked and the airplane is under pressure, the pressure will press the door INTO the frame, making it impossible to blow out. This is why airline doors open INTO the aircraft and NOT out.

    Basic stuff right? Only a company with no care for safety would change it.

    Well boeing did it, so they could shove more cargo in it.

    AirBus A330 and A380 both have outward opening doors. CRJ700 does too. From pictures I've seen, it looks like at least some MD-80, DC-8 and DC-10 did well.

    Apparently it's not that stupid of an idea to change it.

  • Re:Safe Batteries (Score:2, Informative)

    by wiredlogic (135348) on Friday January 18, 2013 @01:05AM (#42623331)

    There's more than 18 pounds of variation between flights of the typical passenger and luggage payload. The hand wringing over long term fuel costs from a slightly heavier battery is nonsense. If micromanaged weight savings is so important then have the stewardesses remove their clothes before boarding.

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