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FAA Grounds 787s

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FAA Grounds 787s

Old 5th Apr 2013, 11:40
  #1541 (permalink)  
 
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Hummmm

well I don't fly, maintain, or have any technical association with aircraft, but I have got 40-odd years of airline employment behind me, and us ground-grunts do pick up stuff.

but when the 787 blurb started to come out of Boeing I'm afraid as a non-tech type I kept reading it all and each time I would go "hmmmmm, THAT'S intersting..." or "hmmmmm, THAT'S brave...."

And, you know, all the things that prompted those two reactions have turned out exactly as I thought they would.....

And the foto's I have seen of various electrical installations on the a/c rather had me thinking along he lines of "hmmm, I'm not sure that arranging wiring like that would get past the inspector if I was re-wiring my house that way"

And I've jiggered around with fuel numbers and whilst they look good the more distant the city-pair, they're not that good under about 3 hours, but horses for courses.

And frankly my dear, I'm not convinced of the battery lash-up and will be arranging any future itineraries with this aircraft type in mind....

And I have to admit, I prefered being pax in the DC9 to the 737, the DC8 to the 707, the VC10 to the DC8 and the 707, the A320 to the 737; but I did prefer the 727 to the Trident and the 747 to the DC10/MD11.

So I'm not sure I quite qualify as "Boeing denialist"

Last edited by G&T ice n slice; 5th Apr 2013 at 11:41.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 13:50
  #1542 (permalink)  
 
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In reply to Whatdoesthisbuttondo,

60 years ago, the DH Comet was also popular with pax and crew; faster, quieter, etc.

Then design flaws caught up with it and it never recovered; I believe that 787 could be a superb plane, IF Boeing are prepared to take their corporate head out of the sand and produce an engineered solution that matches public perception.

I'm don't think I'm in a minority of one in thinking that Boeing's PR team are working at least as hard as their engineers.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 18:20
  #1543 (permalink)  
 
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60 years ago, the DH Comet was also popular with pax and crew; faster, quieter, etc.

Then design flaws caught up with it and it never recovered;
'Design flaws caught up with it' in 1954. I went on holiday in one in 1975, and I think they retired about 1980, although the RAF flew a highly modified version until a couple of years ago. Hardly an aircraft that 'never recovered'.

A friend of mine is an engineer who is qualified on the 787, and has made frequent visits to Boeing recently, as his employer has some on order. From what he tells me, the engineering solution is very sound indeed, and he is somewhat surprised that the PR department are not telling the world about it. Even some informed professionals are still under the impression that the solution is merely to stick the battery into a 'firebox', which is quite incorrect.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 18:27
  #1544 (permalink)  
 
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The 787 Battery monitoring issue has been fixed with the replacement of the BMU.
Has it?

I wasn't aware that the root cause of the battery failures had been identified. There are some hypothesis, and battery monitoring and charging algorithms are among some of the better ones. So this is a reasonable educated guess.

What this does accomplish is to reset the system reliability numbers back to those provided by analysis. The old battery failed Boeing's promised numbers by orders of magnitude. Plugging those into the requirements for ETOPS and it would have been a no-go. With a new unit, they get to start with a clean sheet of paper, with fingers crossed, hoping that nothing major goes wrong.

As long as the battery was failing 'quietly' (no smoke) , not much public concern was generated. In its nice metal box, this will be true again. Replacing units for low voltage lockout will be invisible to all but those concerned with maintenance and reliability. Will Boeing, the FAA and operators return to the status quo? Or will all battery incidents now be placed under a microscope?
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 22:37
  #1545 (permalink)  
 
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toffeez
Boeing undersized the -8 version so it will always have a challenge to generate enough cash to cover the costs.
The original 7E7-8 was even smaller. Discussions with airlines made it as large as it is today and the order book reflects that. I fully expect the -9 and -10 to be more economical (stretches always are), but the -8 is the size the customers wanted.
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Old 5th Apr 2013, 23:43
  #1546 (permalink)  
 
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One thing that's consistently assumed here is that if Boeing hasn't publicized a fix, it hasn't happened.

That's a foolish assumption. Boeing knows how to play their cards next to their chest and when to lay them out. To assume that the only thing they have done is put the battery in a firebox is silly.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 00:51
  #1547 (permalink)  
 
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The 787 Battery monitoring issue has been fixed with the replacement of the BMU.
Has it?

I wasn't aware that the root cause of the battery failures had been identified.
I think that what was meant is that Boeing hopes to address any potential problems in the future thanks to the new BMU. I don't think anyone would say otherwise.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 00:53
  #1548 (permalink)  
 
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So it doesn't pass unnoticed, Boeing said it had completed the test flights today (I'm left wondering if there is a meaning to the fact that a LOT 787 was used for the flight) and apparently passed the tests.

I would love to see the test protocol details as I'm also puzzled about how much one can accomplish in 1 hr and 49 min.

Boeing Completes Final Dreamliner Test Flight, Looks to Resume Service by June
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 00:55
  #1549 (permalink)  
 
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One thing that's consistently assumed here is that if Boeing hasn't publicized a fix, it hasn't happened.

That's a foolish assumption. Boeing knows how to play their cards next to their chest and when to lay them out. To assume that the only thing they have done is put the battery in a firebox is silly.
I have to wonder if Boeing would not damage itself more by not disclosing what it has done. I think transparency is pretty important at this stage.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 01:41
  #1550 (permalink)  
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grumpyoldgeek
Boeing knows how to play their cards next to their chest and when to lay them out.
Indeed, transparency is EVERYTHING. Boeing (I can be fairly sure) have not yet adjusted to the world where a single line of ill informed text, can travel around the globe in a single minute - and hit the headlines on the return leg.

They have to discover the balance between old PR and new style information in such a way that folks believe it. Lastly, they also have to learn that stories such as this will be available to read about online for a very, very long time. The problem will be fixed (I have no doubt) and Boeing will sell many of the a/c but the problem will be visible in a way that previous problems - such as the 737 rudder - were not as most of that happened pre-internet. But the fix was well publicised and is visible on the Net.

They have to be open and, once day, admit they made a mistake. Companies (and people) are not judged so much on the mistakes they make - as they way that they recover from them.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 03:20
  #1551 (permalink)  
 
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Companies (and people) are not judged somuch on the mistakes they make - as they way that they recover from them.

This is very true. Mistakes happen, how a supplier deals with these mistakes is the key to recovery. This involves keeping in good close communication with customers and providing an effective solution in the shortest possible time. Boeing seems to be on the right track, they are consulting with their customers daily and this can be confirmed by the fact that we have heard very little back lash from customers or future customers, infact they seem to be very supportive of Boeing. This is what counts.

The effectiveness of the improvements made will be judged by the Boeing and FAA engineers and they will be able to make a more informed decision that anyone else. However no one knows for sure, the coming months/years will confirm this.

I donít think Boeing care too much about negative speculation on anonymous forums. Such negative people have cried wolf too often and now they hold no credibility even if there is some truth in what they are saying. Whatdoesthisbuttondo and others, thanks for the balanced views.

Last edited by Cool Guys; 6th Apr 2013 at 03:20.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 05:20
  #1552 (permalink)  
 
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An article in today's NY Times says:

Boeing said the two batteries on each plane would be sealed inside steel boxes that would limit the amount of oxygen nearby to minimize any chance of fire. (http://goo.gl/YN16a)
As I have read posts on this thread, I recall some saying this is not true, that the reaction in the cells creates its own oxygen.

Which is correct?
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 06:04
  #1553 (permalink)  
 
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I donít think Boeing care too much about negative speculation on anonymous forums.
If that is true, they are bloody fools. Even if Boeing are entirely worthy of our trust, people (i.e. potential pax) are swayed by fears with a lot less backing than PPRuNe speculation, however anonymous it might be.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 09:48
  #1554 (permalink)  
 
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@ Paxboy IMHO. you're spot on.

@ Mark in CA. - If you delve back through BOTH "767/Battery " threads, you'll see! Boeing did themselves a huge disservice by bullshitting to the effect that this wasn't a fire!
The battery, on thermal runaway ( lots of smoke , white hot materials, boiling electrolyte ) is NOT ON FIRE.....no, sirree- it's an exothermic "event"dontcha know?
How can you take seriously, patronising wankers who promulgate this tosh .

the exclusion of air , prevents it's oxygen turning the decomposition into a "fire".... the battery has sufficient oxygen entrained in it's chemistry, to destroy itself ......If your curiosity piques, check "Thermite"

For those that don't know/can't be bothered.. it's a mixture of aluminium-powder and rust! when ignited, it burns fiercely- so much so, it's poured into the joints on railway lines and ignited...the heat is sufficient to melt the ends of the lines and fuse them together.

Of course. that's not a fire either!

@ Flightless Parrot. Couldn't agree more- Insult the customer's intelligence at your own risk!
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 15:12
  #1555 (permalink)  
 
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PAXboy
Indeed, transparency is EVERYTHING. Boeing (I can be fairly sure) have not yet adjusted to the world where a single line of ill informed text, can travel around the globe in a single minute - and hit the headlines on the return leg.
And yet once something is said, it's very difficult to contradict it. Consider the "Applebee's Incident" - even though Applebee's Corporate have issued shedloads of statements supporting the assaulted employee, the Internet still rages against the company accusing them of being discriminatory against that assaulted worker because none of those raging have bothered to look past the original posting.

Mark in CA
As I have read posts on this thread, I recall some saying this is not true, that the reaction in the cells creates its own oxygen.
Independent laboratory tests have shown that the amount of oxygen released by a cell in thermal runaway is very small.

Based on what I have read from the NTSB and Boeing, the fire aboard JA829J at BOS was caused by the plastic inside the battery box and protruding from it igniting from the thermal heat generated by the batteries as they melted. It appears that the batteries themselves did not catch fire, but they didn't need to in order to melt and eject liquified electrolyte due to the amount of heat being generated inside the cells.
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Old 6th Apr 2013, 16:19
  #1556 (permalink)  
 
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MWorth

I think that what was meant is that Boeing hopes to address any potential problems in the future thanks to the new BMU. I don't think anyone would say otherwise.
Well then I hope they can demonstrate the level of reliability needed to justify extending ETOPS operations. Problem is: After putting in a potential fix, it will take years of fleet experience to gather that statistical data by observation. The alternative would be to identify the root cause, fix it, do a new reliability analysis and start with a clean sheet of paper, so to speak. Even with this approach, the FAA would be wise to require some more operational experience to validate the analysis. But they would start from a new baseline.

Back when I worked there, we did a bit more than hope that our design would fly.
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Old 7th Apr 2013, 19:57
  #1557 (permalink)  
 
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The insurance carriers will have the final say, just like they did with the MD-11.

Also note that while the battery containment has been 'fixed', by a 1.5 hour flight test nothing else has, and the flights to test the panel fix havent even begun yet.

Te LOT aircraft was already being used to test an 'engine enhancement'...that sounds like a fix to me, but who knows.

Last edited by FlightPathOBN; 7th Apr 2013 at 19:57.
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Old 7th Apr 2013, 21:00
  #1558 (permalink)  
 
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A really "vague" post by me (for which I apologise profusely in advance)

As a Boeing pilot since 89 (McD D before) it pains me to say it (as a voracious "death to Airbus" fan too) a friend of a friend (who is in a fairly elevated position in BA engineering) reckons there is some fairly serious deficiencies in the sphere of fire protection/redundancy in this fancy electronic/no bleed air air con system.

Much too tech for me (hence my caveats & lack of detail) but, it seems the "dream" isn't realised just yet. . .shame, it looks really right, and as the old adage goes "looks right /flies right"
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Old 7th Apr 2013, 23:34
  #1559 (permalink)  
 
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@Captplaystation

Your comment is sobering and should be kept in mind by all. There are is a just reported feature about the compressor system which puzzles me.

OE
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Old 8th Apr 2013, 08:41
  #1560 (permalink)  
 
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Anyone noticed that after all the sudden Boeing PR hoopla at the time the test flights were authorised, it's all gone awfully quiet from Boeing again for some time.

Wasn't it all meant to be done and dusted by now, according to Boeing statements last month ?
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