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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounded In US and EU

timothy posted about a year and a half ago | from the michael-crichton-did-it dept.

Transportation 301

Some Bitch writes "Following previous stories that the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration was to review the safety of the Boeing 787 and that Japan had already grounded their fleet, the FAA has issued an airworthiness directive which has been endorsed around the world with the fleets of all eight airlines flying the 787 now grounded. EADS (the parent company of Airbus) shares were up 3.9% at close of business." General Electric's call for more sifting of more data from more sensors might have some resonance right now within Boeing.

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Batteries (5, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619773)

How embarassing for Boeing to have a $200M plane grounded because of a battery problem. They should have bought quality OEM batteries instead of going for the cheap Chinese imports on EBay.

Re:Batteries (2, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619805)

One word: "Plastic".
-- The Graduate

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42619819)

*sigh* All right, hang on, I'll go dig out my old D-cells from the garage...

Re:Batteries (5, Funny)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619871)

I know you are trying to be funny, but you are just showing that you are ignorant racist. Try not to be both at the same time. The batteries are Japanese.

Young Doc: No wonder this circuit failed. It says "Made in Japan".
Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
Young Doc: Unbelievable.

Re:Batteries (1, Offtopic)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619949)

I know you are trying to be funny, but you are just showing that you are ignorant racist. Try not to be both at the same time. The batteries are Japanese.

Young Doc: No wonder this circuit failed. It says "Made in Japan".
Marty McFly: What do you mean, Doc? All the best stuff is made in Japan.
Young Doc: Unbelievable.

You didn't even point out the most glaring problem with my post -- the fact that Boeing *is* the OEM, so no matter what batteries they used, they are OEM batteries.

Re:Batteries (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620219)

Boeing is the OEM of the plane, (The plane! The plane!) not the batteries, any more than they are the OEM of the tires, or the switches in the cockpit, or a million other components.

Re:Batteries (2)

Zcar (756484) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620245)

Which mean, by definition, any parts Boeing puts in it as original equipment are OEM parts.

Re:Batteries (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620551)

So if Boeing would put snakes on a plane, would those be OEM snakes?

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620013)

Considering that the battery is just ONE of many problems, I doubt it's the manufacturer to blame.
Still, it's odd, don't these things get thorough testing? Once before being shipped to the client, and second before being installed in the plane?

Re:Batteries (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620157)

I know you are trying to be funny, but you are just showing that you are ignorant racist.

Ignorant yes; racist we don't have much evidence for. Nobody makes jokes about cheap Taiwanese batteries even though Taiwan is largely ethnically Chinese. By the time Japan had recovered to the level that China is at today it already had a reputation for quality. The reason is simple. Taiwan is a democracy with proper freedom of speech and so the quality of things made there has gone up massively. Japan mostly the same. If someone tried things like they get away with in China then someone would speak up. Things like the crap that goes on in China - deadly chemicals in baby milk - failing to buy properly made signalling equipment from Siemens to save a few euros and then trying to bury a train full of dead people - would never go on if Chinese people in China had control of their own destiny instead of a bunch of party plutocrats.

The racists are the people who say things like "democracy isn't suitable for China".

Re:Batteries (1, Insightful)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620673)

The racists are the people who say things like "democracy isn't suitable for China".

It isn't. But then it isn't suitable for the US either. The US was set up as a non-democratic republic, with voting. You vote on people who vote on people, who vote on laws. With the information age, there's no reason we couldn't vote on laws directly. We vote on electors, the electors vote on President. We don't vote for president because our vote is not one-man one-vote. Chinese people believe that professional politicians are better suited for making decisions. They are paid to have the high-level view. Giving the guy in the neighborhood that's torn down for the Olympic Village a vote on whether to do it is inappropriate. The politicians have a better view of what's best for China. At least that's how it was described to me by some Chinese people in China, when I asked (and they were certain I was not with the party or something silly like that, some didn't like it, but they understood the why).

Re:Batteries (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620517)

You're a whole lot of fun at parties, I'll bet.

Re:Batteries (5, Informative)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619967)

How does this get modded up? The batteries are Japanese (Yuasa) in origin, sourced by a French company (Alcatel/Thales).

Re:Batteries (4, Funny)

hawguy (1600213) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620011)

How does this get modded up? The batteries are Japanese (Yuasa) in origin, sourced by a French company (Alcatel/Thales).

But they still bought them on eBay, right?

Re:Batteries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620101)

No.

Re:Batteries (1)

aphelion_rock (575206) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620185)

How does this get modded up? The batteries are Japanese (Yuasa) in origin, sourced by a French company (Alcatel/Thales).

But they still bought them on eBay, right?

Ebay price is going up since this post: https://www.google.com/finance?q=NASDAQ:EBAY [google.com]

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620343)

Everybody knows they bought them from Radio Shack

Re:Batteries (1)

JWW (79176) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620405)

sourced by a French company (Alcatel/Thales).

There's your problem. I was burdened with working with Alcatel equipment in the past. Pure utter garbage.

Re:Batteries (3, Informative)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620589)

Sure.

Alcatel/Thales wrote the train control software for the San Francisco Municipal Railway (SF had to sue Thales to get their shit working even half-way decently), the in-flight entertainment for some (all?) of Air Canada's planes the last time I flew them (the whole system had to be rebooted repeatedly), and they designed the chipsets for the early popular DSL modems. I can't say I've got fond memories of any of these products.

Re:Batteries (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620445)

It's a joke, you stupid cunt.

P.S. Fuck China and everything in it.

Re:Batteries (1)

tehlinux (896034) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620449)

Strange meats, side of rice. Why are we splitting hairs?

Re:Batteries (5, Informative)

icebike (68054) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620217)

The problem isn't even conclusively in the batteries themselves. It may be the chargers used, the thermal cutoff, or simply overloading.

Some reports in the press [king5.com] suggest that the batteries are being recharged way too fast:

An inspection of the All Nippon Airways 787 that made an emergency landing in western Japan found that electrolytes, a flammable battery fluid, had leaked from the plane's main lithium-ion battery. Investigators found burn marks around the damage. ... The two incidents resulted in the release of flammable electrolytes, heat damage and smoke, the FAA confirmed. The release of battery fluid is especially concerning, safety experts said.

Once the electrolyte (which includes the lithium) catches fire it is very hard to put out. Boeing, knowing this provided special containment [ap.org] for these batteries, which has kept the fires from doing much besides destroying the battery (so far). However the risks are very real that this will be insufficient.

Large size Lithium batteries (over 8 to 25 grams of lithium) are not even allowed on aircraft as baggage or carry on, due to the propensity to burn when shorted or punctured, but some how Boeing talked the FAA into certifying this plane with these batteries to save a weight. Bad enough that these batteries are prone to catch fire when shorted, but Lithium fires are almost impossible to put out with the fire suppression systems found on planes [faa.gov] (page 9). How Boeing talked the FAA into allowing this on the plane (in multiple locations) is beyond me.

Re:Batteries (5, Insightful)

Dinghy (2233934) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620497)

How Boeing talked the FAA into allowing this on the plane (in multiple locations) is beyond me.

$$$$$

It is standard for Boeing (5, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620563)

As everyone should know, modern airliners are pressurized. Now it is generally considered a BAD idea if it was to depressurize in midflight by say a window or door blowing out. How do you make it hard for this to happen? Well, you make the door open to the INSIDE, so that when locked and the airplane is under pressure, the pressure will press the door INTO the frame, making it impossible to blow out. This is why airline doors open INTO the aircraft and NOT out.

Basic stuff right? Only a company with no care for safety would change it.

Well boeing did it, so they could shove more cargo in it.

But surely then they would build the door really really well and have it tested really really well?

no... they did not and a LOT of people died when the door inenvitably did blow out and brought down the airplane.

Boeing has ALWAYS taken shortcuts and never given a shit about the risk and the FAA has always let them get away with it. Read up on the cargo door, it took a second incident for Boeing to be told to fix it BUT it was allowed to keep the outside opening door despite it being an obvious weak area.

You have to remember that in airliners, the interests are so gigantic that there is gigantic pressure on the engineers to find shortcuts and for those who are charged to oversee safety to look away so that their nations industry isn't hampered.

Re:It is standard for Boeing (2, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620631)

How about you list some flight numbers or model numbers for such a claim.

Re:Batteries (1)

afidel (530433) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620573)

I wonder why they didn't go with LiFePO4 batteries, much less likely to combust and the ~20% lower volume density wouldn't have been that big a deal (and of course the price difference is a non-issue on something the cost of an airliner)

Re:Batteries (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620663)

Price is a big issue on an airliner. They already cost so much letting anything slip would be bad.

The FAA is very slow moving, maybe they held it up. Maybe the batteries were not available when they planned this airplane years ago. Heck, maybe Boeing is getting kickbacks, who knows.

Re:Batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620665)

one answer: Battery Ejection :)
(Star Trek, Warp core ejection)

Forrest (0)

sycodon (149926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620379)

Well, it still hasn't crashed into a Forrest while landing...or not landing...or something.

Re:Batteries (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620455)

I fee their pain, I recently had a lithium iron phosphate battery go bad on me after only minimal use and keeping within voltage tolerances.

More than just a battery issue... (4, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619777)

The battery issue is front and center as it should be - if you have seen images of the melted battery it's pretty scary. But there are OTHER issues as well, from leaky fuel lines to bubbles and delam issues in the compositesâ¦

Re:More than just a battery issue... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620223)

post links to the pics! where are they?

Re:More than just a battery issue... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620385)

http://www.nycaviation.com/2013/01/ntsb-shows-off-burnt-boeing-787-battery/

Re:More than just a battery issue... (-1)

dijihoua (2818033) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620263)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] my buddy's mother-in-law makes $67/hr on the computer. She has been fired for 5 months but last month her income was $14166 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this web site

Re:More than just a battery issue... (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620525)

Was just reading on the 787 that leaked 40 gallons of fuel, that seems significant.

share movement causality questionable (5, Insightful)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619787)

Sure, EADS's shares are up, and since their major competitor Boeing had bad news today, perhaps we can speculate that "EADS shares up on bad news for rival Boeing", as finance journalists like to speculate. But you know who else's shares went up today? Boeing's. The stock market is weird, and a lot of factors go into price movements.

Re:share movement causality questionable (3, Interesting)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619953)

not really, the bad news is out. grounding all aircraft is as bad as it gets. can only get better

the 737 and lots of other planes have been grounded in the past. these are complex machines and its not a big deal to have initial problems

i grew up in the 80's and planes used to crash all the time killing all or most of the people on board

Re:share movement causality questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620003)

And this is supposed to make people increase their use of air travel?

"You think it's unsafe now, you should have seen how many charred bodies littered the countryside 20 years ago!"

Re:share movement causality questionable (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620041)

you can always drive

30,000 some people die on US roads every year

Re:share movement causality questionable (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620069)

I don't, I get into a large garbage pod (I think it's just a garbage can) and travel via pneumatic tubes. It's the safest way to travel.

Re:share movement causality questionable (4, Interesting)

Some Bitch (645438) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620065)

the 737 and lots of other planes have been grounded in the past. these are complex machines and its not a big deal to have initial problems

The last time the FAA grounded an entire commercial airframe was the DC10 in 1979, it is a very big deal. That said, I have no doubt Boeing will sort the problems and normal service will be resumed shortly.

Re:share movement causality questionable (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620315)

The Boeing 737 Classic series (737-300, -4-00 and -500) was grounded for a period of time in 1989 after the Kegworth crash - no, its not an "entire commercial airframe", because it didn't cover the earlier 737-100 and -200, but the airframes are so different that it could be considered such.

Re:share movement causality questionable (4, Informative)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620561)

That's a bit different. Even then, the DC-10 was very, very popular, and the method of grounding was very different. For the DC-10, they yanked the type certificate- it effectively became illegal to fly that aircraft. For the 787, it's a new aircraft, fairly experimental, and as for the grounding, it's an AD temporarily halting operations. Not quite as severe as revoking the type cert.

Re:share movement causality questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620511)

not really, the bad news is out. grounding all aircraft is as bad as it gets. can only get better

Yep. Market'll view this as 'known problem, known reaction, know they'll be working on fixing it, other planes are still ok'. That means you can measure the risk, build it into your calculations and hedge accordingly. It's uncertainty they hate because they don't know the risk yet.

Re:share movement causality questionable (0, Troll)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620617)

Not really. Having a plane go down and THEN having a grounding is as bad as it gets.

Having a plane with a structural failure is far worse than having a subsystem failure like this. Like the time back in 2005 when an Airbus 310 rudder came off over the Caribbean.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2005/mar/13/theairlineindustry.internationalnews [guardian.co.uk]

Or the cracks in the wings of the Airbus 380:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-16452878 [bbc.co.uk]

Or engines blowing off the Airbus 380 in 2010.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Latest-News-Wires/2010/1104/Airbus-A380-fleet-grounded-after-Qantas-jet-engine-blowout [csmonitor.com]

Or a cockpit electrical failure on the Airbus A320 during take-off.

http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_21378229/airbus-a320s-cockpit-problems-continue-since-faa-order [denverpost.com]

There are many things that are much worse than a battery fire.

Re:share movement causality questionable (4, Insightful)

anss123 (985305) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619955)

I had the same thought. Airliners aren't suddenly going to order A350s. They know the 787 problem will be worked out and new purchases are done years in advanced.

Re:share movement causality questionable (2)

Some Bitch (645438) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620107)

I had the same thought. Airliners aren't suddenly going to order A350s. They know the 787 problem will be worked out and new purchases are done years in advanced.

I think the challenge for Boeing will be when the next generation arrives, there may be slightly more reluctance to commit to purchases early in the lifecycle based on the experience of this airframe.

Re:share movement causality questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620275)

The 777 contained numerous design flaws. One in particular, build up of ice in the fuel system, was catastrophic. And yet here we are with a long list of customer for a new model. I do not believe this incident will reflect negatively on the future of Boeing and its products.

Re:share movement causality questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620355)

Yea it only takes one flaw or misstep to kill an airplane manufacturer. Oh what it doesn't. [youtube.com]

Re:share movement causality questionable (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620595)

We are now blaming manufacturers for user error?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_296 [wikipedia.org]

Pilot error, unless you are a conspiracy nutter.

Re:share movement causality questionable (1)

rabbit994 (686936) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620543)

All new aircraft have issues. A380 discovered cracks in the wings and engine problem when it first came out. Just like software, you try and test but some stuff is just not detected until it's deployed into the real world.

Re:share movement causality questionable (1)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619981)

Boeing shares are up too (1.24%) as of 15:34 Eastern time.

Re:share movement causality questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620431)

Boeing shares are up too (1.24%) as of 15:34 Eastern time.

But you know who else's shares went up today? Boeing's. The stock market is weird, and a lot of factors go into price movements.

You're obviously incapable of reading comments part the first sentence...

Re:share movement causality questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620519)

You're obviously incapable of reading comments part the first sentence...

You're obviously incapable of writing comments part the first clause...

Re:share movement causality questionable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620475)

BA is down 3.13% over the last 5 days (mostly from a drop Tuesday COB to SOB Wednesday when the actual grounding was announced).
EADS is up 9.42% over the last 5 days (mostly from a gradual increase starting on Wednesday).

Change the percent to actual $ and BA is down $2.43 per share and EADS is up $2.90 per share.

Both stocks have been "trending" up after the start of business on Wednesday morning. So if you did a 2 day analysis they would be going up mostly equally using only %'s.

And India (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42619795)

You forgot about India

all 767 of them ( http://i.imgur.com/Rq0Tp.jpg )

Fingers crossed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42619799)

Of course EADS benefits on news like this, but objectively Europeans and Americans alike must feel for Boeing. That amount of risk-taking and effort shouldn't go to waste. It would just be a travesty for all parties involved.

Re:Fingers crossed (1)

Some Bitch (645438) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620027)

Indeed, I was in Redmond for business purposes a few years ago and part of the arranged evening amusement was a guided tour of the Boeing museum. So many great aircraft came from Boeing, this is an unfortunate bump on the road to progress.

Sweet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42619845)

This is exactly the sort of thing I enjoy reading about. Keep up the good work.

Not so much a dream... (1)

boundary (1226600) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619853)

...more of a shareholder nightmare.

Re:Not so much a dream... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619921)

There are a lot of "revolutionary" technology being used on this aircraft, many news techniques and materials that will play big roles in future commercial jets. So is this a design issue or a management issue?

Re:Not so much a dream... (1)

boundary (1226600) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620021)

Could very well be either, or both, or one being caused by the other. Whatever the case, they're going to be scaring the horses.

they outsourced some parts used to make the (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620029)

they outsourced building some of parts used to make the 787

Re:they outsourced some parts used to make the (1)

boundary (1226600) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620063)

That's as maybe, but outsourcing doesn't abrogate the responsibility of the client to check performance.

Re:they outsourced some parts used to make the (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620345)

They always outsource building some of the parts - in-fact, more than 30% of the Boeing 777 is sourced from outside the US, so its nothing new.

As I said in the last thread - there are no circumstances under which Boeing would have built these batteries, their chargers, their containers or the mounting brackets. They are bought in for every aircraft built by Boeing or Airbus.

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

quacking duck (607555) | about a year and a half ago | (#42619897)

"If it ain't Boeing, it's still going!"

Re:"If it ain't Boeing..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620037)

Who was that just muttering "Screamliner, more like" somewhere in the crowd?

Boeing Battery pic (5, Informative)

Crash McBang (551190) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620009)

See http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/01/15/uk-boeing-dreamliner-ntsb-idUSLNE90E00Y20130115 [reuters.com]

This looks bad.

I hope Boeing can [manage|subcontract] themselves out of this before they go broke...

Actually .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620147)

Actually, IAAP, and I've seen much worse fires. As "holy shit" moments go, this isn't as scary as some electrical fires I've had.

Re:Boeing Battery pic (5, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620389)

It does indeed *look* bad, until you know what you should be looking for - the exterior of the box is largely unburned, and the strap is intact with no signs of burning, so the box did its job in containing the fire. The lid was removed by the fire personnel, using a tool which caused the dent in the left hand side, and the box was thrown from the aircraft.

The charring on the front of the box was caused by the connecting mechanism on the front arcing, and not the main fire itself.

So all in all, yes it looks bad, but in actuality the box did its job!

Re:Boeing Battery pic (1)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620603)

The worrying part of the "thermal issues" is not how the battery containment box looks, it's that (according to some reports) electrolyte got splashed outside of the box.

Re:Boeing Battery pic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620391)

Before they go broke?

Pipe down.

"Dream" (0)

quacking duck (607555) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620043)

You'd think that after the fall from grace of the US Olympic basketball "Dream Team" label in the early 2000s, Boeing would've learned the pitfalls of naming anything with "dream" in it.

The basketball team at least could claim that it was journalists, not themselves, who came up with that term.

Re:"Dream" (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620585)

The late 60's Honda 305 "Dream" was an aspirational motorcycle (well, I wanted one anyway!) but was called "The Nightmare" by owners. Pressed-steel frame, about an inch and a half of leading-link suspension travel. It was a better name than Benley, though (the name of their smaller displacement twins).

Off-topic memory from then: Sochiro Honda was asked by an interviewer if there was any truth to the rumor that Hondas were made with recycled beer cans. "No," he replied, "They're made from recycled B-29's."

missteps (4, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620055)

The A380's had quite a few missteps when they first went into service as well. Both are very new designs with a lot of new tech, sadly I am sure eventually one of them will be a fatal misstep, still won't stop me flying on them, I get an an A380 for a 17 hour flight in 2 days. I don't think I would be any less comfortable if it was a Dreamliner.

Re:missteps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620307)

You would probably be more comfortable on the Dreamliner since it has better climate control and a quieter cabin.

Re:missteps (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620557)

You would probably be more comfortable on the Dreamliner since it has better climate control and a quieter cabin.

Do try to enjoy those amenities when you're crammed nine-abreast in a fuselage designed for eight-abreast.

Plane power, Li-ion, Colbolt Oxide batteries (4, Interesting)

colfer (619105) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620077)

This plane uses a tremendous amount of electricity, see: http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/01/boeing-787-electric-fire-grounding/ [wired.com]
The li-ion batteries are from a company in Japan, but I wonder where they were manufactured. In the past, subcontractors outside Japan have done shoddy jobs making batteries, such as replacing mylar with paper. Once it's sealed up, how do you test it? Additionally, these batteries use cobolt oxide and are even more prone to overheating than tradition li-ion batteries. The batteries took a long time to certify.

A notorious SwissAir crash over the Atlantic was due to an overheated electrical bus. In a rush to get gambling devices onto seat backs, the airline had gone with a system that required a full computer for each display, which required more power than a more centralized system.

Here's my question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620191)

Why wasn't this discovered during the long and extensive flight testing?

And what about the FAA? WTF were they doing?

Re:Here's my question: (1)

colfer (619105) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620293)

Two things come to mind. In previous bad battery situation, the initial run of batteries were fine. Then when they went into production, perhaps with other subcontractors, they got the garbage.

Also, with the extensive testing of the planes, we've got to assume they run them under max power load, with every seat running laptops, playing movies on seatbacks, etc., right? And max use of air circulation, etc. And whatever else makes the batteries cycle to make up for generated power, however it works.

Re:Here's my question: (1)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620615)

Except that Boeing ran into problems with the batteries before production. I've got exactly zero idea how accurate this piece is, but it's an interesting (if rambling) read:

http://blogs.crikey.com.au/planetalking/2013/01/17/qantas-hopes-for-a-fast-dreamliner-fix-are-fading/?wpmp_switcher=mobile [crikey.com.au]

Re:Here's my question: (2)

mosb1000 (710161) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620375)

Some problems, especially manufacturing defects, only manifest themselves with a large enough sample size. Presumably none of the aircraft they used for certification encountered this particular problem.

Re:Here's my question: (4, Interesting)

servognome (738846) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620535)

Working as a process development engineer, I can't tell you how many times I've run into a problem in high volume that didn't show it's head in testing. There are only so many variables you can test, especially if you have constraints to your sample size. From my experience major failures are never a single variable, but rather, an interaction between different variables that don't show statistical significance until you get a big enough sample.
15 years ago I worked putting together battery packs for small aircraft, and they were quite complicated, including heater elements and management electronics. I can only imagine how complex the systems are for something as large as a 787. The problem may not be with the actual battery, but the system which regulates the power.

Re:Plane power, Li-ion, Colbolt Oxide batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620277)

The industry should have moved and invested into Lithium Iron Phosphate before A123 started its death spiral. If A123 could have had the support of the aircraft industry and the FAA wouldn't have been dragging their heels, these kind of safety skimps wouldn't have been done.

Re:Plane power, Li-ion, Colbolt Oxide batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620283)

The larger the mass of a Li-ion battery, the greater the problems w/ heat. Perhaps they should have considered contracting with Tesla which uses many small cells and has developed a sophisticated power management technology to deal with spreading the load over thousands of cells.

Re:Plane power, Li-ion, Colbolt Oxide batteries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620509)

They should have used Raspberry Pis

Re:Plane power, Li-ion, Colbolt Oxide batteries (3, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620539)

These batteries are a new formula? Maybe this is the revenge of the capacitor plague [wikipedia.org]

Once it's sealed up, how do you test it?

You could always do, you know, random sampling when accepting delivery from subcontractors. Take a few batteries, rip them open and verify they're what they're supposed to be. I'm sure a big company like Boeing working on such a large project would have a whole department of people who do nothing but testing.

Japan? (1)

BearRanger (945122) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620181)

Japan grounded all of its Dreamliners a day earlier than America or the EU, and yet they aren't mentioned in the headline? There are 24 Dreamliners in service in Japan, more than in any other country. You'd think they'd get some credit for having their air safety experts raise the alarm while the US was still "confident in the safety of the aircraft.

Re:Japan? (2)

tirerim (1108567) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620323)

They raised the alarm first because the aircraft that had to make an emergency landing was in Japan -- it has nothing to do with their air safety experts being better, just with them getting the first news of the problem.

Re:Japan? (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620407)

The Japanese grounding was not an aviation authority move, it was individual airlines taking the prudent step on their own and has happened several times for several different aircraft types (after the A380 engine failure, several airlines took their aircraft out of use for checks) - the big news here is that the FAA took a very big step in issuing a grounding order, its not one that happens often.

Millions of dollars, no wonder! (4, Funny)

dstyle5 (702493) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620225)

From the link: http://slashdot.org/topic/bi/the-787-dreamliner-scenario-how-data-can-solve-epic-messes/ [slashdot.org]

"That’s supremely bad news for Boeing, which poured millions of dollars into the 787’s development."

No wonder its having issues. Or maybe Dr. Evil wrote this article?

Submitted by... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620233)

Oh come on--if nobody else is going to draw attention back to the contributor's name, I might as well. :)

Brilliant. :)

Boeing Pinto? (1)

wcrowe (94389) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620265)

Remember the Ford Pinto? This might be something fixable, but if it gets a reputation...

Wrong day (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620353)

to stop sniffing battery acid.

Safe Batteries (4, Interesting)

bobcat7677 (561727) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620495)

It really seems silly to me that they chose to use a lithium ion battery with a cobalt cathode for use as a critical component of an airplane. They are not environmentally friendly, prone to fire, and don't last as long as some other technologies. They could have gone with a Lithium Iron battery and been much safer and require less maintenance. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lithium_iron_phosphate_battery [wikipedia.org] That would have only added about 18 pounds to the entire aircraft, certainly worth the greatly increased safety factor. Just goes to show that this plane was built to be a cheap as possible with only cursory regard to safety.

Re:Safe Batteries (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620605)

Yes, they poured tens of millions of dollars into R&D for composites and advanced avionics systems in order to produce the cheapest aircraft possible.

If they're going for cheap, they could just make more 777s. Those bad boys are cheap and super safe.

Nightmareliner (tm) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620547)

This is simply gonna happen. If this would be Toyota everyone would expect a fast recall, redesign and fines. But it's not a car, it's a plane.

Re:Nightmareliner (tm) (1)

dragonhunter21 (1815102) | about a year and a half ago | (#42620583)

The difference is, there's no fatalities here. Plus, this is a pretty fast "recall", as these things go, and you can bet we're going to see revised designs in future.

Calm anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42620579)

Modern passenger aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380 are at the cutting edge of commercial avionics. It's only to be expected that some problems are going to arise in these new designs, and we should be relieved that when it does safety comes first. Unless you're an investor in Boeing, I don't see what all the fuss is about - share prices might jitter over the potential cost to the company, but otherwise it's not unusual for this kind of thing to happen. I'd be far more worried if these problems had been found and they *hadn't* grounded the planes.

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