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FAA To Investigate 787 Dreamliner

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the bad-news-if-you-like-really-exciting-airplane-rides dept.

Transportation 237

Dupple sends word from the BBC that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration will be conducting a safety review of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner after a number of incidents have called the aircraft's hardiness into question. "An electrical fire, a brake problem, a fuel spill and cracks in the cockpit's windshield have affected Dreamliner flights in the past week. ... The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one of the most advanced aeroplanes ever created. Much of it is made from very strong, light carbon-fibre composite material. However, a spate of technical issues has hurt its image. On Friday, two new problems were found, adding to Boeing's woes." A spokesman for Boeing said they were "absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787," and were cooperating fully with the FAA's investigation. The 787 went into service in 2011, and 50 have been delivered to various airlines since then, with hundreds more on order. Qatar Airways has received five of them, and it has criticized Boeing for manufacturing faults.

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A true union built aircraft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558345)

plagued with shortcuts.

Re:A true union built aircraft (5, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42558517)

Of course your post is both a troll and falimbait.

The 787 is built from components made around the world, mostly by non-union workers. The Boeing plant in South Carolina that does 787 assembly is non-union.

You are an idiot.

Re:A true union built aircraft (4, Interesting)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#42558717)

Actually, several months of the original 787 delay was down to the IAM union strike in 2008 which shut down the Seattle FAL (although the strike lasted just 8 weeks, the FAL took 3 months to come back up to speed) - the SC FAL was only chosen and built after this strike.

Re:A true union built aircraft (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42558769)

And the non union product is crap.

Re:A true union built aircraft (4, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#42558859)

Considering all of the aircraft that have thus far had issues came from the Seattle FAL, I'd say that the union product isn't much better - the fuel system is installed by union workers, it has had several major QA issues, the electrical equipment which was at the centre of the recent issue is installed by union workers.

I'm not particularly pro or anti union, but the arguments for and against unions in this thread are ridiculous.

Re:A true union built aircraft (0)

craigminah (1885846) | about 2 years ago | (#42558937)

Are you in any way affiliated with a union? I think unions have some merit but generally are a bad thing. Please disclose the source of your bias.

Re:A true union built aircraft (4, Insightful)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 2 years ago | (#42559051)

I'm guessing you're in the US where the role of unions seems a little more unhelpful. I get the impression over there they're all about protecting lazyness and wierd working practices. Elsewhere, they tend to do rather more good, working more constructively with employers and employees.

Re:A true union built aircraft (4, Insightful)

MillerHighLife21 (876240) | about 2 years ago | (#42559537)

The idea of unions vs the reality of unions just end up being very different things in the US.

Re:A true union built aircraft (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559605)

You mean the image of unions. You've been indoctrinated.

Re:A true union built aircraft (4, Informative)

ethorad (840881) | about 2 years ago | (#42559547)

I assume by "Elsewhere they tend to do rather more good" you're not including the UK. Over here in the UK they are also all about protecting lazyness and weird working practices such as holding back modernisation, reinstating bullies, etc

(I know this is a generalisation, and therefore I'm sure there are exceptions, however the biggies such as train staff in particular and public sector unions fall into this category)

Re:A true union built aircraft (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559231)

Erm, unions are generally a good thing. They protect the worker's rights and keep employers in line. You must be thinking of the neutered version of unions you guys have in the US. Then again, the US is a shithole when it comes to work, so it's not surprising for you to think that way.

Blaming Union Doesn't Add Up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559585)

Does a two month strike by the union result in a 3 year delay? In a word, no. If you look a little closer, you'll see that non-Boeing suppliers had a major impact on schedule.

Re:Blaming Union Doesn't Add Up (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#42559705)

And if you look closely at what I posted, you will infact see what I really said rather than something you think I said. I could point out a heck of a lot of stuff which happened on the Seattle FAL which was the direct cause of some of the delay, stuff which was done by union workers... Stuff which resulted in a fire, weeks of rework on built aircraft, months of slow production etc etc.

Re:A true union built aircraft (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558829)

Actually this is a beautiful capitalists' dream "free market" aircraft. Parts outsourced overseas, pitting one state against another for the purpose of paying workers less--it's all there.

Anybody who just wants to union bash over this is an unbelievable moron. Or a Tea Party Republican. Hard to tell the difference.

Re:A true union built aircraft (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559021)

Anybody who just wants to union bash over this is an unbelievable moron. Or a Tea Party Republican. Hard to tell the difference.

what an insult to unbelievable morons .. have some sensitivity!

Re:A true union built aircraft (0)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#42558683)

+1 idiot

Re:A true union built aircraft (-1, Flamebait)

crypticedge (1335931) | about 2 years ago | (#42558869)

Like the management shortcut of using non union labor, the biggest shortcut of them all!

Incidentally, the most catastrophic of them all too, causing unstandardized and sub par construction, all while harming the economy.

Re:A true union built aircraft (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558913)

So desinging and building something harms the economy? The economy would be better if this airplane was never built? Interesting angle you have there, can I subscribe to your newsletter?

Outsourcing Manufacturing (5, Interesting)

Liquidretro (1590189) | about 2 years ago | (#42558379)

I wonder if the manufacturing and quality problems has anything to do with the change on this plane that it is made all over the world, by tons of suppliers, then all moved to a common location for final assembly. This is a departure from the way Boeing has done manufacture in the past where most things are done under one roof.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42558503)

Possibly. But a lot of cars are built that way too, and while a process change for a business invariably has kinks to work out, that doesn't mean the move was the wrong one. Boeing was hemmoraging cash up until recently, and this switchover may save them a lot of money at the cost of some run-up problems.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (4, Interesting)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 2 years ago | (#42558553)

Possibly. But a lot of cars are built that way too

True, but note that in fact there are many many "recalls" for critical problems with autos every year. Yet there is a difference between an auto traveling on a surface road with 2 or 6 passengers, and a jet at 30,000 with 200 passengers. When one catches fire, it's going to be a little more catistropic than the other...

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42558691)

True, but note that in fact there are many many "recalls" for critical problems with autos every year. Yet there is a difference between an auto traveling on a surface road with 2 or 6 passengers, and a jet at 30,000 with 200 passengers. When one catches fire, it's going to be a little more catistropic than the other...

An apples to oranges comparison. I'm referring to the efficiency of the manufacturing process. You're referring to problems with the engineering and design process. Airplanes like this are built one part, one section, one plane, at a time. There's numerous qualifications and tests done at each stage of assembly. And the models don't change year over year, unlike cars. The 787 is being produced with interchangeable parts and have the same general appearance, function, and specifications, as the ones 5 or 10 years from now will.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42558803)

"Airplanes like this are built one part, one section, one plane, at a time."
no they aren't. Many parts are built at the same time and then assembled.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#42559443)

no they aren't. Many parts are built at the same time and then assembled.

*facepalm* part does not necessarily mean discrete component, dude. As in "part of a plane".

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (1)

Liquidretro (1590189) | about 2 years ago | (#42558581)

True, business conditions drove the decision and thats important, I just wonder if there are not enough checks in place etc due to the new system of manufacture.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42559761)

Normal mode of operation for cars doesn't include flying.

That extra degree of freedom is a big difference.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 2 years ago | (#42558667)

This is a departure from the way Boeing has done manufacture in the past where most things are done under one roof.

Boeing has been making parts in one place, from small ones like doors or control surfaces all the way up to entire fuselages, and shipping them to another for final assembly for many years now.

They started assembling 737 fuselages in Wichita and then shipping them by rail to Renton for final assembly back in the 80's. The production of smaller bits (doors, seats, empennage, etc...) overseas (notably in China and Israel) started back in the 90's. (And was a huge issue in one of the machinists strikes.)

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#42558911)

The difference is that the 787 is the first aircraft Boeing has attempted to build pre-stuffed fuselage sections off-site for, and assemble them into a completed aircraft at the FAL. Airbus has been doing this since the early 1980s, but Boeing still used their on-site build process for the 777 in the 1990s.

Boeings mistake was in changing the production methodology at the same time as changing the technologies involved - a switch to a higher aluminium content electrical wiring and the differing tolerances of such a move, new ways of grounding, new materials etc etc. suddenly the same assembly workers have to adjust not only their working practices but their skill set as well.

Li-Ion batteries are the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558771)

None of the above.

They're buying their batteries from a DELL supplier.

Re:Li-Ion batteries are the problem (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about 2 years ago | (#42559749)

Which totally can explain the fuel, brake, and cockpit window issues...

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558825)

The Airbus is built the same way, with pieces from all over the world. And considering the size differences, I'd say the Airbus is even more impressive.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558855)

I think it's deeper than that in general these days. I don't know if Boeing is guilty of these.

1. Engineers without the right mindset, graduating from school doesn't mean I'd trust the work for life critical systems. You should think and worry about every single possible failure case, and invent new ones.
2. People other than engineers making engineering choices. This is rampant in consumer segment.
3. The stockmarket. If you don't do your best to make it cheap and shiny, they sue.

Quite frankly I think number 1 is the biggest problem I've seen, I like contemplating complex problem scenarios, and people say I over-think it. And most importantly, this is an area where computers are virtually useless.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559003)

Quite frankly I think number 1 is the biggest problem I've seen, I like contemplating complex problem scenarios, and people say I over-think it. And most importantly, this is an area where computers are virtually useless.

Huh?? Software is replacing more and more hardware on these airplanes. And computing power is constantly increasing. I'd say computers are becoming VERY useful at finding and fixing failure modes. Of course you need intelligent, mindful people using these tools, but your statement that I quoted is simply not true.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559669)

Are you a software engineer? You certainly didn't get the grand-poster's point. The idea is that in the _design_ phase there are important points where CAD doesn't help much, like checking for failure possibilities that aren't part of your computer model. This is particularly true of things like a hidden lack of redundancy. A simple example is when redundant electrical, fiber optic or hydraulic lines are routed too close to each other in spots.

Re:Outsourcing Manufacturing (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559543)

I wonder if the manufacturing and quality problems has anything to do with the change on this plane that it is made all over the world, by tons of suppliers, then all moved to a common location for final assembly.

I think an even bigger problem is the way that the engineering was outsourced (whether domestic or foreign outsourcing). Even Boeing management eventually admitted they screwed the pooch on that one. In many cases subcontractors that were capable of manufacturing good parts were suddenly given the responsibility of designing them - an area where they had little expertise. There was also poor coordination between Boeing and these subcontractors. The only way they got this pig up in the air is by finally bringing in a bunch of engineers who had deep expertise in designing airliners. Surprisingly they found almost all of them at a company called "Boeing". Perhaps they should have used that company's engineering services all along.

Many of the mistakes made in the 787 design were downright amateurish, such as improper design of the wing attachment points (and extremely critical part of the design that Boeing had figured out decades ago). Though they got enough of these biggies out of the way to get certification, it doesn't surprise me that there are still lots of "little" problems left over.

FIRE! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558393)

How well does carbon fiber burn? I would think the large surface area would make a LOVELY torch.

Re:FIRE! (-1, Offtopic)

Cpt_Kirks (37296) | about 2 years ago | (#42558405)

Crap, I wasn't logged in.

D'oh!

Re:FIRE! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558621)

Crap, I wasn't logged in.

D'oh!

so?

Re:FIRE! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558761)

Apparently you are supposed to care. Logging in would lend the bullshit scare message so much more legitimacy. Moderators would be falling over themselves just to give it a +1 Informative or +1 Insightful. Slashdot would grind to a halt and Cpt_Kirks would be labeled a "Hero of the Internet". The GNAA would end its reign of terror and millions of lives would be saved. Justin Bieber fans would stop cutting themselves over his drug use. The world would be better.

But, no, it is not going to happen. He failed to log in and now we are all fucked.

Re:FIRE! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559077)

It certainly won't burn better than all the fuel in it. Not to mention that aluminium isn't exactly inert either.

Re:FIRE! (1)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42559115)

I imagine not very well if they add fire retardant to the resin.

Aluminum burns nicely, too - and can't be put out with water. Thing is, usually people are more concerned about the jet fuel, which makes up a large percentage of the weight of the plane itself and is meant to burn.

Dear Boeing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558399)

HaHa! Sincerely Airbus

Re:Dear Boeing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558429)

Scarebus, Screamliner - all the same mate

Re:Dear Boeing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558499)

"If it's Boeing, I ain't going"

(runs and hides)

Re:Dear Boeing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558699)

"If it's Boeing, I ain't going"

(runs and hides)

You got that right.
If it's a Boeing, reserve your grave. You'll need it shortly.

Re:Dear Boeing (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558641)

Ha ha? Did I miss Airbus releasing their first carbon fiber aircraft? No? Then they can shut up until they do. I seem to remember there being a couple of Airbus crashes in the past few years. Perhaps Airbus can focus on fixing their planes instead of laughing at Boeing.

Re:Dear Boeing (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559109)

Ha ha? Did I miss Airbus releasing their first carbon fiber aircraft? No? Then they can shut up until they do. I seem to remember there being a couple of Airbus crashes in the past few years. Perhaps Airbus can focus on fixing their planes instead of laughing at Boeing.

Don't get so worked up about this. For a long time we patiently listened to our American cousins gloating about the Airbus 380's problems and how well everything is going with their Dreamliner, then production delays happened and now this... and alluvasudden the gang on the other side of the grew awfully quiet. It's our turn to enjoy some schadenfreude you guys have been going to town with that since the A380 wiring fiasco.

Not good enough. (4, Interesting)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42558455)

It seems that most revoloutionary aircraft have nearly sunk the parent company. The 787 hasn't come close to sinking Boeing, so one can conclude that it's not good enough.

Sillyness aside, new aircraft always have teeting problems (the A380 blew up an engine during flight) and this is a particularly new and unusual aircraft. So, expect lots of teeting problems.

They'll probably be great when all those are ironed out.

That said, I've never seen an explanation as to how to do the equivalent of replacing a skin panel when the skyfood loading truck reverses into the plane.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558539)

That said, I've never seen an explanation as to how to do the equivalent of replacing a skin panel when the skyfood loading truck reverses into the plane.
 
Super glue. Duct tape. Saran wrap and a heat gun.
 
Those are a few of my guesses.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559039)

Re:Not good enough. (3, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 2 years ago | (#42559133)

Back in the day my friend's dad used to fly 707's (yes, it's a very old story) and whilst taxiing, they managed to gouge a chunk out a wing. This was at a US airport. They needed to get the plane to Australia to get the replacement wing so they moved the plane somewhere quiet at the airport and duct taped up the wing. They were told to be careful no one saw what they were up to. They then had to take off at night when it was quiet so no one could spot the bodged up wing.
.
My friend's dad was good at that sort of thing. Another time he lost 2 of the 4 engines flying over the UK and was told to dump most of his av-gas to lighten the load so he could land in France for repairs. That involved opening valves that let the gas pour out over the wings. It was bad enough he dumped most of his fuel over a populated area (nice, greasy, thanks mate) but he also had to do it in the middle of a raging thunderstorm. He got struck twice whilst doing the dumping. Amazingly, he and the plane survived to fight another day,

Re:Not good enough. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559263)

You don't use duct tape, you use speed tape, and it is qualified for these kinds of purposes.

Fuel dump evaporates before it hits the ground.

Re:Not good enough. (4, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 2 years ago | (#42559659)

Fuel dump evaporates before it hits the ground.

Fair enough but what's all the greasy residue you get all over your house, car etc if you live near an airport? General exhaust gunk?

Re:Not good enough. (4, Insightful)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42559303)

Not unbelievable at all.

Another related anecdote: I know of a structural engineer (friend of a friend) who wanted to photograph an old concrete shell hangar at Heathrow(?) before it was demolished, as it was an excellent example of tension shells.

Being from Cambridge, he was able to actually get to talk to people who would be able to allow such a thing.

They refused.

The reason is that it was full of aircraft in peices. Apparently, the policy is to not let on to the public that aeroplanes come apart and are in fact safe monolithic flying machines. They didn't want the risk of the photos getting out.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42559467)

LOL wow. There's what looks like a "small aircraft junkyard" at the airport nearest me. You can't see it from the terminal but you can drive by it or see it if you look out the right of the plane during takeoff.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559689)

Fly in any african air lines.... you'd be surprises how many pieces fall off during flight or after flight. Many of it are engine panels.

Hell, I've seen panels having both torx heads and phillips heads holding it to the plane. Thats an indicatin it fell off before.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558643)

> the A380 blew up an engine during flight
No, an engine which was attached to an A380 blew up during flight. The A380 didn't blow it up. It isn't even "part of" the A380 in the sense that it isn't designed or manufactured by Airbus or even bought from them (the customer negotiates the purchase with the engine manufacturer directly).

Re:Not good enough. (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42559167)

Aren't you being a little obtuse? The aircraft manufacturer works with the engine manufacturer and certifies only certain engines. Boeing didn't make the battery that caught fire, but they are still responsible for it.

Re:Not good enough. (5, Funny)

ibwolf (126465) | about 2 years ago | (#42558661)

They'll probably be great when all those are ironed out.

Or in other words; wait for the first service pack before flying...

+1 funny (0)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#42558711)

haha and its a good morning :)

Re:Not good enough. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42558831)

You jest, but that's not actually that far from the truth.

After a few years, they'll start making the 787-2 or some equivalent which will fly fine out of the factory. Many of the critical changes will be retrofitted on to the original 787s as well.

Re:Not good enough. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559045)

Thats not what happens. As problems are found and corrected, the FAA issues airworthiness directives (AD) that require the fleet to undergo fixes in a certain amount of time. Sometimes they ground the fleet until all aircraft are fixed.

Different model numbers usually refer to stretched versions of the same airframe. It cuts costs as stretching the fuselage isn't considered a new aircraft type, so you don't need to go through the whole type certification again. The 787-200 or whatever will carry more people. Airliners are designed with this in mind, engines and wings are oversized for the smaller models, and the type will grow eventually.

You can see this in the 737. there are 8 or 9 models, all of them are flown under the same type certificate.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42559255)

OK, I glossed over some bits.

There will various directives issued which will be fixed.

Probably reasonably soon, the base model wil be phased out. A new versionwill be introduced will all those fixes plus some new extra features. Like the 747-400, versus the original. It has all the older AD stuff integrated, plus new wings, instrumentation etc.

I's a different certificate but not that much different from 747 service pack4. Basically they've figured out how to get the most out of that basic airframe now.

Re:Not good enough. (2, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#42559411)

Uhm, no. The 747-400 is a derivative type of the 747-100, introduced by Boeing for the specific reason of updating the design, and it has now been superseded by the 747-8. AD based improvements make it onto the next plane in the construction process that can take it, regardless of the version - a 777-300 built today is a lot different to a 777-300 built a decade ago, it incorporates all AD changes and incremental design changes made to the baseline model in that time, but it's still a 777-300.

The 787-8 will be built for the next 25 years, the 787-9 is a stretched version already in design, and the 787-10 is a heavyweight version planned for EIS after the -9.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about 2 years ago | (#42559153)

They'll probably be great when all those are ironed out.

Or in other words; wait for the first service pack before flying...

...and don't ever book a flight on Patch Tuesday.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559183)

They'll probably be great when all those are ironed out.

Or in other words; wait for the first service pack before flying...

First service pack is not enough, wait 'til the second or third one.
Just remember, if the plane CRASHES you can't reboot it.

Re:Not good enough. (2)

ethorad (840881) | about 2 years ago | (#42559621)

Why do you think they make you close all the windows and reopen them during a flight? It's because the pilot's control panel has frozen up

Re:Not good enough. (4, Interesting)

mcgrew (92797) | about 2 years ago | (#42558735)

Indeed, I was stationed at Dover when the first C5-As were rolled out. You wouldn't believe the trouble they had... landing gear not coming up/down, engines falling off, fires, hell even one of the giant cranes that serviced the aircraft's tailsection fell over at another base and killed two guys, grounding the whole fleet of C5s for a few weeks.

A year or two later they pretty much had all the bugs ironed out. After that the worst that happened was one poor guy I worked with was towing one and hit a hangar door with a wing and did ten million dollars worth of damage (he got off the hook, the wing walker got the blame).

Re:Not good enough. (1)

A10Mechanic (1056868) | about 2 years ago | (#42559431)

Having flown on C-5's several times, I concur!

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559739)

The military has always been willing to accept new aircraft designs with more kinks and problems than are acceptable to an airline buying a new airliner design.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42558819)

Don't confuse the engine with the aircraft. Generally the manufacture recommends an engines, but the customer can pout whatever engine they want' into it.

Re:Not good enough. (3, Informative)

serviscope_minor (664417) | about 2 years ago | (#42559125)

Don't confuse the engine with the aircraft. Generally the manufacture recommends an engines, but the customer can pout whatever engine they want' into it.

Only up to a point. The planes are genrally available with only a very small number of engine options. Also like with many big new aircraft the trent 900's were made specially for the A380. Though of course RR will hope for new customers, too.h

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#42559453)

Actually, anyone can certify a new engine-airframe combination, not just the airframe manufacturer, so if someone wants to put a Trent 900 on a Boeing 767 and they find a safe way to do it, they can put it forward for certification just the same as Boeing.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Checklist (2680313) | about 2 years ago | (#42559123)

Wouldn't matter how advanced the plane is-you will still get 2 inches of legroom,crappy food, rude personel etc,etc as part of your flying experience

Re:Not good enough. (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42559521)

2 inches of legroom? Oh Mr. Fancy-pants business class has come to brag about his legroom.

Re:Not good enough. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559763)

Wouldn't matter how advanced the plane is-you will still get 2 inches of legroom,crappy food, rude personnel etc,etc as part of your flying experience

I agree. When flying coach long distance I've often felt that death wouldn't be such a bad option. Perhaps this can be sold as a feature of the 787.

Re:Not good enough. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559539)

The Trent 900 that "blew up" was due to a mechanic not following the proper procedure during routine maintenance of the engine. Rolls Royce went to a fair amount of time and effort verifying the failure, and coming up with a solution to the issue. The engine was tested again with the modifications and did not show a single problem at all. I know this as I spent some time with several Rolls Royce engineers who were part of the retesting program. I have no problem flying on an A380.

Not a big deal. (2)

T-Bucket (823202) | about 2 years ago | (#42558467)

It's really not that big of a deal. I've had all of those problems on a SINGLE TRIP in the embraer. (Ok, the electrical issue was caught before it was an actual fire, but still). It's a new type, this kind of stuff happens.

This was to be expected (3, Informative)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | about 2 years ago | (#42558495)

Whenever you introduce new technology on an aircraft design, you open the door for problems you haven't seen before. If you introduce a lot of new technology, you get a lot of new problems, some of which are almost certain to catch the public eye. Look what happened to Airbus on the A320 some years back!

They'll no doubt find the problems, but more are likely to occur. Whether Boeing is able to maintain a good image for the airplane is another question.

Re:This was to be expected (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 2 years ago | (#42558681)

Whenever you introduce new technology on an aircraft design, you open the door for problems you haven't seen before.

This is very true for many things.

The problem with applying your premise to this situation is that the aspects these craft are having problems with (brakes, fuel lines, windshields, electrical wiring) are old, well-established technologies.

Re:This was to be expected (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 years ago | (#42558767)

If your A320 comment is related to the famous crash video, that had nothing to do with the aircraft - it was the pilot which screwed up there.

Too Radical (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558497)

You either build a radical new airframe with cutting edge materials and do it in-house OR you radically outsource your operation to cut costs building a traditional airframe. Boeing chose to do both. This is the result.

Re:Too Radical (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#42559687)

You either build a radical new airframe with cutting edge materials and do it in-house OR you radically outsource your operation to cut costs building a traditional airframe. Boeing chose to do both. This is the result.

Why is it better to build up knowledge and processes for cutting edge technology in-house rather than using a vendor that already knows how to do them?

Nothing in the new stuff (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558537)

The really new technology is the carbon fibre used in the aircraft. Not seen any reports of faults with that yet though.

787 is safe. When composite burns it releases... (4, Informative)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about 2 years ago | (#42558639)

Balanced information:

U.S. regulators say Boeing 787 is safe but needs review. [reuters.com]

FAA Orders Review Of Boeing 787 Dreamliner [npr.org] quote: "... we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents."

A bigger issue: When composite burns it releases poisons. I haven't seen any discussion of Boeing's view of that. Here is a PDF file: Postcrash Health Hazards from Burning Aircraft Composites. [aviationfirejournal.com]

There is NO intent in saying that to imply that a 787 might crash. But if there is a runway or other accident, would passengers be less likely to survive?

Re:787 is safe. When composite burns it releases.. (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 years ago | (#42558841)

"When composite burns it releases poisons. "
unlike everything else?

Re:787 is safe. When composite burns it releases.. (4, Insightful)

MightyYar (622222) | about 2 years ago | (#42559185)

I start my day by inhaling the fumes of jet fuel and aluminum, myself. Would never touch that composite smoke, unless it came from carpet, upholstery, and cabin interior plastics.

Re:787 is safe. When composite burns it releases.. (1)

ericloewe (2129490) | about 2 years ago | (#42558849)

Everything that goes on a plane is made not to burn. I'm sure they tried to light a mock fuselage on fire to see what happens.

Re:787 is safe. When composite burns it releases.. (1)

swalve (1980968) | about 2 years ago | (#42559245)

If the outside of the plane starts burning, then the people that were inside probably don't have many worries left.

Releases poisons - misrepresents the design (5, Informative)

ace37 (2302468) | about 2 years ago | (#42559491)

You seem to be under the impression fires in composite aircraft pose a risk of poisoning or harming passengers.

It's not that simple though. Composites (FRP) are made from a fiber and a resin, which can be thought of like a glue. Most plastics can be used as a resin. On an aircraft, they use many different resins in different places as they are tailored to the local requirements. Also, these plastics are subjected to a number of tests that are used to determine toxicity in a few reasonable ways; most of them concentrate on what happens when we burn the plastic.

Near passengers, they have requirements ensuring the parts are self-extinguishing in a short (1 minute) time frame and have no toxicity in their smoke (The flammability test is UL 94, V0 is a typical requirement; I forget the smoke and toxicity test numbers I've used). So the plastic that holds your luggage above your head is made of a less weight-efficient material because it must meet design requirements focused on passenger safety in the event of a cabin fire. And of course, in the middle of the wing, it doesn't much matter if the smoke from a fire would make a passenger sick--passengers aren't anywhere near there--but fuel is probably nearby, so the design requirements and fail-safe measures for flammability and smoke are different there and in other zones of the aircraft.

In the paper you cited, note that the focus was on emergency response personnel. If as a passenger you're exposed to such an explosion, respiration of the fibers that carry potentially toxic plastics isn't the top concern - if you're inhaling that, I would be wondering what punched a hole in the fuselage and how many people are dead. The respiration and other hazards are a big deal to a ground crew or fire department who would put out non-crash-related fires. But the words in bold, "A bigger issue: When composite burns it releases poisons," are easy to misinterpret as a major passenger safety hazard unique to this aircraft.

Re:Releases poisons - misrepresents the design (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 2 years ago | (#42559701)

It certainly would not be unique as of course Airbus also uses composites in the A380.

Re:787 is safe. When composite burns it releases.. (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 2 years ago | (#42559649)

"... we are confident about the safety of this aircraft, but we are concerned about these incidents."

Unless the wings were about to fall off they couldn't say anything stronger. That's the way it works when your biggest national aircraft manufacturer has a problem. The FAA don't want to cause panic or lost sales, but at the same time need to cover themselves if something does happen.

So basically we can't tell anything from their statement, and assuming their obviously biased opinion is "balanced" isn't so smart.

Outsourcing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558693)

USA quality made in China, put together by average Joe who thinks he's a rocket scientist.

Did They Install the Latest Firmware Update? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42558949)

Please download the latest firmware release available for your airplane from the Boeing support website and retest.

Stating the obvious (3, Interesting)

clickclickdrone (964164) | about 2 years ago | (#42559015)

A spokesman for Boeing said they were "absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787,"

Why do they ever bother with these quotes - what else are they expected to say? As Mandy Rice Davies once said when asked to comment about a Lord denying he had anything to do with her, "Well, he would, wouldn't he"

Re:Stating the obvious (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#42559711)

Corporate spokespeople would be among the easiest to replace with a small shellscript. In fact I'll start right now with this piece based on part of a disk status checking script I use on my home server:

DANGER=`echo -n "$1" | grep -i 'break\|broke\|caught fire\|failure\|fell off\|no signal'`
if [ -n "$DANGER" ]
then
echo "We are absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the $PRODUCT"
fi

Classic 2nd system effect (2)

cryfreedomlove (929828) | about 2 years ago | (#42559033)

The 787 is having problems because of the bloated feature creep that went into its design. It will eventually be seen as a classic example of 2nd System Effect [wikipedia.org] .

New name for 787 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559091)

Instead of the Dreamliner, maybe we should start calling it the 787 Screamliner?

Legalization of Pot in Washington Quality Control? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42559513)

Didn't Washington State pass a referendum in the last election to legalize the use of pot?

Considering that Boeing is in Washington State wonder how that affects quality control in the manufacture of these planes?

It might explain Microsoft though.......

Part of that race to the bottom.

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