Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Boeing Dreamliner Catches Fire In Boston

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the but-it's-not-even-warm-in-boston dept.

Transportation 151

19061969 writes "The BBC reports that a Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire in Boston. Carter Leake, an analyst at BB&T Capital Markets in Virginia, said, 'I don't want to be an alarmist, but onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets.' This represents bad news for Boeing especially after the FAA identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings in the Dreamliner."

cancel ×

151 comments

With one fire (5, Funny)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517641)

The dreamliner turns into a nightmare. Film at 11.

Re:With one fire (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518275)

The dreamliner turns into a nightmare. Film at 11.

The Dreamliner is one of the most sophisticated planes ever created. It's going to have problems. I don't think it's a "nightmare", as the FAA fully qualified it for flight. These are the kinds of problems you can only find when it's in production.

Re:With one fire (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518507)

Every commercial plane is "one of the most sophisticated" when its first created, as no customer will accept last years technology with last years performance.

That said, there have been plenty of issues on the 787 which should not have made it to production - the QA issues that have hit over a dozen aircraft, numerous technical faults and electrical system issues etc etc etc. These are the things that the route proving part of the flight test regime are meant to find, but for some reason they haven't. If this most recent fire is due to a design fault rather than a production fault, then the FAA will be looking at their certification requirements more stringently, as they were updated for the 787s certification requirements.

Re:With one fire (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518839)

... there have been plenty of issues on the 787 which should not have made it to production - the QA issues that have hit over a dozen aircraft, numerous technical faults and electrical system issues etc etc etc.

I fully agree. Yes, all planes have issues when they're first deployed. For example, it was discovered that some parts of the wing structure on the A380 needed to be strengthened in order to meet the fatigue lifetime. However, this is not the kind of thing that would have caused failures in flight - it's a long term fatigue issue that was discovered years before it would have caused a problem. Issues like this are common since strength/fatigue vs. weight is such a difficult compromise on aircraft. 787 issues have been more the kind of thing that should have been fixed during design and testing.

The problem with the 787, and the reason that it was years behind schedule and has so many problems, is that the executive geniuses at Boeing decided to outsource as much of the engineering as they could ("outsource" here referring to both domestic and offshore outsourcing). Many of the companies that engineering was outsourced to simply didn't have the expertise. Large airliners are not exactly the kind of thing that every job shop and subcontractor has the know-how to design. There are only two companies worth mentioning in the world that do.

The only way they got the 787 out the door at all (and stemmed the financial bleeding of Boeing) was by taking emergency steps to find a large cadre of engineers who had decades of deep experience in airliner design. They found them at (surprise, surprise) Boeing! Golly, you mean there was some wisdom to the way the world's most successful airliner manufacturer has designed planes for decades? Whodda thunk it? No doubt the top execs at Boeing will get large bonuses for discovering this brilliant last minute solution, and blame Boeing engineering for the problems that do remain.

Re:With one fire (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42519535)

Yes- this ^

I live in Boeing's former home town (Seattle) and it may be sour grapes, but the buzz I hear here is that the other/new assembly site in South Carolina is an amateur hour kind of thing. Boeing set up shop there because of the union workers here, and the quality went away. I hear from labor and management folks both that Boeing is no longer in the aircraft business- they are now in the vendor management business, and there are no effective mechanisms for enforcing quality or delivery timeframes.

Re:With one fire (4, Interesting)

Martin Blank (154261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519767)

There was an article a couple of years ago where Boeing said that "the process is the product." They truly believed that managing the process of building the plane was a more important product over the plane itself. I've seen so much of this kind of thing that I used it as an example of process management gone wrong where I worked, and it triggered an interesting discussion and some changes in how IT marketed itself to the rest of the enterprise.

Re:With one fire (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520591)

Well, if quality "went away" with the new FAL in SC, then I hate to think just what those generating the "buzz" think is acceptable quality in the first place, considering some of the atrocious rubbish that happened on the Seattle FAL during the 787s development - fires, reworking after reworking after reworking, and now all of the QA issues which can be found on Seattle originated airframes (the QR and UA related fuel system issues for example)...

Ouch, is all I can say.

Re:With one fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522361)

the buzz I hear here is that the other/new assembly site in South Carolina is an amateur hour kind of thing.

That's what happens when you outsource to third world sites...

Re:With one fire (2)

kilodelta (843627) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519689)

Very interesting post. Of course outsourcing cannot be applied to EVERY project. There's a certain amount of cultural knowledge that gets completely lost in the process when you're building something as complex as an airframe. And as you so point out, the Execs at Boeing completely screwed the pooch!

Re:With one fire (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519761)

The problem is, there are categories of problems which are acceptable to find after certification, and there are categories of problems which are not acceptable to find after certification - fatigue life issues that manifest after the initial certified inspection window (the window between certification and the first deep inspection of the first inservice airframes) are acceptable, because they do not pose an undue risk to the aircraft before they can be discovered. This is because the fatigue testing of a new airframe design continues well beyond that of the certification testing, which only tests for such things as ultimate strength etc while fatigue life, inspection periods etc are done off the basis of longer term testing.

Components causing fires are in the category of things that should have been discovered during the certification period - there should be no risk from components like that for inservice aircraft, thats the point of certifying the compoments...

Out of all the problems the Boeing 787 has suffered over its so far short life, the bulk of them have not been engineering issues - only two major issues have been linked to engineering quality, and that is the side of body join problem and the initial arcing problem which caused the first airborne 787 fire during testing.

The 787s wing, designed and built by the Japanese, has proven to be better than expected spec wise.

The 787 fuselage sections built by Spirit have proven to be bang on spec.

There have been a few QA issues with the empennage and other parts, but nothing major.

The major problems stem from the decision to roll out the 787 as an essentially mocked up CFRP model on the 7/8/07 - rather than wait for the build process to proceed in the planned stages, management pushed for the aircraft to be ready for the public reveal. This lead to non-aviation-grade materials to be used to mock it up, and the aircraft had to be essentially rebuilt in the most difficult way possible afterward. This management decision made a 3 month delay into a 18 month delay.

Re:With one fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520661)

Still, I think we're in the downward slope that comes at the beginnings of all bathtub curves. Once they get the QA issues ironed out, they ought to bottom out that curve. Let's hope it is soon.

Re:With one fire (2)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520005)

Every commercial plane is "one of the most sophisticated" when its first created

And which automobiles have the most obscure, complicated, frequent problems? It's the super advanced once with 500 sensors and 1000 stupid, needless features.

Re:With one fire (3, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520305)

It would seem you have a selective memory about the reliability, economy and safety of older vehicles :)

Re:With one fire (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518899)

Of course the next line would be: "If you thought the Dreamliner was flaming before, just wait until you hear what happened in Boston."
I think this is the end of anyone ever flying on it. One little tiny fire or malfunction and customers write it off as a death trap for decades and the tickets are unsellable. They might as well paint Hindenburg on it at this point.

Re:With one fire (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519803)

The flights sell out regularly, quickly, and well ahead of the flight times. Despite this, I'm still planning on flying on one on a trip in either April or May.

Re:With one fire (0)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521513)

I call dibs on your UID.

Re:With one fire (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518989)

Why am I reminded of the novel "Airframe"?

Re:With one fire (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42519523)

I guess their dreams just went up... *sunglasses* in a puff of smoke.

YEEEEEEEAAAAAAHHH!!!!!

Titanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517725)

I don't want to be an alarmist, but onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets.

"Ok, people. We have a situation on our hands, mmmkay? There is nothing to be alarmed about. When you're done eating, please have a chat with your cruise representative to get an update on what's happening. Here are some free drink vouchers."

Re:Titanic (4, Insightful)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517845)

| "onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets"

Hmm... I'm sure a missing wing, or rapid loss of pressure due to a collision, or massive power failure, or lots of other things could be a lot worse than a battery fire.

Am I correct in assuming TFA doesn't know what on earth (or off it) they're on about?

Re:Titanic (4, Insightful)

SomePgmr (2021234) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517959)

Yeah I'd say, "The airline said that no passengers or crew members were hurt as they had already disembarked." puts the kibosh on "as bad as it gets [on airplanes]".

Re:Titanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517961)

A plane full of nuns crashing into another plane carrying girlscouts over Somalia would strike me as worse.

Re:Titanic (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518525)

A plane full of priests and boy scouts... Nevermind, that's simply too terrifying to contemplate.

Re:Titanic (2)

Martin Blank (154261) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519837)

Orphan Girl Scouts. Gotta have the orphans in there.

Re:Titanic (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518125)

Actually, they are as bad as it gets. Wing off, you die. Cabin fire, you suffer while knowing you're going to die. There is a distinct difference. Listened to the tapes; they still haunt me.

Re:Titanic (1)

djsmiley (752149) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518223)

Wing off..... you plummet towards the ground and die.

Fire?

Uhoh we are on fire, where can we land?

Re:Titanic (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518365)

Dear passengers: I have bad and good news for you. The bad news: we lost a wing. The good news: it was on fire anyway.

Re:Titanic (2)

rickb928 (945187) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518281)

Yeah, wing off, you watch the ground rise to meet you and you die.

Not sure which waiting period is worse. At least with a missing wing, you hope Sully is in the right seat and can figure out how to land on one wing. Fire is very hard to escape from on a plan, if it manages to find any occupied compartments. I suppose you could try climing, popping the oxygen masks, starve the fire, and hope the emergency oxygen system doesn;t catch fire. And other problems.

Given my druthers, I guess snakes may actually be the second-least problematic next to crying babies. Or being between an air marshal and a grandmother^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H terrorist.

Re:Titanic (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519443)

I wonder why they don't just put parachutes on a plane. In a catastrophic emergency going down on a parachute is much better than crashing into the ground. Even if some people break a leg, it's better than dying. Perhaps the space/weight trade off is too much for something that will almost never be used.

Re:Titanic (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520453)

Not the whole plane - you make the passenger compartment detachable and capable of parachute descent. It's been designed, shown to be workable, and calculated to be too expensive.

If there were lower barriers to entry, an airline might be started that had these kinds of planes and people who wanted to pay a premium for that kind of technology could choose to do so. There are many cheap bastards in the world, but many people will pay more to cover their fears, so it might work out.

Re:Titanic (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518295)

Sorry sir, you ARE an idiot.

An on-board fire in a location that is hard to reach or a fire that is hard to extinguish is one of the WORST things that can happen to an airplane. Yes, it is even worse than a massive power failure or rapid loss of pressure.

There have been several grave incidents due to fire, maybe you Google a bit: Flight 111, Flight 295, Flight 592 and Flight 797 come to mind.

Bottom line: Once a fire gets out of control or causes too much smoke, you're essentially doomed once you're in the air. So, a battery catching fire IS a big deal and as bad as it can get.

Re:Titanic (2)

webmistressrachel (903577) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518957)

1st off, it's Madame, not sir.

2nd off, every plane with two wings that lost a wing crashed. Not every plane that ever had a fire on it crashed. Go figure.

What's with the attacks too, who's an idiot now?

Simple logic puts your links to shame.

Re:Titanic (5, Insightful)

LeadSongDog (1120683) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519679)

Stop, you're both wrong.
1. This is not, by definition, an aviation accident: even the crew had deplaned.
2. Many parked aircraft have lost wings without crashing: all it takes is wind passing over the tarmac on the wrong vector.
3. A fire, even in flight, doesn't have to be the end of the world if the systems design detects the fire and limits its ability to spread. This was the principal lesson-learned from SR111, which has since changed material approvals for aircraft. SA295 was never adequately explained, so teaches us little, but evidently the firefighting routines were not followed. VJ592 was caused by illegally carried hazmat (oxygen generators) in the cabin. AC797 had many similarities to SR111 (insulation burning spread the fire), but the lessons learned were not applied to designs in time to prevent SR111. I'd blame the FAA's inaction on NTSB recommendations.

Re:Titanic (2)

HornWumpus (783565) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519847)

An Israeli Air Force F-15 lost almost all of one wing in a midair and was able to land. You can find video, it's insane.

Not exactly on point, many warplanes have lost big parts of wings and landed. Flying buses aren't in the same league.

Re:Titanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522311)

A F-15 generates almost a third of its lift from its lifting-body fuselage. Passenger liner fuselages aren't shaped to do that.

Re:Titanic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42519903)

Sorry madame, you're still an idiot. Let me explain a bit below...

First of all, what links?

Yeah, an aircraft that just loses a wing... Well, how often did that happen on a commercial airliner the last 50 years? And no, I'm not talking about an aircraft that loses a wing post-impact. It's just a stupid comparison and it proves the fact that you don't have a clue.

And if you do your research just a little, you will see that fire has been the cause of many deadly accidents in the past and still one of the greatest dangers for modern aviation. You're stuck in a pressurized tube, you can go nowhere from there. Toxic fumes, heat and systems failing due to fire damage are all but exaggerated and have happened in the past.

Big fires usually start small, so, a battery catching fire, even while on ground is still a big deal. And we're not talking just a small battery here, but a major big one. It is one of the two that essentially powers the whole or large parts of the plane... One of the major problems of such a thing is: it is hard to put out a battery on fire. And, to add to the situation: If a battery has an internal short circuit, it will not just stop producing sparks, heat and being a fire hazard, there is no off-switch. You just hope for the best... In a normal situation, you put it somewhere it cannot hurt anybody and keep away for a good while, but in a plane, good luck...

So, who's the idiot now? Still you. Why? Because of commenting without having a clue.

Re:Titanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42522039)

Saw your posts history troll. Simple logic put you away http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=3360735&cid=42512131 [slashdot.org] for your attempting to lie and cover up you trying to play expert and being shot down for it by your own mistakes.

Re:Titanic (2)

Capt.Albatross (1301561) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518363)

| "onboard fires on airplanes are as bad as it gets"

Hmm... I'm sure a missing wing, or rapid loss of pressure due to a collision, or massive power failure, or lots of other things could be a lot worse than a battery fire.

Am I correct in assuming TFA doesn't know what on earth (or off it) they're on about?

No, you are not correct, you are either over-estimating your expertise or over-estimating the importance of being pedantic.

En-route cabin or hold fires fall into the category of events that will almost certainly be fatal to everyone on board. With a slight application of analytical thinking, it is possible to see that a fire on the ground immediately raises the question of whether this could occur in flight.

Re:Titanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518493)

Thank god they got a capital markets analyst to comment on airline safety. I'd hate to think anyone would bother to as someone from, say, the NTSB.

CAPTCHA= "intruded". Oh yes, Carter Leake did.

Re:Titanic (1)

asylumx (881307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519111)

Also, an onboard fire while airborn is very bad but an onboard fire on an empty plain on the tarmac is not really so bad. Inconvenient and expensive, sure, but nobody will likely die from it.

Re:Titanic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42519579)

Hmm... I'm sure a missing wing, or rapid loss of pressure due to a collision, or massive power failure, or lots of other things could be a lot worse than a battery fire.

You left off Godzilla attack. Surprisingly common air travel hazard back in the 60s.

Re:Titanic (4, Informative)

bigdanmoody (599431) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519765)

Indeed, as a former aircraft mechanic, I know that all of the planes that I've worked on have taken fire safety very seriously. The Dash-8's that I've worked on have their batteries placed outside of the pressure vessel. Although I have not personally worked on a plane that uses Li-Ion batteries like the 787 does, my understanding is that aircraft that do use these batteries have numerous warning and safety features to prevent thermal runaway, which sounds like what happened here. Based on the very limited information in TFA, I hypothesize that if the flight crew had been on board, they would have noticed a battery overheat condition and could have taken appropriate action well before a fire broke out.

Re:Titanic (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518561)

This happened on the ground when plane was empty of people.

DC-10 (1)

pscottdv (676889) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521167)

I remember when an engine fell off a DC-10 departing from O'Hare and the aircraft crashed killing everyone aboard.. Does that count as worse?

MSM Strikes Again (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517797)

No idea how the fire started. No clue if it's a design issue or maintenance error. Scare quote from someone who's not in the airline industry. Check, check, and check.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (5, Informative)

Dupple (1016592) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517871)

From TFA

"The fire started after a battery in the jet's auxiliary power system overheated."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-20942484 [bbc.co.uk]

Re:MSM Strikes Again (3, Informative)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518007)

Totally unqualified "educated" guess: crew left the APU on even though it's supposed to be off after the engines are up to speed?

From what simulation and speaking with pilots I've gathered, usually you are "supposed" to turn the APU off after engine starts, though usually this is not done as it consumes a tiny fraction of fuel and gives you some wiggle room in the event of an engine failure.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (4, Insightful)

Rich0 (548339) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518169)

If leaving an APU turned on causes a catastrophic loss of the aircraft, then there is a design flaw.

However, I don't see how leaving one on should cause a battery to overheat. The batteries should be on circuits that limit currents appropriately, whether charging or discharging. This is an aircraft - not a plastic toy.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (1)

timeOday (582209) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518391)

I agree it's a design flaw, but is it something that could happen during-flight?

Re:MSM Strikes Again (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518599)

Considering that fire appears to have started in the battery of the APU, it could be a possibility. Battery fires are notorious for being somewhat unpredictable.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (1)

N!k0N (883435) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519069)

Boeing sourced their batteries from Dell?

Re:MSM Strikes Again (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519317)

No, but lithium batteries tend to have highly flammable lithium as base.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (1)

kilodelta (843627) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519853)

I recall a certain horror flight a few years ago. It wasn't the danger element but the frustration and boredom element.

We were coming from Norfolk, VA to Dulles. Driving to the airport I noted it was a stormy, rainy day and I commented that there was no way in hell we'd get back up north before the next day. How right I was!

We arrived at Dulles after our connecting flight for PVD had already left. Lovely. So I tried to get us on a Boston based flight. Sure enough, a 6PM flight to Logan was available and they switched us unto that. I figured we'd get into Boston and grab the MBCR/MBTA commuter rail back into Providence.

6PM came and went. No information whatsoever until about 10PM. Apparently they had to replace the APU on the damned aircraft. The flight didn't take off until after midnight the next day. We landed in Boston at about 2AM. No transit ran at that hour but a friend lived close so we called her.

The cherry on top? Our luggage got routed to Manchester, NH!

Haven't flown since.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (0)

fotoguzzi (230256) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521619)

Yeah, that damned Overrated mod. Why do you hate posts? They should all be modded up!

Re:MSM Strikes Again (5, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518309)

The aircraft wasn't departing, it had just arrived and the passengers and crew had deplaned.

Also, no certified crew on a commercial carrier leaves the APU running after its needed - it takes up substantially more than a "tiny fraction of fuel" and leaving it on for even a short haul flight can cost the operator thousands of dollars in extra fuel costs for just that one flight.

Here's a more educated guess: faulty battery underwent thermal runaway and caught fire, causing a minor explosion and a heck of a lot of smoke.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (4, Interesting)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518373)

Totally unqualified "educated" guess: crew left the APU on even though it's supposed to be off after the engines are up to speed?

From what simulation and speaking with pilots I've gathered, usually you are "supposed" to turn the APU off after engine starts, though usually this is not done as it consumes a tiny fraction of fuel and gives you some wiggle room in the event of an engine failure.

Seeing as how the plane was at the gate and the passengers from the ariving flight had deplaned, the engines better not have been up to speed or they would have had bigger problems. Usually if the APU is on while in the gate, it is because ground power is not available. This can happen, but running the APU is much more expensive than electrical ground power. As an educated guess (since I actually work on a ramp) I would assume the APU was not on. If the APU wasn't on, then a fire in the APU battery is definitely not good.

Re:MSM Strikes Again (1)

green1 (322787) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519615)

I guess the biggest question is still, could it happen in flight? (for example, if the issue was due to a charging circuit on that battery connected to the ground power, then in flight issues seem highly unlikely, however if it was a spontaneous short circuit or something then it could happen in flight and that is "really bad" (TM))

Re:MSM Strikes Again (2)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517887)

yeah, but this is a BBC story so you should trust it at face value

Lithium ion battery (5, Informative)

Dan East (318230) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517803)

It was one of the two large lithium ion battery packs the power the plane when the engines are off. The FCC and pilots were already concerned about the use of lithium ion batteries for this purpose (apparently it's a first), and they issued special regulations just for this plane.

Also the only person on board when this happened was a mechanic (which is probably a good thing at least someone was able to spot the smoke right away).

Re:Lithium ion battery (4, Funny)

SternisheFan (2529412) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517865)

It could've been worse, at least the battery fire occured after it landed. Statistically speaking, flying in an airplane is still far safer than flying in your own bathtub.

Re:Lithium ion battery (1)

Sez Zero (586611) | about a year and a half ago | (#42517947)

But if it was the ground power battery pack that powers the plane when the engines are off, how likely would it have started while flying?

Re:Lithium ion battery (3, Informative)

DieByWire (744043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518565)

But if it was the ground power battery pack that powers the plane when the engines are off, how likely would it have started while flying?

The battery in question doesn't power the aircraft. It's used to power the control circuitry and starter of the auxilary power unit (APU). The APU is a small turbine engine used to generate electrical power and high pressure bleed air for engine starting, or if additional electrical power is needed in flight ( follwing a generator failure, for example.)

I can't speak specifically to the 787, but APU batteries are typically always connected and kept charged in case you need to start the APU without any other source of power. I would assume it can be remotely disconnected as it can be on other aircraft, but once the battery is on fire electrically isolating it is not going to solve your woes.

An inflight fire, especially in an aircraft that could be three hours from shore, is a scary, scary thing.

Re:Lithium ion battery (3, Informative)

slinches (1540051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520179)

What you stated is generally true, but the 787 is somewhat of a special case. It uses a no-bleed [boeing.com] APU system which replaces most of the traditionally bleed-driven systems (e.g. engine start, cabin air and wing anti-icing) with electrical equivalents and probably needs a larger set of batteries and higher current (and/or voltage) wiring.

Re:Lithium ion battery (2)

DieByWire (744043) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521825)

Interesting - I knew the engines were no bleed but didn't realize the APU was also. Nevertheless, the point I was trying to make is that the APU battery is used for the APU, not for powering the whole aircraft when the engines are shutdown, and that it stays powered and charging even when the APU is not in use.

Re:Lithium ion battery (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521533)

Whatever happened to ejecting the warp core like on Star Trek? Just drop the flaming battery pack out the bottom of the aircraft, separate the saucer section and all is well.

Re:Lithium ion battery (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518997)

Or using a Sony laptop [techcrunch.com] .

Re:Lithium ion battery (4, Funny)

VorpalRodent (964940) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519125)

I was considering lauding your rigorous statistics, but I can't find anything to support it. The closest thing I can find is the fact that there have been zero deaths of human cannonballs in the last 18 months. This suggests to me that flying in nothing at all is better than flying in an airplane. While ducks and other seasonal game may disagree on the point, I would think that most other birds would agree that plane-less flight is actually safer on a per-mile basis.

Besides, bathtubs can't fly. That's just silly.

Re:Lithium ion battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520145)

Given enough thrust even pigs can fly, let alone the bathtubs.

Re:Lithium ion battery (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year and a half ago | (#42520927)

And just how many people have died from flying in their own bathtub?

Zero.

Re:Lithium ion battery (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517953)

We fly with Li Ion batteries; our big problem has been corrosion on the charging circuit. Other than the whole "catch on fire" thing, they're much safer than NiCads and Lead Acid batteries. Seriously, though, we've not had any in flight problems with them, but I have thrown out a NiCad that was swelling and smelling. Yes, I mean thrown out, from 35,000 ft, somewhere over the North Atlantic. Glad we had a door that opened in.

Re:Lithium ion battery (5, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518083)

...but I have thrown out a NiCad that was swelling and smelling. Yes, I mean thrown out, from 35,000 ft, somewhere over the North Atlantic. Glad we had a door that opened in.

Uh huh. Sure you did.

Re:Lithium ion battery (3, Funny)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518379)

I think AC is immune to all pressure effects.... don't you remember the time that AC escaped from the nazis by scuba diving out of a torpedo tube at 180 meters depth?

Re:Lithium ion battery (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519139)

It was so much fun, he did it eight times.

Re:Lithium ion battery (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518135)

how exactly do you open a door inwards on a pressurized hull? or, how do you manage to breath for more than 30 sec at 35k ft on an unpressurized one?

Re:Lithium ion battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518455)

Which reminds me of some scene in a movie. I think it was in a spaceship, and there was a distinctly inward-open door with an inscription "Danger! Vacuum!". Of course, the passenger could not resist opening the door and a vacuum cleaner fell on him.

Re:Lithium ion battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518695)

Re:Lithium ion battery (1)

chaim79 (898507) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521557)

I suspect he is referring to being able to open the door without the wind tearing it off the plane, for pressure they probably dropped oxygen masks for the passengers and used the pressure bleed valves to equalize with outside pressure before opening the door.

Re:Lithium ion battery (1)

argStyopa (232550) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518215)

AFAIK it's probably the most advanced passenger plane ever built, with a host of new techs and new ways of doing things.

That suggests it's going to have some teething issues.

Re:Lithium ion battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42519287)

New to Boeing. When Airbus introduced many of the same technologies and delayed the A380, Slashdot was full of ridicule. Now it's an American plane and a fire on board is "teething". Go figure.

Re:Lithium ion battery (1)

jeffasselin (566598) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519557)

You probably mean the FAA. I don't think the FCC has anything to do with regulating airplanes or batteries.

A bit alarmist and FUD (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42517971)

Citing a thing like "FAA identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings in the Dreamliner." when the actual fire, according to this morning's Boston Globe, was "[a] Small electrical fire..."

The article continues with "...no indication of smoke...", "...cleaners ...smelled smoke, notifying a mechanic...", and "...mechanic ... traced the smoke to a unit that powers the plain when it is on the ground with the engines off, but was unable to extinguish it."

Re:A bit alarmist and FUD (4, Funny)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518305)

Citing a thing like "FAA identified errors in the assembly of fuel line couplings in the Dreamliner." when the actual fire, according to this morning's Boston Globe, was "[a] Small electrical fire..."
This article brought to you by Airbus Industries.

Re:A bit alarmist and FUD (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518629)

The problem with "small electrical fires" is that they tend to become "large electrical fires" and eventually "catastrophic electrical fires" as fire propagates along electric cables quite fast.

Don't you worry folks! (1)

wolverine2k (2620741) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518033)

Don't worry folks. It is just that Boeing tried to use the same explosive technology as Apple is using with similar results! Now the sheeple will only travel the dreamliners. Win-win for all!

That's a hot ticket! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518039)

oh yeah

CE certified? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518051)

Let CE pay for it.

Serious. It is. (2)

udippel (562132) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518111)

Make it serious square. From what we have been told until here, at least.
First factor, fire is the last thing you want on a plane. Over.
Second factor, fire without clear-cut reason is what you don't want.
The commentator who seemingly played the matter down "The only person on board ..." is mistaken. If a plane can experience its batteries overheating beyond the temperature that incenses wild fire, without shutting the batteries off beforehand (no temperature control??), and when almost not in service (passengers and crew disembarked), it not airworthy at all.
In this sense webmistressrachel's comment is uncalled for. Losing a wing or pressure due to a collision is in a sense 'more normal'. Because the reason is clear-cut. But a fire out of the blue is simply a 'must not, ever'.

Clarification, please. (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518161)

Well, wait, how big of a fire are we talking here? If you go by the saying "where there's smoke there's fire," then I'd much rather have a guy sparking up in the bathroom (which people used to be able to do without hiding in the bathroom) over the plane FUCKING CRASHING INTO THE GROUND.

Re:Clarification, please. (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518647)

About the only way for that plane to "crash into the ground" would be if the landing gear somehow broke. The plane was sitting on the ground when fire started.

Makes you wish (4, Funny)

Quila (201335) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518361)

you could open a window

Re:Makes you wish (1)

Baby Duck (176251) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519419)

If only I had mod points.

Re:Makes you wish (2)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521777)

Makes you wish you could open a window.

That's quite enough, Mitt.

'I don't want to be an alarmist' (1)

heatseeker_around (1246024) | about a year and a half ago | (#42518461)

"I don't want to be an alarmist, but we're all gonna die." Ok... Got it.

Dreamliner? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42518653)

More like Screamliner.

Dreamliner 1.1? (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519201)

The next release will fix some of the most obvious bugs.

Cetlics and Sox? (1)

antdude (79039) | about a year and a half ago | (#42519413)

Were they on it like fans, players, etc.? :P

If it ain't Boeing... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42519749)

...I ain't goi... oh wait

Oh for pete's sake (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42520889)

The article title should be:

"Defective Battery causes fire aboard a Boeing Dreamliner."

Shit happens. It's not the airplane.

Another One Today (4, Informative)

MichaelJ (140077) | about a year and a half ago | (#42521397)

Another Dreamliner just got a fuel leak and dumped a good mess all over a taxiway at Logan until the engine was shut down. Not a good week for 787s in Boston.

Nice journalism... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42521683)

A minor smoke condition in the cockpit of an aircraft parked at the gate with 1 soul (maintenance crew member) aboard does not equal "Boeing Dreamliner catches fire in Boston holy fucking shit!!!"

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...