Don your anorak and get technical about airplanes.
#835129 by Tinuks
17 Jan 2013, 05:50
It's not just bad news for Boeing. It's major bad news for many airlines, insurers, etc. Imagine the difficulties a carrier like Thomson will face. This will of course also push back delivery dates for airlines like VS that are eagerly awaiting delivery of their 787s
#835149 by Concorde RIP
17 Jan 2013, 11:10
Yep - predicted this in the other thread.

The FAA had little option, but I did wonder whether they would have the guts to do it - it being Boeing and all!

Flip side is too bad to consider - FAA doesn't act, a run away battery causes in flight fire mid Pacifici....doesn't bear thinking about and leaves little option to the regulator.

Now, the really big question is - how systemic are the issues and how easily rectified and how large are the weight/engineering/refit consequences...
#835160 by joeyc
17 Jan 2013, 12:15
It is interesting how Boeing are sticking to their guns that it is a safe plane :?

It clearly needs to be given another phase of testing and whilst yes it will delay the delivery and roll out, but that is a damn sight better than the alternative..

Note what the CEO says about "assuring" the public and customers.. still not admitting there are problems or even that they are committed to fixing them.. ii)

Looks like we will be waiting a while to see how the new UCS fits in on the Dreamliners... the debate continues :P
#835166 by slinky09
17 Jan 2013, 13:21
joeyc wrote:It is interesting how Boeing are sticking to their guns that it is a safe plane :?


It is, none of the issues so far has led to an accident and fundamentally it is a safe aeroplane albeit with some questions to be addressed specifically on the type of Lithium batteries used and their associated electrical systems. You might say there is a risk, and there may well be, but the cause of the problems is not yet established and when it is I am certain there will be a fix. That doesn't make it unsafe. Do you have specific evidence that it is unsafe?

joeyc wrote:It clearly needs to be given another phase of testing and whilst yes it will delay the delivery and roll out, but that is a damn sight better than the alternative..


Why? Testing what - the whole aeroplane? I think you're premature, better to wait until investigations are complete before jumping the gun on that one. The grounding seems to be to be a prudent move while issues are investigated. And with 48 planes delivered you might say it has been rolled out.

joeyc wrote:Note what the CEO says about "assuring" the public and customers.. still not admitting there are problems or even that they are committed to fixing them.. ii)


It's a bit difficult to 'confess' to problems that are not yet know or understood.

There is undoubtedly a concern after several either related or unrelated issues in a short space of time - I'd give the experts their space to determined if there is a generic issue that needs correction. Until then I'd remain wary but certainly not damning of what is a fantastic aeroplane.
#835176 by Concorde RIP
17 Jan 2013, 14:19
Agree Slinky - the deep dive needs to happen and gain some facts about the issue - whatever it is.

The one disturbing thing I read from Boeing, and I'm paraphrasing (which is always dangerous), strongly implied that the overheat/fire risk was understood, but that Boeing felt the containment measures in place were sufficient to "keep the plane in the air". Now, I don't know about you, but this seems to accept the risk of battery run away, the mitigation being that the containment is adequate - I'm not entirely comfortable with that stance, I'd rather have seen the overheat/fire risk reduced at source.

But then, I'm not a plane/eletronics/chemist/aviation-regulator, so there must have been a close focus on this at some stage in the development/test phases.

I'm confident that there will be teams, even now, looking very closely at this and coming up with a solution once they understand the underlying issues, I just hope that commercial considerations of time and cost do not unduely outweigh the quality of the solution.
#835179 by joeyc
17 Jan 2013, 15:12
Apologies Slinky, and to anyone else that may read my posts some times and think why the hell is he making such a sweeping statement and leaving it at that... usually happens when typing up an opinion in brief and in a rush.. I will try to put a dampener on my enthusiasm from here on out, please do forgive me though if I slip back into old habits at some points.

Agreed none of the mishaps so far have led to loss of life or real injury which is a good thing, however I would argue that a safe plane is one that does not have these little mishaps so soon off the assembly line that lead to emergency landings in the first place.. Just my view, if it were truly a safe and fully functional piece of equipment none of this would have happened barring a freak accident here and there... the frequency of mishaps of late points to some underlying problem.. perhaps in quality of materials used, some corner cutting on the production line etc.. I'm no engineer so will leave the diagnostic work to the pros :P

My evidence?? Fuel leaks from two seperate valves, electrical system failures, brake problems, cracked cockpit window, malfunctioning warning system, battery troubles.. **consult any newspaper from the past week I am sure I have missed one or two :| ** whilst all these can be classed as teething troubles, imagine what would happen if you had a fuel leak as a battery was overheating or wiring begun to malfunction.. the consequences would not be too safe then n( Perhaps I am being overly cautious.

By testing, I was thinking stress testing the componant parts of other 787s against those that had already malfunctioned (not the whole plane :P ), just to see if there was a problem with a particular componant or batch.. but then again I am no engineer... I would like to test to try to fix the problem as opposed to ignoring it hoping it went away. ?| ?|

Hmmm, 48 planes out of how many ordered??? over 800 is it now? I would say they are still in rollout phase.. they haven't even been commercially flying a year yet, so there are bound to be teething troubles..

My note on assuring customers was specific to the word choice.. to me 'assure' implied some kind of spoken or demonstrated fact/fiction as opposed to a commitment to fixing any identified flaws.. as concorde stated there appears to be a bit of 'acceptable risk' going on at Boeing regarding the safety and containment measures. Whilst it is good they are in place, it is really dangerous when you start relying on the backups to keep the plane in the air full time, what happens when the backups fail.. also renders any kind of primaries pointless.. again no engineer here just following it through logically.

Basically Slinky, just airing on the side of caution here is the best move possible. You appear to agree as you judge the grounding a prudent course of action.. I certainly wasn't damning it to the footnotes of history :?

Soo all agreed.. safety first :P
#835180 by slinky09
17 Jan 2013, 15:24
Concorde RIP wrote:The one disturbing thing I read from Boeing, and I'm paraphrasing (which is always dangerous), strongly implied that the overheat/fire risk was understood, but that Boeing felt the containment measures in place were sufficient to "keep the plane in the air". Now, I don't know about you, but this seems to accept the risk of battery run away, the mitigation being that the containment is adequate - I'm not entirely comfortable with that stance, I'd rather have seen the overheat/fire risk reduced at source.


That to me is the nub of things - the FAA certified the aircraft on the basis of the design and testing and if that containment feature is shown to be unsafe or the risk assessment flawed, then I've no doubt it will change (or they'll change the batteries). If this is the case then I'd argue that it's not just a design issue, the risks were assessed and measure put in place to mitigate them, but rather a certification issue as well? Then again, these being a type of battery not used on a commercial aircraft before in this way the FAA is new to it too ... after all, we know that Li battery fires on cargo aircraft have led to loss of life, albeit in very different circumstances.
#835181 by Concorde RIP
17 Jan 2013, 15:50
Indeed Slinky - the two downed cargo planes due battery run away (not part of plane, but cargo themselves) have lead to the banning of li-ion batteries being transported this way. But yet, they are being used as an integral part of a passenger plane? You'd expect some very, very stringent mitigations and tesitng for that.

Lots of (probably unfounded) talk on other forums about Boeing and the FAA being too "friendly" with the implication that the certification was less than stringent.....unlikely to be sure, but a factor perhaps.

The final bit of the puzzle is what worst case scenario was actually tested. Again, on other forums there's some quite informed comment re the potentially explosive nature of such large capacity batteries and there heat generation capability. In partiuclar, did they simulate this or actually create the real situation to test their mitigation strategies? Don't know, and hope the deep dive will reveal.

Incidentally, I did read that Airbus were considering using similar technology on the A350 - so I'd imagine that Airbus will be watching developments very carefully indeed.

Anyway, it will take quite some time for the investigation to run it's course, and grounding in the meantime is unavoidable, not because the plane is necessarily unsafe, but because there's a potential and as yet unknown issue that could lead to a very serious incident.

I say again, let's hope that air safety overcomes commercial pressure (which will be huge), and that they don't dip on the wrong side of the line.
#835193 by jwhite9185
17 Jan 2013, 19:55
Having been on the Dreamliner twice, it will be a great plane in a few years when all the problems are ironed out. But for now Boeing certainly have more than a bit of egg on their face considering how late it was in the first place.

Although I do feel Boeing/the airlines may be laying it on a bit when they say it's a revolutionary product. For the airlines yes. For the passengers, I know that Joe Public wont notice any difference whatsoever. Mainly due to the fact that the guy I sat next to on one of my flights said as much. It was only when I started playing with the window dimmers he noticed something was different about this one.
#835201 by Concorde RIP
17 Jan 2013, 21:02
Way to early for airlines to change fleet plans based on this alone.

The investiation needs to run it's course, the fix(s) identified and possible delays to production understood.

Only then (ill the airlines re-evaluate.

In terms of new orders, airlines are likely to postpone decisions rather than change them at this stage.

More information is the key.

All just in my opinion though!
#835223 by G-VROY
18 Jan 2013, 00:29
Tinuks wrote:It's not just bad news for Boeing. It's major bad news for many airlines, insurers, etc. Imagine the difficulties a carrier like Thomson will face. This will of course also push back delivery dates for airlines like VS that are eagerly awaiting delivery of their 787s


I wonder what Thomson will do if the 787's don't arrive by the summer for the long haul leisure? I assume they don't have aircraft just hanging about just in case.. :?
#835224 by G-VROY
18 Jan 2013, 00:30
Concorde RIP wrote:Way to early for airlines to change fleet plans based on this alone.

The investiation needs to run it's course, the fix(s) identified and possible delays to production understood.

Only then (ill the airlines re-evaluate.

In terms of new orders, airlines are likely to postpone decisions rather than change them at this stage.

More information is the key.

All just in my opinion though!


I suppose this is the risk of being a launch customer or high up on the delivery list.. I hope the compensation is sufficient!
#835230 by McMaddog
18 Jan 2013, 01:21
Incidentally, I did read that Airbus were considering using similar technology on the A350 - so I'd imagine that Airbus will be watching developments very carefully indeed.

Airbus are being far more conservative on the electrical architecture on the A350 and given what has happened it could've been a shrewd move
#835479 by ilikebluesmarties
21 Jan 2013, 06:25
G-VROY wrote:

I wonder what Thomson will do if the 787's don't arrive by the summer for the long haul leisure? I assume they don't have aircraft just hanging about just in case.. :?


They have three 767's leaving the fleet the way they have arranged to sale/end of lease will be relatively easy to negotiate an extension, that being said plans are still in place to receive the aircraft on time. The first one has just come out the paint shop.
Last edited by honey lamb on 21 Jan 2013, 21:11, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Edited to fix quotes
#836379 by tonywestsider
30 Jan 2013, 05:44
jwhite9185 wrote:Having been on the Dreamliner twice, it will be a great plane in a few years when all the problems are ironed out. But for now Boeing certainly have more than a bit of egg on their face considering how late it was in the first place.

Although I do feel Boeing/the airlines may be laying it on a bit when they say it's a revolutionary product. For the airlines yes. For the passengers, I know that Joe Public wont notice any difference whatsoever. Mainly due to the fact that the guy I sat next to on one of my flights said as much. It was only when I started playing with the window dimmers he noticed something was different about this one.


Agree with what you are saying about the so-called revolutionary product. FYI: the window dimmers were supposed to have been implemented on the Lockheed L-1011 Tri-Star in 1972. Window shades were actually used instead because the technology wasn't there yet to have L-1011s with window dimmers. The cabin pressure that Boeing touts so highly about is already on the Airbus A380. The A380 does not have the higher humidity but it does have similar cabin pressure. The GEN-EX engines that the 787 uses (if not Rolls Royce) is now used on the new Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental. The thing that is really different about the 787 are the wings and that the wings do change shape to match weather and flight characteristics. But, the 787 wing design is now being used on the 747-8i as well.
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