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FAA Grounds 787s

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FAA Grounds 787s

Old 26th Sep 2014, 04:56
  #2161 (permalink)  
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The point at which the Boeing executive cut the interview was priceless. Totally ill-informed and unbriefed.

I have to say, I did NOT think it was sensation at all.

If it was sensation it would be like typical American news. All fur coat and no knickers!

This was a well crafted, well produced piece over 48 minutes! Plenty of time for the background information.

Plus, at the end, the reporter said that ultimately, we will have to TRUST Boeing, won't we?

Is there anyone on this forum who won't fly the 787?
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Old 26th Sep 2014, 10:52
  #2162 (permalink)  
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Final Report now available
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Old 27th Sep 2014, 06:54
  #2163 (permalink)  
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If it was sensation it would be like typical American news. All fur coat and no knickers!
That's damned hilarious coming from someone who started a thread that linked to the Daily Mail.
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Old 27th Sep 2014, 11:01
  #2164 (permalink)  
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I agree with tdracer #2143. Working on the 747 in late 1960s we all joked that “Quality is king but the schedule is GOD”. With all due respect to his post #2149 , I disagree; DERs were answerable to the FAA, DAs answer to Boeing and “If self-regulation worked God would have given Moses ten guidelines”.
Be that as it may JTSB findings on ANA’s 16 January 2013 battery failure reach no firm conclusions but clearly imply that Boeing cut corners on testing and certification. JTSB says FAA should:
a. Provide instruction to airplane manufactures and equipment manufactures to perform equipment tests simulating actual flight operations.
b. Review the technical standards for lithium ion battery to ensure that the electric environment is appropriately simulated, and if necessary, amend the standards.
c. Review the lithium ion battery failure rate estimated during the 787 type certification, and if necessary, based on its result, review the lithium ion battery safety assessment.
d. Review the type certificate for its appropriateness on heat propagation risk.

Last edited by ozaub; 28th Sep 2014 at 04:30. Reason: Corrected acronym
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Old 3rd Dec 2014, 01:29
  #2165 (permalink)  
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NTSB has just published its report on Boston battery fire. It's at http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2014/AIR1401.pdf . Have not finished studying it yet but conclusions (below) point to disturbing corner cutting by Boeing and FAA:
7. Boeing’s electrical power system safety assessment did not consider the most severe effects of a cell internal short circuit and include requirements to mitigate related risks, and the review of the assessment by Boeing authorized representatives and Federal Aviation Administration certification engineers did not reveal this deficiency.

8. Boeing failed to incorporate design requirements in the 787 main and auxiliary power unit battery specification control drawing to mitigate the most severe effects of a cell internal short circuit, and the Federal Aviation Administration failed to uncover this design vulnerability as part of its review and approval of Boeing’s electrical power system certification plan and proposed methods of compliance.

9. Unclear traceability among the individual special conditions, safety assessment assumptions and rationale, requirements, and proposed methods of compliance for the 787 main and auxiliary power unit battery likely contributed to the Federal Aviation Administration’s failure to identify the need for a thermal runaway certification test.

None of which will surprise those who have followed the sorry saga or read earlier JTSB report at http://www.mlit.go.jp/jtsb/eng-air_report/JA804A.pdf.
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Old 3rd Dec 2014, 06:01
  #2166 (permalink)  
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It was the cold winters in Tokyo

According to the NTSB report (and yes, I have read it all...) the reason Japanese airliners were the most affected was due to the cold weather in Tokyo.

The report states that Li-Ion batteries are more likely to suffer thermal runaway as a result of internal degradation caused by self-heating during high-current (charge or discharge) operations.

The colder the battery, the more likely self-heating is, and the more it occurs.

The NTSB concluded that the JAL and ANA airliners were more likely to suffer from self-heating because the crew climbed aboard after an overnight cold-soak in 0 degrees Fahrenheit and started up the APU. Full load. The APU then immediately started to re-charge the battery (at 45 amps...).

The temperature rise generated by that was suspected of raising the battery above the 146 degrees at which thermal runaway can begin.

The report seems to suggest that had the battery been 30-odd degrees warmer when they started up, no problem would have occurred.

It's a long read, but the suggestion is that these batteries are more likely to have problems if they are charged or discharged when they are very cold. In the report, they state (and EASA also states in its comments...) that the cause was never proven to either organisation's full satisfaction.

The report was very critical of manufacturing sloppiness by the battery maker, and oversight inadequacies by the subcontractor, the airplane manufacturer, and the FAA.
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Old 3rd Dec 2014, 19:10
  #2167 (permalink)  

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New Flight Recorder

The report raises a problem that I, for one, hadn’t known about.

It seems that the 787 is the only aircraft so far to use a new ‘enhanced airborne flight recorder’ (EAFR). According to section 2.6.1, the 787
uses the EAFR to record CVR, FDR, and other data.
But apparently it wasn’t doing it very well, because some of the recorded data was ‘stale’ - that’s to say, not up to date. This not only hindered the NTSB’s investigations in this case, but it also has the potential to affect future investigations. In addition, it could have a dangerous effect on maintenance data.

The problem wasn’t critical this time, because the faults occurred on the ground, but an investigation after a crash could presumably be much more badly affected.

The extraordinary thing is that this new EAFR was certified under an FAA Technical Standard Order, which was based on a European (EUROCAE) document called “Minimum Operational Performance Specification for Crash Protected Airborne Recording Systems.” But the NTSB says (section 2.6.2)
The FAA took exception to this chapter of the EUROCAE …. document and removed the chapter’s requirements from the final TSO….
This meant that, for instance, airborne parts of the CVR recordings were virtually unintelligible.

The NTSB goes on to recommend that the FAA reinstate the bits it took out of the original European document, or takes other measures to mitigate the problem.

What a very strange carry-on.

Last edited by airsound; 3rd Dec 2014 at 19:13. Reason: adding title
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Old 31st Dec 2014, 23:31
  #2168 (permalink)  
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Another battery failure

Further to my posts at #2158 & 2159, apparently there has been another battery failure since the 787 was re-certificated with improved batteries in a fire proof box. Details at http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001064275.pdf .
Clearly the battery is still not working properly, failures are likely several times a year as the fleet grows and airworthiness relies on the box – a very strange situation.

No wonder JTSB continues to call for a proper redesign:

"Therefore, it is considered to be necessary that
  1. Boeing examines the potential causes pointed out in Boston and Takamatsu incident investigations and Narita event assessment further, accelerates the consideration for the design improvements, gets the certification early for the design changes which should be implemented, and provides the design changes early for airlines.
  2. Airlines adopt the design changes which will be prepared by Boeing and implement them as soon as possible."
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 05:20
  #2169 (permalink)  
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Further to my posts at #2158 & 2159, apparently there has been another battery failure since the 787 was re-certificated with improved batteries in a fire proof box. Details at http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001064275.pdf .
@ozaub, as far as I can see, the report you linked to refers to an event at Narita on 14 Jan 2014, thus before the redesign. Sorry if I've got that wrong.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 11:24
  #2170 (permalink)  
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A mate of mine who works in battery industry said that "if his staff had proposed the original battery solution on the 787 he would have sacked them". This is not to say that the modified version is significantly better, its just that the modified version been deemed to be acceptable (as was the original design).
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 14:52
  #2171 (permalink)  
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I believe the redesign happened in 2013.
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Old 1st Jan 2015, 20:06
  #2172 (permalink)  
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Discussed at some length here.

Temperature in 787 battery cells spikes in cold conditions: NTSB - 12/1/2014 - Flight Global

The NTSB was concerned that cold weather exposure could be a significant risk factor for the 787 main and APU [auxiliary power unit] lithium-ion battery," says the report.

The NTSB notes that Boeing has since “revised the low temperature charging limit for the main and APU battery and the [battery charger unit] to reduce the likelihood of an internal short circuit.”
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 02:56
  #2173 (permalink)  
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Willl05 you’re right. Let’s recap:

7 Jan 2013, battery self-ignited on JAL 787, on ground at Boston. NTSB report is at http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/A...ts/AIR1401.pdf. My post #2159 refers but NTSB link has changed.

16 Jan 2013, battery overheated and burst on ANA 787, in-flight over Shikoku Island. JTSB report is at http://www.mlit.go.jp/jtsb/eng-air_report/JA804A.pdf. My post #2158 refers.

Jan – May 2013, 787 grounded while Boeing redesigned battery system. Main improvements were better quality control to avoid cells overheating, better separation between cells to avoid cascading failures and a fireproof box to contain any battery fire, plus a vent to squirt hot, noxious gases overboard. My account of events is at http://www.smh.com.au/comment/dreaml...509-2jb30.html

14 Jan 2014, battery overheated and burst on JAL 787, on ground at Narita. Only one cell ruptured, there was slight thermal damage to adjacent cell but it remained "functionally operational” and there was no cascading "thermal runaway". JCAB report is at http://www.mlit.go.jp/common/001064275.pdf. My post #2162 refers.

Boeing and FAA seem satisfied with the modified battery system but NTSB, JTSB and JCAB are not so sanguine.

To me it seems that a large fleet of 787s could suffer several ruptured batteries each year, especially in winter. Some will pose OH&S risks on the ground especially during fuelling. Sooner or later there will be a cascading failure of adjacent cells.

I’m reminded of a precedent with the Boeing 737. It entered service with a known flaw in the fuselage lap joints. There were numerous failures but for 20 years Boeing contained the problem with a series of Service Bulletins; until 1988, when the top blew off Aloha Airlines Flight 243. My account of the saga is at http://avstop.com/stories/aloha.html. FAA promised that it would never again be so complacent.

Last edited by ozaub; 2nd Jan 2015 at 20:04. Reason: Slight clarification
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 04:52
  #2174 (permalink)  
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777 and overheating seat

forces an emergency landing

Check the news

may be A battery in the seat mechanism being crushed AGAIN !
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 07:06
  #2175 (permalink)  
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According to one source it was "a crushed lithium ion battery in the seat mechanism".
Apparently, Air France have suffered from a similar problem (burning business class seat) before. In 2013 a crew member smelled fire and found flames under a seat on one of their flights from Atlanta to Paris. I don't think that was a Li-On battery though as the crew member extinguished it by throwing water over it.
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 07:15
  #2176 (permalink)  
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@ozaub: my apologies. Time flies, and now it's 2015.
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 13:57
  #2177 (permalink)  
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I don't think that was a Li-On battery though as the crew member extinguished it by throwing water over it.
Hey Kelvin,
are you crew? Check your company's regs!
Flighting Lithium fires should be ready knowledge for at least flight crew, and as a matter of fact for anyone who carries a laptop, iPad or whatever which has a lithium battery.
From IATA.org:

A lithium battery fire should not be treated as a Class D fire. Fighting a fire that contains lithium batteries requires:
1. Removing external electrical power from device (if applicable) 2. Extinguishing the fire, and
3. Cooling of the remaining cells to stop the thermal runway.
Halon or Halon replacement and/or water fire extinguishers can be used to control the fire and prevent its spread to surrounding flammable materials. This should be followed by immediate dousing with water or other non-flammable liquid from any available source to douse the fire. Monitor for re-occurrence and continue to pour non-flammable liquids to cool cells until cooled.
Examples of non-flammable liquids: water, juice, coffee, tea, etc.
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 15:00
  #2178 (permalink)  
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IIRC Discard the ice cubes.
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Old 2nd Jan 2015, 19:30
  #2179 (permalink)  
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According to the report cited in #2162, the battery in question has a manufacturing date of May 9, 2013. And a failure approximately 7 months later.

We can assume that the fleet-wide age of all 787 batteries was effectively reset to zero on or around May, 2013. So it will be interesting to see if the failure rate vs battery age has improved over the original design or not.

It is noteworthy that the resulting damage in the January 14, 2014 incident appears to be confined to a single cell. So at least the cell spacing and battery box are working as intended.
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Old 3rd Jan 2015, 20:36
  #2180 (permalink)  
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GYS: The actions you quoted from IATA are taken from the FAA instructions from 2009.

Boeing's instructions,issued in 2013, say you should use Halon (or a substitute) to kill the fire. If you don't have Halon to hand CO2 will do. At no point do they mention water.
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