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Ethiopean 787 fire at Heathrow

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Ethiopean 787 fire at Heathrow

Old 18th Jul 2013, 16:52
  #441 (permalink)  
 
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The requirement for a remote switch in the cockpit on all new installations has been around in the US for 10+ years. All aircraft all installations.

Last edited by LASJayhawk; 18th Jul 2013 at 16:53.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 16:58
  #442 (permalink)  
 
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ELT - a good idea in any and all aircraft

It is self contained and there to help SAR teams get to you in the event of a crash. Of course you are right in that most all commercial operators have satellite tracking regardless of control zone type. What if aircraft power is lost suddenly or standard communication equipment fails? Or what about a sudden event where the crew could not get out a distress call?

Modern 406 ELTs transmit exact position for an extended period of time. Very useful if one ever had to ditch and was floating around in the sea. Also useful regardless because the ELT will outlast any other electrical communications after an event.

Bottom line: one faulty ELT is hardly cause to discuss getting rid of them all together on scheduled airliners.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 16:58
  #443 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder if Boeing EE's are tracing the route of electrons from the ground power receptacle throughout the aircraft to see how current could leak into the ELT circuit. Let us suppose that they find something that allows a stray voltage to wander here or there. Hmmm.

Other than putting all ELT's in the bin, as some Aussies seem to suggest, maybe one could return the ELT to the condition of entirely isolated from all of the aircraft elecrical systems. This would lead to a pre flight test where a CC or maintenance crew accesses the ELT test switch, and either confirms the light or the flight deck crew are listening up on the ELT's freq and confirm via intercom good test or bad.

Yes, it's a crew coordination drill, but you don't need an ELT unless you are intending to fly in the first place. You always fly as a crew. It may also be in the too hard category, in terms of getting access to a test switch from inside the cabin.

Just thinking aloud here ...
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 16:59
  #444 (permalink)  
 
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Suggesting that these things are switched off rather than removed, suggests that there may be a problem with their operation rather than their manufacture or installation.

Can they know that by now?
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:02
  #445 (permalink)  
 
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SOS:
I can only imagine that if the beacon is the cause of the fire, it somehow suffered some mechanical damage either inflight or during manufacture and installation.
This could point to environment as well, is the 787 ELT subject to deeper temperature cycles due to it's location compared to other aircraft?

The larger the temperature swing the more mechanical stress there is.

Wonder how hot the unit gets when parked in the sun in Africa?
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:15
  #446 (permalink)  
 
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Suggesting that these things are switched off rather than removed, suggests that there may be a problem with their operation rather than their manufacture or installation.
The Bulletin doesn't recommend just turning the unit off, it recommends making it inert. Big difference.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:15
  #447 (permalink)  
DWS
 
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here is a report

http://www.aaib.gov.uk/cms_resources...3%20ET-AOP.pdf
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:19
  #448 (permalink)  
 
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My reading of the AAIB safety recommendations is that it is only the fixed ELT that is required to be switched off and NOT the portable devices or those attached to life rafts.

Could that be because they are different units or because they are not located in close proximity to a composite structure and are difficult to access in flight?

I take some poster's points about a crew in flight having a time advantage over the ground firefighting crews when tackling the fire. But reading about the firefighting efforts in the report, I doubt it would be easy for crew members to do this in flight given that the firefighters had to hack away at ceiling panels to tackle the fire with water after failing to control it with halon extinguishers.

This could have been extremely nasty!
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:21
  #449 (permalink)  
 
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I wonder if Boeing EE's are tracing the route of electrons from the ground power receptacle throughout the aircraft to see how current could leak into the ELT circuit. Let us suppose that they find something that allows a stray voltage to wander here or there. Hmmm.
I bet they are! I'm not familiar with this kit but, given I understand it is not powered from any aircraft bus, I would have expected any external control wires to be galvanically isolated from the ELT electronics via an opto or something, so there should be no possibility of any sneak back-feeds, but you never know, I have had someone tell me in the past "I don't need to isolation from the system, it's battery powered". Only true if the number of wires connected is equal to or less than one I think!

I presume it has an external antenna? I hope nobody did a bad thing with antenna grounding.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:24
  #450 (permalink)  
Per Ardua ad Astraeus
 
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Don't forget in all this that 'in flight' would probably result in depressurisation of the aircraft making life a lot harder!
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:27
  #451 (permalink)  
 
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The Bulletin doesn't recommend just turning the unit off, it recommends making it inert. Big difference.
To make it truly inert would require it to be disconnected from any other aircraft systems and the battery to be removed. As access is the problem with this device, wouldn't it be easier to remove it altogether once it was 'exposed'?
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:39
  #452 (permalink)  
 
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Pitts #452, the version of the report I have downloaded interestingly states "the only _significant_ thermal event".
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:43
  #453 (permalink)  
 
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Murphy, on smaller aircraft (think King Air, small jet) they are usually aft of the pressure bulkhead in the tail. On larger aircraft (think G-IV and up) they are usually inside the pressure vessel, to prevent cold soak problems on long flights.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:49
  #454 (permalink)  
 
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Having just experienced the Dream Maker and the Thomson Premier Club product to Orlando, all I can say as a passenger is WOW!

My vacuum is noisier than a full load departure compared from the forward cabin and the pressurisation meant that after a nine hour flight we arrived amazingly refreshed!

For me, this aeroplane is frankly brilliant. No smoke, no fires and no drama! Loved the HUD for the crew!

Thomson have it 100% commercially aligned with the market. Premium it certainly is!
Living very close to the threshold of EGLL as I do, I can vouch for the volume from the outside as well.

The 787 and the A380 are remarkably quieter than the aircraft they are replacing.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 17:51
  #455 (permalink)  
 
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Ban Lithium-anything batteries from ANY airborne system!!!!

AAIB recommends review of all lithium-powered ELTs after 787 fire | Reuters

Last edited by ECAM_Actions; 18th Jul 2013 at 17:52.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 18:02
  #456 (permalink)  
 
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Ban Lithium-anything batteries from ANY airborne system!!!!
Lithium-Manganese Dioxide (LiMnO2) batteries are actually at the lower energy/greater safety end of the Li-Ion scale. If these are now catching fire without an external ignition source, it's not good.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 18:22
  #457 (permalink)  
 
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The guilt or innocence of the ELT will become clear in due course.

Of more concern are the problems that the firefighter(s) had in getting to the fire and extinguishing it.

Also, the lack of detail of the damage is interesting (I still await the videos of the fire and the close-up photos).
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 18:32
  #458 (permalink)  
 
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When we installed the ELT on the '380 the most "difficult" part was wrapping the antenna feeds with fireproof material to ensure that the installation as a "whole " met regulation re-fire/heat resistance.

It seems a somewhat moot point that there is no airframe insulation in that self same area of the 787 by design....
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 18:33
  #459 (permalink)  
 
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If these are now catching fire without an external ignition source, it's not good
True, but we don't know that to be the case yet, as Lonewolf_50 pointed out, folks will be looking for possible sneak circuits that could have caused the problem. If I have correctly identified the ELT on Honeywell's site there are a number of remote connections available so, although it should be unlikely, perhaps there is a back-feed from the airplane system that caused the issue? It is very bad luck for Boeing that with over 3000 of these ELTs out there, the very first one to combust was one of the 50 or so in a 787!

Edit to add link:

http://www51.honeywell.com/aero/comm...06_AFN_ELT.pdf

Last edited by fenland787; 18th Jul 2013 at 18:41.
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Old 18th Jul 2013, 18:35
  #460 (permalink)  
 
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Also, the lack of detail of the damage is interesting
Don't know how the AAIB does investigations, but if the damage did not shed light on causative factors, a detailed evaluation of the damage was not always a required part of the investigation when I was doing them for the US Army. The technical investigation is for prevention purposes - identify causes that can be avoided.
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