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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounded In US and EU

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  • by alen (225700) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:32PM (#42619953)

    not really, the bad news is out. grounding all aircraft is as bad as it gets. can only get better

    the 737 and lots of other planes have been grounded in the past. these are complex machines and its not a big deal to have initial problems

    i grew up in the 80's and planes used to crash all the time killing all or most of the people on board

  • by Some Bitch (645438) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:42PM (#42620065)

    the 737 and lots of other planes have been grounded in the past. these are complex machines and its not a big deal to have initial problems

    The last time the FAA grounded an entire commercial airframe was the DC10 in 1979, it is a very big deal. That said, I have no doubt Boeing will sort the problems and normal service will be resumed shortly.

  • by colfer (619105) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:44PM (#42620077)

    This plane uses a tremendous amount of electricity, see: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/01/boeing-787-electric-fire-grounding/ [wired.com]
    The li-ion batteries are from a company in Japan, but I wonder where they were manufactured. In the past, subcontractors outside Japan have done shoddy jobs making batteries, such as replacing mylar with paper. Once it's sealed up, how do you test it? Additionally, these batteries use cobolt oxide and are even more prone to overheating than tradition li-ion batteries. The batteries took a long time to certify.

    A notorious SwissAir crash over the Atlantic was due to an overheated electrical bus. In a rush to get gambling devices onto seat backs, the airline had gone with a system that required a full computer for each display, which required more power than a more centralized system.

  • Safe Batteries (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobcat7677 (561727) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:27PM (#42620495) Homepage
    It really seems silly to me that they chose to use a lithium ion battery with a cobalt cathode for use as a critical component of an airplane. They are not environmentally friendly, prone to fire, and don't last as long as some other technologies. They could have gone with a Lithium Iron battery and been much safer and require less maintenance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery [wikipedia.org] That would have only added about 18 pounds to the entire aircraft, certainly worth the greatly increased safety factor. Just goes to show that this plane was built to be a cheap as possible with only cursory regard to safety.
  • by servognome (738846) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:33PM (#42620535)
    Working as a process development engineer, I can't tell you how many times I've run into a problem in high volume that didn't show it's head in testing. There are only so many variables you can test, especially if you have constraints to your sample size. From my experience major failures are never a single variable, but rather, an interaction between different variables that don't show statistical significance until you get a big enough sample.
    15 years ago I worked putting together battery packs for small aircraft, and they were quite complicated, including heater elements and management electronics. I can only imagine how complex the systems are for something as large as a 787. The problem may not be with the actual battery, but the system which regulates the power.
  • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:36PM (#42620563) Journal

    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.

  • Re:Batteries (Score:3, Interesting)

    by WWJohnBrowningDo (2792397) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @06:05PM (#42620797)
    From Wikipedia: [wikipedia.org]

    Meaning 1: An original equipment manufacturer, or OEM, manufactures products or components that are purchased by another company and retailed under that purchasing company's brand name.[1] OEM refers to the company that originally manufactured the product.

    Meaning 2: The term OEM may also, somewhat counter-intuitively, refer to a company that purchases for use in its own products a component made by a second company.[3] Under this definition, if Apple purchases optical drives from Toshiba to put in its computers, Apple is the OEM, and Toshiba would classify the transaction as an "OEM sale".

    GP is using meaning #2 and you're using meaning #1; thus both of you are correct at the same time.

    Plenty of English words have this fucked up opposite meaning problem, to wit, terrific: "9/11 was terrific" vs "this pie is terrific".
  • by lemur3 (997863) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @06:10PM (#42620843)

    One of the more troubling things, in my opinion.. related to this were the actions of USA Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood..

    Only hours before the FAA issued its order [to ground the 787], Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood reiterated to reporters that he considers the plane safe and wouldnâ(TM)t hesitate to fly one. LaHood and FAA Administrator Michael Huerta unequivocally declared the plane safe at a news conference last week even while they ordered a safety review of the aircraft.

    So, in this guys opinion.. knowing what we all know.. he tells everyone is safe and he wouldnt hesitate to fly one?!

    On Jan. 7, it took firefighters 40 minutes to put out a blaze centered in an auxiliary power unit of a Japan Airlines 787 ..that doesnt sound like a perfectly save thing to me!

    I have to wonder why he sees the need to save face. I know Boeing plays a big part in our economy and that the govt needs to keep them appearing as a great company.....but shouldnt his job to be anything but misdirecting attention from the possible dangers here?!

    Why isnt he running the feet of boeing and the FAA over the coals instead of acting like the
      local cop saying NOTHING TO SEE HERE?!

    (source: http://business.time.com/2013/01/17/lithium-batteries-central-to-boeings-787-woes/ [time.com] )

  • Re:Safe Batteries (Score:5, Interesting)

    by plover (150551) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @06:37PM (#42621059) Homepage Journal

    None of this is "silly." 18 pounds of additional weight requires an additional gallon of fuel for every 40 hours of flight, perhaps 2,500 gallons of fuel over the lifetime of the aircraft. This would cost the plane's owner $12,500 in additional fuel costs (at a rate of $5.00 per gallon for jet-A.) If Boeing sells 1,000 planes, that's over a million dollars in extra fuel costs to their customers.

    Would I spend $1,000,000 to prevent a fire on an aircraft? Absolutely. Would I spend that $1,000,000 if I believed the planes were safe with the batteries that the battery engineering firm signed off on? Probably not.

    From a story in one of the above comments, a subcontractor's engineer working on the battery assembly was claiming it was unsafe and that his supervisor was pressuring him to sign off on the battery despite his concerns; when he failed to do so he was fired. We don't know if any of that information made it back to Boeing, but if it had, they probably would not have accepted the batteries from the supplier without further review.

"And do you think (fop that I am) that I could be the Scarlet Pumpernickel?" -- Looney Tunes, The Scarlet Pumpernickel (1950, Chuck Jones)

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