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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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  • Batteries (Score:5, Funny)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:13PM (#42619773)

    How embarassing for Boeing to have a $200M plane grounded because of a battery problem. They should have bought quality OEM batteries instead of going for the cheap Chinese imports on EBay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      One word: "Plastic".
      -- The Graduate

    • by alexander_686 (957440) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:23PM (#42619871)

      I know you are trying to be funny, but you are just showing that you are ignorant racist. Try not to be both at the same time. The batteries are Japanese.

      Young Doc: No wonder this circuit failed. It says "Made in Japan".
      Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
      Young Doc: Unbelievable.

      • Re: (Score:2, Offtopic)

        by hawguy (1600213)

        I know you are trying to be funny, but you are just showing that you are ignorant racist. Try not to be both at the same time. The batteries are Japanese.

        Young Doc: No wonder this circuit failed. It says "Made in Japan".
        Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
        Young Doc: Unbelievable.

        You didn't even point out the most glaring problem with my post -- the fact that Boeing *is* the OEM, so no matter what batteries they used, they are OEM batteries.

        • Boeing is the OEM of the plane, (The plane! The plane!) not the batteries, any more than they are the OEM of the tires, or the switches in the cockpit, or a million other components.
          • by Zcar (756484)

            Which mean, by definition, any parts Boeing puts in it as original equipment are OEM parts.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            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 Tosh
      • Re:Batteries (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:54PM (#42620157)

        I know you are trying to be funny, but you are just showing that you are ignorant racist.

        Ignorant yes; racist we don't have much evidence for. Nobody makes jokes about cheap Taiwanese batteries even though Taiwan is largely ethnically Chinese. By the time Japan had recovered to the level that China is at today it already had a reputation for quality. The reason is simple. Taiwan is a democracy with proper freedom of speech and so the quality of things made there has gone up massively. Japan mostly the same. If someone tried things like they get away with in China then someone would speak up. Things like the crap that goes on in China - deadly chemicals in baby milk - failing to buy properly made signalling equipment from Siemens to save a few euros and then trying to bury a train full of dead people - would never go on if Chinese people in China had control of their own destiny instead of a bunch of party plutocrats.

        The racists are the people who say things like "democracy isn't suitable for China".

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by AK Marc (707885)

          The racists are the people who say things like "democracy isn't suitable for China".

          It isn't. But then it isn't suitable for the US either. The US was set up as a non-democratic republic, with voting. You vote on people who vote on people, who vote on laws. With the information age, there's no reason we couldn't vote on laws directly. We vote on electors, the electors vote on President. We don't vote for president because our vote is not one-man one-vote. Chinese people believe that professional politicians are better suited for making decisions. They are paid to have the high-leve

          • Re:Batteries (Score:4, Insightful)

            by phantomfive (622387) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:01PM (#42620775) Journal

            Giving the guy in the neighborhood that's torn down for the Olympic Village a vote on whether to do it is inappropriate

            Given the greater stake he has in the issue, he most definitely should have a vote.

            Chinese people believe that professional politicians are better suited for making decisions

            By professional politicians, you mean the 'princelings' who got their positions because of who their parents are?

            In western history and philosophy, a lot of time and thought went into determining how to get the best people into positions of power so as to best benefit the state. After thousands of years of experience, democracy is the most effective way we've found to avoid the worst excesses of dictatorships, and at the same time it provides ok governance in general. This is so true that most countries have switched to some kind of democracy, and even a lot of the remaining dictatorships make an effort to pretend to be democratic.

          • 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.

    • 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).

      • by hawguy (1600213) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:38PM (#42620011)

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

        But they still bought them on eBay, right?

      • by JWW (79176)

        sourced by a French company (Alcatel/Thales).

        There's your problem. I was burdened with working with Alcatel equipment in the past. Pure utter garbage.

        • 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 Anachragnome (1008495) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:55PM (#42621177)

        " The batteries are Japanese (Yuasa) in origin, sourced by a French company (Alcatel/Thales)."

        Yuasa has been around the block--they've been making batteries for many years.

        I used to have a Kawasaki KT 120 trail-bike that had a Yuasa battery in it--the original that came with the bike-- and that bike had suffered no less then half a dozen complete submersions, had the head warped several times from numerous creeks crossings at high speed, been subjected to insane G-forces (being tossed end over end down hills in failed hill-climb attempts) and lived it's entire life exposed to sea-salt, including beach rides.

        The only thing I ever had to do to the Yuasa battery in it was add some acid once.

        Just sayin'.

    • 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.

      • Re:Batteries (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dinghy (2233934) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:27PM (#42620497)

        How Boeing talked the FAA into allowing this on the plane (in multiple locations) is beyond me.

        $$$$$

      • by SmallFurryCreature (593017) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:36PM (#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: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by h4rr4r (612664)

          How about you list some flight numbers or model numbers for such a claim.

        • 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.

          • The aircraft could have been safer with conventional doors. Other aircraft were economical with conventional doors. People died because Boeing wanted to cut costs and then was sloppy with it.

            And it seems they did it again. Everyone knows these batteries are risky but to save a bit of weight, Boeing went for them regardless AND just a tiny bit into production, it becomes clear they did NOT engineer it correctly. Or test it for that matter. This ain't software "engineering" in real world engineering you eith

        • by timmyf2371 (586051) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:06PM (#42620805)
          Are you sure the cargo door issue wasn't with the DC-10 [wikipedia.org]?
        • by khallow (566160)
          And is there any measure of safety that backs up your claims? Last I heard, modern commercial jets, including Boeing's, were excessively safe [wikipedia.org] as measured by deaths per passenger mile with about an order of magnitude lower than the next two competitors, buses and trains.

          I don't know the relative safety of Boeing compared to other developed world jet makers, but it can't be much worse than the norm (just due to how many Boeing jets are flying out there) and not throw the statistics.

          Now having said that,
        • 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.

      • by afidel (530433)

        I wonder why they didn't go with LiFePO4 batteries, much less likely to combust and the ~20% lower volume density wouldn't have been that big a deal (and of course the price difference is a non-issue on something the cost of an airliner)

        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          Price is a big issue on an airliner. They already cost so much letting anything slip would be bad.

          The FAA is very slow moving, maybe they held it up. Maybe the batteries were not available when they planned this airplane years ago. Heck, maybe Boeing is getting kickbacks, who knows.

        • by ballpoint (192660)

          Because the late A123 didn't want to sell to Boeing unless they committed to buying a million units.

    • by synapse7 (1075571)
      I fee their pain, I recently had a lithium iron phosphate battery go bad on me after only minimal use and keeping within voltage tolerances.
  • 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¦

  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:16PM (#42619787)

    Sure, EADS's shares are up, and since their major competitor Boeing had bad news today, perhaps we can speculate that "EADS shares up on bad news for rival Boeing", as finance journalists like to speculate. But you know who else's shares went up today? Boeing's. The stock market is weird, and a lot of factors go into price movements.

    • by alen (225700) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:32PM (#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 anss123 (985305) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:32PM (#42619955)
      I had the same thought. Airliners aren't suddenly going to order A350s. They know the 787 problem will be worked out and new purchases are done years in advanced.
      • I had the same thought. Airliners aren't suddenly going to order A350s. They know the 787 problem will be worked out and new purchases are done years in advanced.

        I think the challenge for Boeing will be when the next generation arrives, there may be slightly more reluctance to commit to purchases early in the lifecycle based on the experience of this airframe.

        • by rabbit994 (686936)

          All new aircraft have issues. A380 discovered cracks in the wings and engine problem when it first came out. Just like software, you try and test but some stuff is just not detected until it's deployed into the real world.

          • by mjwx (966435)

            All new aircraft have issues. A380 discovered cracks in the wings and engine problem when it first came out. Just like software, you try and test but some stuff is just not detected until it's deployed into the real world.

            This,

            Although the Trent 900 issue would be a better example.

            People are just blowing it out of proportion due to a perceived rivalry between Airbus and Boeing. Butthurt fanboys on both sides just looking to bash the other. They're as bad as apple/google fanboys (or holden/ford in Australia) and often make just as little sense. I'm surprised I haven't heard "Scarebus" mentioned yet, I've heard Screamliner a few times.

            Every single model of aircraft has a list of shit that LAME's (Licensed Aircraft Mai

    • Boeing shares are up too (1.24%) as of 15:34 Eastern time.

  • ...more of a shareholder nightmare.
    • There are a lot of "revolutionary" technology being used on this aircraft, many news techniques and materials that will play big roles in future commercial jets. So is this a design issue or a management issue?

      • by boundary (1226600)
        Could very well be either, or both, or one being caused by the other. Whatever the case, they're going to be scaring the horses.
      • they outsourced building some of parts used to make the 787

        • by boundary (1226600)
          That's as maybe, but outsourcing doesn't abrogate the responsibility of the client to check performance.
        • They always outsource building some of the parts - in-fact, more than 30% of the Boeing 777 is sourced from outside the US, so its nothing new.

          As I said in the last thread - there are no circumstances under which Boeing would have built these batteries, their chargers, their containers or the mounting brackets. They are bought in for every aircraft built by Boeing or Airbus.

          • by boundary (1226600)
            No doubt. I wonder how often (if ever) they check the reliability of the components they outsource. Perhaps, as is common, they just trust the manufacturer's published test results and treat any problem as a contractual one.
  • "If it ain't Boeing, it's still going!"

  • 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...

    • 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!

      • The worrying part of the "thermal issues" is not how the battery containment box looks, it's that (according to some reports) electrolyte got splashed outside of the box.

  • missteps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bloodhawk (813939) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:41PM (#42620055)
    The A380's had quite a few missteps when they first went into service as well. Both are very new designs with a lot of new tech, sadly I am sure eventually one of them will be a fatal misstep, still won't stop me flying on them, I get an an A380 for a 17 hour flight in 2 days. I don't think I would be any less comfortable if it was a Dreamliner.
  • by colfer (619105) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @03:44PM (#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.

    • by Thud457 (234763) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:33PM (#42620539) Homepage Journal
      These batteries are a new formula? Maybe this is the revenge of the capacitor plague [wikipedia.org]

      Once it's sealed up, how do you test it?

      You could always do, you know, random sampling when accepting delivery from subcontractors. Take a few batteries, rip them open and verify they're what they're supposed to be. I'm sure a big company like Boeing working on such a large project would have a whole department of people who do nothing but testing.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Once it's sealed up, how do you test it?

      X-Rays and/or ultrasound. Both are used routinely to examine aircraft for microscopic or unseen cracks.

  • Japan grounded all of its Dreamliners a day earlier than America or the EU, and yet they aren't mentioned in the headline? There are 24 Dreamliners in service in Japan, more than in any other country. You'd think they'd get some credit for having their air safety experts raise the alarm while the US was still "confident in the safety of the aircraft.

    • by tirerim (1108567)
      They raised the alarm first because the aircraft that had to make an emergency landing was in Japan -- it has nothing to do with their air safety experts being better, just with them getting the first news of the problem.
    • 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 dstyle5 (702493) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:01PM (#42620225)
    From the link: http://slashdot.org/topic/bi/the-787-dreamliner-scenario-how-data-can-solve-epic-messes/ [slashdot.org]

    "That’s supremely bad news for Boeing, which poured millions of dollars into the 787’s development."

    No wonder its having issues. Or maybe Dr. Evil wrote this article?
  • Remember the Ford Pinto? This might be something fixable, but if it gets a reputation...

  • Safe Batteries (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bobcat7677 (561727) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @04:27PM (#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.
    • Yes, they poured tens of millions of dollars into R&D for composites and advanced avionics systems in order to produce the cheapest aircraft possible.

      If they're going for cheap, they could just make more 777s. Those bad boys are cheap and super safe.

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

      by plover (150551) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:37PM (#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.

      • by segedunum (883035)

        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.

        I'm afraid it's too late for that now. The work required to make this plane safe will utterly negate any savings airlines were hoping to make and render the plane totally redundant, even with carbon composite usage.

      • Except Boeing would not be paying that fuel cost. It's customers would. And when you figure the per passenger flight hour rate of the extra fuel for that, it's about $0.0005. Yes, thats 5 100ths of a penny added to the ticket price of a passenger making a 1 hour flight. There is cutting corners and then there is cutting corners. The main batteries of a fly-by-wire plane is not the place to be cutting corners like this. It costs them more to carry the trash you make during the flight then it would to
        • Re:Safe Batteries (Score:4, Insightful)

          by DerekLyons (302214) <fairwater&gmail,com> on Thursday January 17, 2013 @08:37PM (#42622315) Homepage

          Except Boeing would not be paying that fuel cost. It's customers would.

          Yep. And the customers are very, very sensitive to lifetime fuel costs and very, very serious about reducing them. Fuel is an airlines number one non labor cost, so any saving translates directly to the bottom line.
           

          when you figure the per passenger flight hour rate of the extra fuel for that, it's about $0.0005.

          Which certainly sounds like a small number... until you multiply it by the number of passengers on an average plane, the number of flight hours per plane per day, and the number of planes in the fleet. It adds up pretty fast. There's a reason why the pocket on the back of the seat in front of you is no longer stuffed with free magazines. Cutting a pound here, cutting a pound there, it adds up to a huge sum considered on an annual basis across an entire airline. (Seriously Slashdot, you may be good at math, but you suck at accounting.)

  • For a more stable unit. I understand that it'll add about 20 pounds. Just carry one less piece of luggage, and you can use the heavier batteries. I'm not quite sure what these batteries are for... Does this aircraft not have an APU?

    I find that difficult to believe, so I can only assume these batteries are for some piece of redundancy, like continuing to power the black boxes in case of total power failure. Sounds like a simple and fairly inexpensive replacement (as opposed to installing an all new wiring ha

    • by Miamicanes (730264) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @06:11PM (#42621275)

      > Does this aircraft not have an APU?

      Does it matter? If it has an APU, it would STILL need battery backup. Modern jets can't fly without electricity to power their computers. If you make the jet's ability to fly dependent upon a functioning APU, someday a failed APU will cause a crash. And even if it has redundant APUs, batteries are so cheap relative to the cost of a crash due to total power loss, Boeing would have had to be completely INSANE to make a plane without battery backup power.

    • by sunking2 (521698)
      The batteries are used primarily to start the APUs. They are required because unlike just about any other commercial aircraft the APUs are actually needed in flight. This is how they can come up with the engine efficiency claims as they don't use bleed air from them for power, they always use the APUs. So in the event of an in flight restart having to happen you need the batteries.
  • by lemur3 (997863) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:10PM (#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] )

    • by rubycodez (864176)

      almost all senators are in the pockets of large corporations, and moreover hold stock in them. Aerospace/"Defense" being a big handler of them. Other places in the world would call this "corruption".

  • by PPH (736903) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @05:29PM (#42620995)

    When they got into trouble, they could eject the warp core.

  • From now on, travelers will have to leave anything that uses a battery at home. And you now need to remove your underwear as well as your shoes. Especially for attractive female passengers.

  • by RubberDogBone (851604) on Thursday January 17, 2013 @06:29PM (#42621441)

    This plane may be perfectly fine and just having teething problems as Boeing says, but it's made me wary and perhaps even angry since before it launched because the 787 was winning awards and accolades for being revolutionary and new and blah blah blah well before it had taken even a taxi test.

    My feeling it, let the model prove itself first and then worry about awards. The 747 has proven itself. The 737. Even the 757 and 767 although nobody much cares about those two dullards. But let the 787 EARN its place and prove it is the real deal and then paste on the praise.

    They didn't do that. They went 150% hype and probably bragged a lot when they should have been humble and wow what a surprise everybody notices when the hype-machine has problems that might otherwise go without much notice.

    In other words, they hyped the hell out of it and golly if they didn't get hype for the errors and issues too. Sometimes it's better to stay out of the spotlight, but that tends to be easier to do when the whole company isn't riding on ONE model. Geez, Boeing.

    To be fair, the same hype crap happens at the Detroit car show where they award "Car of the year" to a new model that hasn't actually gone on sale yet, hasn't proved it's something people want to buy or is reliable or even notable in any actual real-world way. I think the Volt got the award one such year. And wow was THAT a hot seller! Just flying off the shelves! Or not. It may make for nice headlines but it means jack shit when the vehicle has never sold copy-one to anybody.

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