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FAA Grounds 787s

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FAA Grounds 787s

Old 28th Feb 2013, 21:45
  #1081 (permalink)  
 
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Thank you.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 22:27
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@llagonne66
Thank you, the Flight blogger link you provided, links to an interesting article The Seattle Times: Making It Fly on the 757 cert effort, dated 20 days before I flew out to HK.

It seems one had more time then to write up things like that, as well as to check things out thoroughly, in proportion to the complexity, that is.

Last edited by saptzae; 28th Feb 2013 at 22:38. Reason: Link
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 00:11
  #1083 (permalink)  
 
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It's happened before!

Mention of the 757 makes it opportune to note Boeing's difficulties with the introduction of aramid (KEVLAR) reinforced plastics on the 757/767. Aramid composites were chosen (in preference to carbon) on lightly loaded structure like trailing edge panels. Worked fine during certification but in real life temperature cycles caused aramid components to crack and absorb moisture within 4000 flight hours. All had to be sealed then replaced. A hugely expensive mistake. Service Bulletin 767-51-0008, April 1985 refers.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 00:54
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Momoe;

I'm still slightly surprised that there were no indications of potential battery problems during the testing/flight testing regime, these normally take each system to the edge of the envelope, yet no issues reported?
Not so close to the edge during flight tests. Subsystems are usually pushed much harder during bench (lab) testing. And therein lies a possible problem. With much of the testing being done by the subsystem vendors, the interactions between different subsystems may not have been tested adequately.

Its more likely* that Thales loaded the battery system down with a resistive load bank to simulate an APU start rather than actually obtaining production DC-AC converters and an APU starter/generator.

*Disclaimer: I wasn't there. But this has been my experience with past subsystem tests.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 00:56
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An email doing the rounds at the moment
For one thing the problem may not be with the batteries themselves, but with the control system that keeps the charge on them at a given level. And the 'battery problem" is just one problem in many. Last week I had my regular monthly lunch with 5 fellow Boeing engineers (all but one retired) and we talked at length about what we call the "nightmare liner". We all agreed we will not book a flight on one. The one engineer still working (at age 74!!) says the news from inside is not good, and that there are no quick fixes for the multitude of problems that the 787 has.

The disaster began with the merger with McDonnell-Douglas in the mid-90s. The McD people completely took over the Board and installed their own people. They had no experience with commercial airplanes, having done only "cost-plus" military contracting, and there are worlds of difference between military and commercial airplane design. Alan Mulally, a life-long Boeing guy, was against outsourcing as President of Boeing Commercial Division, but instead of making him CEO after he almost single-handedly saved the company in the early 90s, the Board brought in Harry Stonecipher from McDonnell-Douglas, who was big on outsourcing. Stonecipher was later fired for ethics violations, and then the Board brought in Jim McNerney, a glorified scotch tape salesman from 3M and big proponent of outsourcing, to develop the 787. (Alan Mulally left to become CEO of Ford and completely rejuvenated that company.) A McNerney and his bean-counting MBAs thought that instead of developing the 787* in-house* for about $11 billion, they could outsource the design and building of the airplane for about $6 billion. Right now they are at $23 billion and counting, three years behind in deliveries, with a grounded fleet. That's typical for military contracting, so McNerney and the Board probably think they are doing just fine. But it will destroy Boeing's commercial business in the same way McDonnell wrecked Douglas when they took over that company decades ago. Boeing had a wonderfully experienced team of designers and builders who had successfully created the 707, 727, 737, 747, 757, 767, and 777 in-house, always on-time, and mostly within budget, and with few problems at introduction. That team is gone, either retired or employed elsewhere. (I took early retirement after the McD takeover of Boeing because I knew the new upper management team was clueless.) The 787 was designed in Russia, India, Japan, and Italy. The majority of the airplane is built outside the US in parts and shipped to Seattle and Charleston for assembly. *Gee, what could possibly go wrong? * Answer: just about everything. Because the McD people that now run Boeing don't believe in R&D, the structure of the airplane will be tested *inservice*.

Commercial airplanes in their lifetime typically make ten times as many flights and fly ten times as many flight hours as military airplanes, so the argument that composite structure has been "tested" because of the experience of composite military airplanes is just so much BS. So structure is a big issue. The airplane is very overweight. The all-electric controls have the same lack-of-experience issue that the structure has. The only good news for me is that the Boeing pension plan is currently fully funded, although it may not stay that way as the 787 catastrophe develops.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 05:13
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And the grounding continues.....

From the newswires....

Japan Airlines has further extended the suspension of its Boeing 787 operations to 31 May, three days after a similar announcement from its peer All Nippon Airways.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 06:54
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You been asleep for a few months?


Sharpen up mate! I was specifically referring to battery issues, the Laredo incident wasn't battery related or only indirectly in that if you short out the electrics by leaving an unsecured tool in the electrical bay you're asking for trouble.
Embarassing, yes. But it's nowt to do with the Lithium-Ion design issues.
Certification process is under scrutiny, but you can't expect any certifying agency to look at this incident and somehow extrapolate that the battery design is suspect.

Boeing accept that the current battery design isn't fail-safe, which is why they're proposing a fix. What most of the community on here are concerned about is the perceived nature of that fix, in that it's not appropriate for the job.

Last edited by Momoe; 1st Mar 2013 at 09:50.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 07:52
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Momoe

"you can't expect any certifying agency to look at this incident and somehow extrapolate that the battery design is suspect."


No, but there is a link which the FAA is aware of: the behaviour of the composite fuselage structure when exposed to extreme heat.

In the Laredo incident the fuselage insulating blankets caught fire, but the plane diverted quickly.

Boeing's battery "fix" allows the possibility of flying up to 3 hours with a very hot steel box under the floor. 1500 miles to the nearest firefighter.

Sure, the composite's fire resistance has been tested, but so were the batteries.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 12:51
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Root cause of battery failure

I've seen several comments on not knowing the root cause of the battery failure, yet about ten days ago All Nippon Airways made this statement: Japan probe finds miswiring of Boeing 787 battery on ANA flight that made emergency landing | StarTribune.com


"TOKYO - A probe into the overheating of a lithium ion battery in an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 found it was improperly wired, Japan's Transport Ministry said Wednesday.
The Transport Safety Board said in a report that the battery of the aircraft's auxiliary power unit was incorrectly connected to the main battery that overheated, although a protective valve would have prevented power from the APU from doing damage."
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 15:56
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Root cause of battery failure
I've seen several comments on not knowing the root cause of the battery failure, yet about ten days ago All Nippon Airways made this statement: Japan probe finds miswiring of Boeing 787 battery on ANA flight that made emergency landing | StarTribune.com

Americanflyer.

Root cause and they found miswiring may not be linked to these events.

Miswiring is often found, not perfect, but will not always cause problems.

These events are not looking like a single problem and also not looking like a quick fix.

Both Boeing and the FAA with have to fully understand how this system was certified and allowed such shortfalls getting through the system.

Then understand how 100/150 batts could be replaced in service life and just waiting around to see what happens next, keep changing batts at that rate or hoping newer batts will fix the problem.

I'm guessing Boeing were working hard on these batt issues before the two events than got the aircraft grounded, maybe they should of been working harder.

The A350 team have been handed a golden egg with the 787 problems, am sure they will make the most of it, maybe they they will see it as pay back for the A380 spoiler/748i saga.

I hope the 787 gets fixed sooner than I think it will, what an aircraft after MSN 90 and they get the weight down.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 17:08
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Joetom:

Then understand how 100/150 batts could be replaced in service life and just waiting around to see what happens next, keep changing batts at that rate or hoping newer batts will fix the problem.
There are several entities involved in this chain of responsibility: Boeing, Thales, GSYuasa, Securaplane. Remind me if I've left anyone out. Before the fires, this was already a touchy issue. Who is responsible for and gets to pay for the maintenance? After the fires, I'm guessing that not one memo moves within or between any of these companies without corporate legal going over it with a fine-toothed comb.

I'm guessing Boeing were working hard on these batt issues before the two events than got the aircraft grounded, maybe they should of been working harder.
Both Boeing and the FAA with have to fully understand how this system was certified and allowed such shortfalls getting through the system.
Bothof these address process issues. and that is something which Boeing (and others?) regard as sacrosanct. Engineering and/or manufacturing errors? No problem. We'll fix them. But tell us how to manage the processes? That is going to result in some Boeing stonewalling.

When I was at Boeing, the very idea that some regulator could come in and tell us how to do business caused many managers to see red. Even when FAA mandated process changes saved us money, there was still a feeling that they should buzz of and leave us alone. I'm guessing that, what with outsourcing issues, Boeing is even more sensitive about this now.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 17:31
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EEng

Quote.

There are several entities involved in this chain of responsibility: Boeing, Thales, GSYuasa, Securaplane. Remind me if I've left anyone out. Before the fires, this was already a touchy issue. Who is responsible for and gets to pay for the maintenance? After the fires, I'm guessing that not one memo moves within or between any of these companies without corporate legal going over it with a fine-toothed comb.


If parts are on spec and tested as reqd, Boeing will have to pick up the tab on this one, FAA will also pick up some.

History shows us, testing parts on rigs and the like is not the same as bolting them together on the aircraft and operating it as far as possible to service life needs, and even operating test aircraft for years during delayed introduction in to service life (like the A380) still takes years of service life to get them stable.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 21:54
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It should also be noted that the 787 battery/system was designed prior to the current RTCA testing rules. The battery/system was NOT tested according to the current standard.

Last edited by FlightPathOBN; 3rd Mar 2013 at 06:37.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 05:00
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@Brian Abraham:

I'm sure there's a kernel of truth in that email, but one glaring omission is the fact that the B777 had significant Japanese design and supply input, with airframe elements being supplied from Italy, Brazil and Australia.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 16:28
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Dozy,
but one glaring omission is the fact that the B777 had significant Japanese design and supply input
Actually so did the 767. There are some interesting charts in this paper:

http://dspace.cigilibrary.org/jspui/...%20Japan.pdf?1

Stonecipher & McNerney both came out of GE Aircraft Engines. Both saw the benefits of outsourcing ("Share to Gain") demonstrated by CFMI and the CFM56 engine family and then the GE90. Perhaps though, they both missed the fine points of what it takes to manage and oversee a successful outsourced program.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 20:08
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Mulally/Stonecipher

Don't know the guys but what odds that one was an Engineer and one was a beancounter ?
 
Old 3rd Mar 2013, 21:50
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ImageGear,
Don't know the guys but what odds that one was an Engineer and one was a beancounter ?
Pretty good odds

Mulally was an engineer, graduated from the University of Kansas with a Masters in Aeronautical & Astronautical Engineering and then was a Sloan Fellow at MIT. He went to work directly from there to Boeing. He lead the team at Boeing that designed the two-man common cockpit for the 757/767 aircraft and then moved on to the 777, first as Director of Engineering, then as VP and GM.

Stonecipher received a degree in physics from Tennessee Tech, went to work for Allison as a lab technician then went on to work at GE Aircraft Engines, working his way up to become VP of Commercial Engine Sales. He left GE and went to Sundstrand, then to McDonnell Douglas and then to Boeing. He was somewhat more of a bean-counter than an engineer.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 02:49
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When I worked at Boeing on 747, one company slogan was "quality is king". To which we added "but the schedule is God". Another slogan was "pride in excellence". Sadly Boeing now seems to have neither excellence nor pride.

Last edited by ozaub; 4th Mar 2013 at 09:05. Reason: better choice of words
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 14:39
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Just looked at the Boeing website into the section dedicated to the 787 story. The main page explains to public the change control process at Boing in popular terms. Which indicates, I think, that they are redesigning 787 electrics now.

Last edited by tango.golf.romeo; 4th Mar 2013 at 14:45.
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Old 4th Mar 2013, 15:14
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Turbine D:
Stonecipher ... VP of Commercial Engine Sales. He left GE and went to Sundstrand, then to McDonnell Douglas and then to Boeing. He was somewhat more of a bean-counter than an engineer.
I had some minor contact with Harry - enough to learn that he had little knowledge of aviation culture and slang/euphemisms. But despite this he was quite a salesman (and not just selling airplanes or engines ).
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