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Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Has Taken Its Battery Certification Flight

timothy posted about a year ago | from the could-barely-lift-all-those-AAs dept.

Transportation 123

Daniel_Stuckey writes "Boeing just flew the flight it needed to certify the improved battery housing on its 787 Dreamliner, whose battery woes have marred the next generation plane's launch. Here is Flight Aware's live data map, showing the path of BOE272, the test flight from Friday afternoon. On Thursday, Bloomberg reported that the 787's recertification flight was pending. A Boeing news release stated yesterday that the '...flight departed from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. at 10:39 a.m. Pacific with a crew of 11 onboard, including two representatives from the FAA. The airplane flew for 1 hours and 49 minutes, landing back at Paine Field at 12:28 p.m. Pacific.'"

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No way! (1)

Anarchy24 (964386) | about a year ago | (#43380237)

People can quote all the safety statistics they want about flying - I prefer to keep my feet on terra firma, tyvm. I hate flying on any plane as it is... but I wouldn't ever step foot on this thing!

Re:No way! (3, Funny)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about a year ago | (#43380273)

You know walking is slower than flying :)

Re:No way! (4, Insightful)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43380281)

These days? Not so much...

Re:No way! (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | about a year ago | (#43381107)

Tell you what, why dont we meet in shanghai. Call me when you arrive, Im taking a plane.

Re:No way! (2)

ThisIsSaei (2397758) | about a year ago | (#43381291)

I'll take that bet. Digital representations count.

Re:No way! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#43383271)

I flew from New York City to Boston a few weeks ago. The flight I was on was cancelled, the one after it was full, the one after that was cancelled, and so I finally got on the one after that. I arrived at the airport at 1pm and at my destination at 9:30pm. A bicycle wouldn't have been faster, but a bus would. So would a train in theory, but the reason I was taking the plane at all was that the train line was out of action all day due to a derailment.

Re:No way! (2)

Ichijo (607641) | about a year ago | (#43381099)

And bicycling is faster [usatoday.com] .

Re:No way! (5, Insightful)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43380291)

You know, just about any of the commercial crafts are safe. The real issue is how are the airlines doing their maintenance. US airlines used to be the best. Now, they are offshoring and I think that they are an issue. For example, I grew up on American Airlines. BUT, they are now offshoring this to China. Recall the seats that were not fastened? That was the Chinese company. Scary. Very scary.

Re:No way! (1)

nametaken (610866) | about a year ago | (#43380595)

I'm just curious, how does an airline offshore their maintenance to China? It seems like this is the sort of thing they have to be prepared to do for any plane in the fleet at most major hubs, no?

Or are we just talking about major retrofits, and only for planes that are in suitable condition for long overseas flights?

Re:No way! (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43380689)

For scheduled maintenance, airlines fly their aircraft to major maintenance bases around the world - if they do their own maintenance, that's usually one of their hubs.

Re:No way! (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | about a year ago | (#43381567)

Yeah, but isn't it far less economically viable to fly a plane all the way to China for maintenance instead of to somewhere in the middle of the US? You have to pay a pilot to fly all of those hours there and back, and you're wasting a whole lot of fuel to get there. When you do it in the US, you can have a normal flight to that particular airport, or nearby if it's not already a hub at a major airport, and a route back out from that airport to whichever route the plane is going on afterwords.

Re:No way! (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43381825)

Yeah, but isn't it far less economically viable to fly a plane all the way to China for maintenance instead of to somewhere in the middle of the US?

Wherever you perform the maintenance, you're going to have to fly there. If you have more than two brain cells to rub together, you ensure that the last revenue flight the plane makes before maintenance brings it close to the maintenance depot, wherever in the world that may happen to be.

Re:No way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43382605)

when's the last time you flew a 737 to china from the US?

Re:No way! (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43382669)

when's the last time you flew a 737 to china from the US?

Duh. If a plane can't fly to China, you're not going to do maintenance there, are you?

Re:No way! (2, Insightful)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43380681)

Do you really want a list of all the maintenance fuckups caused by unionised American maintenance companies and groups? Like the unauthorised manner of engine change that ultimately caused the downing of AA 191?

The problem isn't outsourcing, it never has been - but as always, it's a good excuse for those who want to bang the nationalistic drum.

Re:No way! (4, Interesting)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43380799)

No one has a perfect record but generally American workers have a better record. One thing that helps is that if you screw something up then 7 or 8 years down the road it causes a problem it will come back on you. They keep records of work done that is stamped by journeymen mechanics and that record stays for the life of the aircraft. Generally with overseas contractors your chance of actually putting the mechanic responsible in jail is nil. I do depot level work and I know that I and my fellow mechanics obsess over safety to the point that it often causes clashes with supervisors who push for speed. I've seen multiple times that a mechanic refused to stamp something because he didn't feel comfortable with it and no amount of pressure would persuade them to do it. Many is the time is that I've heard "It's my fucking stamp and I'm not going to jail for your ass!"

Re:No way! (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43381901)

Exactly. In fact, where American went to, is the same place that most of the Chinese national airlines, ESP. CHINA AIRLINES (worst record GOING) use. They have had issue after issue after issue. And with those seats, Horton was busy blaming the unions and then it turned out that it was the Chinese group.

This is no different than the AA flights that fly the Latin American routes, Either Carty or Aprey had started using the Colombian base for those aircraft's. Then they have seen a rash of accidents that was attributed to the pilots. Consider AA's rigorous flight training (unless they have changed that over the last 20 years), I seriously doubt that it was pilot error.

I know that US Airways uses the Colombian base as well, BUT, I am hopeful that Parker will move from the Chinese maintenance to Colombian, or better yet, bring back the base that was just shut down in Sept. Heck, Parker learned under Crandal so it would be nice if he takes it back to how he ran the airline. Heck, he would be smart to create an airline that is nothing but a single class of business class and run it on the profitable routes that has plenty of traffic. Then convert the first class on all of the domestics to have the same seats and fringes as that airline has. With such an approach, I think that they could capture what AA (and other US national airlines) was.

Re:No way! (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year ago | (#43382117)

CHINA AIRLINES (worst record GOING)

Nope. That honor would go to Air France, with almost as many wrecks as American and United combined.

And if you want to bitch about maintenance, the repair work that caused Japan Airlines 123 to crash was performed at the Boeing factory in Washington. But all that shit happened a long time ago. The only places wrecking airplanes regularly these days are in Africa, Russia, Brazil, Pakistan, India, and a few other backwater countries.

Re:No way! (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43381735)

First off, The pilot, walt lux, of that was a close friends of our family. My dad and he would ssched together on the DC-10 of that time. In fact, Walt had allowed me to jump on that particular aircraft.
Secondly, the engine swap was not in the books, BUT ALL of the airlines did it that way. In fact, DC showed many of the companies how to shortcut that. American did NOT develop it.
Third, the Chinese (and other maintenance bases such as the one in Columbia) have screwed up a number of things royally. US Airways has had more than their fair share of issues from the Colombian hub.

In addition, the Chinnese themselves beat their nationalistic drums such as saying that they do not want to be dependant on ANYTHING from the west. Even to this day, unless the work is done in China, they reoutinely block every item. It is only a matter of time before China will raise the tariffs on Tesla and tell them if they will turn over a lot of IP that they will drop it.
It is sad when ppl like you are willing to scream that others are being nationalistic when the fuck-ups make the news, while you ignore and even uphold China's ability to block western goods.

Re:No way! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43382849)

Ah, union bashing. Had to happen at some point even though NOBODY WAS TALKING ABOUT IT. This is about a typical corporate led race to the bottom. We need to decide we won't allow that in our society, like we did during the most prosperous period in American history. Before the dark times. Before Reagan and his 'free trade' crap. (And every single president who followed him)

Re:No way! (3, Informative)

Alex Zepeda (10955) | about a year ago | (#43382709)

Uh. No.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/flights/2012/10/03/american-airlines-seats/1610189/ [usatoday.com]

The work in question was either done in-house by American Airlines employees or in a contractor's facility in North Carolina. Unless North Carolina is now part of China, your fear mongering is just that.

Re:No way! (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about a year ago | (#43383273)

Unless North Carolina is now part of China

I guess that's one way of settling the national debt...

Re:No way! (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#43380533)

I hate flying to , but even I know that I'm more likely to die in the car on the way to the airport than flying in the plane. But the drive doesn't bother me - the flight does. I suppose it doesn't matter how many times someone tells you flying is safe , that primitive part of your brain is telling you that there's just something fundamentally wrong about travelling in a metal tube 7 miles up at 500mph surrounded by 50 tons of fuel. ;o)

Re:No way! (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43380807)

I'm usually terrified until we reach cruising altitude. Your best chance of dying is on takeoff as that is when the aircraft is most vulnerable to a failure.

Indeed (2)

goldcd (587052) | about a year ago | (#43380909)

It's not the flying part - it's the hitting the ground you should be scared of.
I never used to have a problem with flying, and I'm still 'fine' with it - but I still remember with f'in terror a take-off I had from LHR.
Go down the runway, nose up, we're going up - and then we drop like a stone for a few seconds on what I assume was an air-pocket. Seeing things on the ground getting significantly bigger whilst the nose is still pointing up is *not* a good feeling.
Now the majority of my brain is reasonably comfortable with the idea there was never really a danger, but my lizard cortex takes a couple of G&Ts to completely silence now.

Re:Indeed (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year ago | (#43382463)

I've had that happen twice, and both times I was listening to air traffic control and the crew on the headphones. What happened to me was they had another plane coming in for a landing in the opposite direction right above us, and the other plane was coming in too low, and our plane had to chop the throttles, and drop 500 feet because there was less than (the planned) 1000 feet between us and the plane above us! It's pretty f'n scary, you're right. All of the sudden the engines go from a roar to a whisper, and you drop like a stone for a few seconds, then it's Wide Open Throttle so we didn't end up in someone else's way!

I still remember the shadow of the 747 going over us and feeling our plane struggle as we went through their turbulence!

Looking backwards from my window, I could see it cross our path, and it was terrifying to think how close we really were to the other plane!

The pilot made it sound like it was no big deal, but the pants they were a shittin' that day!

It's crazy to fly past a busy airport and watch the planes take off and land from another plane. It looks like a busy freeway on ramp at rush hour!

Cheers:)

Re:No way! (1)

starling (26204) | about a year ago | (#43381015)

I have good news for you - the 787 is a plastic tube, not metal.

Re:No way! (1)

slimjim8094 (941042) | about a year ago | (#43382445)

You're probably not really afraid of the metal tube, altitude, speed, or fuel. As you noted, those are "reasonable" (i.e., based on reasons) arguments - but as you also noted they're not really true so there's something more emotional going on. You're probably afraid of the loss of control coupled with the "mystery" behind it all - knowing how aerodynamics works at the abstract level is a poor answer to the feeling in your head that it just doesn't seem like it should work, or be safe.

I recommend going to your local general aviation airport and doing a "intro flight" in a small plane with an instructor. Most flight schools will let you fly a plane (of course with instruction from a pilot also at the controls!) for about half an hour for $70. Even if you have no interest in being a pilot, I can hardly think of a more exhilarating way to spend $70. And it takes a lot of the mystery out of it - flying makes more "sense" when you can feel the aerodynamic forces that respond to your movement of the yoke, just like the brake pedal or the wheel in a car letting you "feel" the car and the road. And since you're with an instructor who has a duplicate set of controls, they won't let you "mess it up" and you can do as much or as little as you (and they) are comfortable with.

I'd say bring a camera to catch some really incredible views, but I only got about 2 shots off in the 90 seconds free I had between performing the takeoff (yes, first time in a small plane, let alone at the controls, and I took it off the ground) and getting the controls back after the climb-out.

Re:No way! (1)

ProfessionalCookie (673314) | about a year ago | (#43381019)

One way or another, we're all flying.

I wont be a guinea pig (1, Interesting)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#43380241)

Anybody who's followed the travails of the 787 knows that Boeing still hasn't root caused the issue. Aside from better separation of cells, nothing has been done to prevent future batteries from failing and melting. There is a backup battery, and a Ram Air Turbine for critical flight control, but considering how poorly engineered and conceived the battery system has turned out to be I don't trust the general engineering of the plane.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (4, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43380285)

Give me a break. The plane is solid. And as to this battery, it is in a strong case that vents to the outside. If you are up in the air, then it will go out on its own. If down by the ground, not a problem.

Any real issues with this plane has been the fact that Boeing did NOT build it themselves. .Sadly, they allowed their board to be composed of others outside of the aviation industry, who were more business idiots than engineers.
Regardless, I trust the craft, but think that it was expensive. Hopefully, next time, Boeing will revert back to how they do things.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | about a year ago | (#43380329)

Exactly, this issue was a bad battery design, a design not even done by boeing. If they replaced it with a standard lead acid it would have been flying already. The problem is the extra weight by multiple larger heavier batteries. So they fixed this version. Being the design it is it wull probably have future issues but the plane itself is safe. You dont think your laptop or tablet is going to catch fire do you. But that has happened too.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#43380583)

So the plane is safe so long as the battery doesn't catch fire - again - and get hot enough to burn through its containment box. Hmm , let me think about that definition of "safe" for a moment....

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (2)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43380791)

So the plane is safe so long as the battery doesn't catch fire - again - and get hot enough to burn through its containment box. Hmm , let me think about that definition of "safe" for a moment....

Where is it going to get the energy to get hot enough to burn through the containment box? There's only so much energy in that battery. Build a box to contain that and that's it - as long as the fools who can't wire batteries correctly don't figure out a way past that.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#43381089)

Where is it going to get the energy to get hot enough to burn through the containment box? There's only so much energy in that battery. Build a box to contain that and that's it - as long as the fools who can't wire batteries correctly don't figure out a way past that.

I would assume; well actually, I know that the battery is there for a reason. In the first few thousand hours of flights we have already had several failures. What is the chance that some time soonish the batteries burn out when they are needed. How do you feel about your fly by wire plane if the servos aren't working?

This is quite apart form the fact that having a battery like this in a place with no fire extinguisher seems like bad design to me.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

khallow (566160) | about a year ago | (#43382111)

What is the chance that some time soonish the batteries burn out when they are needed. How do you feel about your fly by wire plane if the servos aren't working?

In flight, the engines provide the power. Past that, I don't know, though I think the plane has a mechanical backup in case the entire electrical system fails.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (2)

bored (40072) | about a year ago | (#43382125)

having a battery like this in a place with no fire extinguisher

Uh, once a LCO battery goes, your not putting it out with a "fire extinguisher". These things are nasty, and the lithium itself burns so hot that its damn hard to contain it.

Check out https://leehamnews.wordpress.com/2013/01/28/airbus-examines-lithium-battery-safety-fire-suppression/ [wordpress.com]

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

amiga3D (567632) | about a year ago | (#43380817)

I don't blame you. It most likely is not going to cause a crash but a fire on board like that is never anything to instill trust. I can't believe they didn't catch this long before the release to service of this aircraft. Some people need to be fired, from the top down.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

isorox (205688) | about a year ago | (#43380997)

some people need to be fired, from the top down.

score +5 Funny

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43381007)

Assume that it catchs fire. That is the SAME assumption that Boeing has made. That is why they not have the battery in the equivalence of a fireproof safe, where there is a value that allows for pressure to spill outwards. IOW, if it explodes or catches fire, it will be directed OUTWARD, not inward. That is safe.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (3, Informative)

Xylantiel (177496) | about a year ago | (#43381183)

No - the plane is safe even if the battery catches fire. My understanding of the comment is that safe failure is the result of the change in design. With the previous design, battery failure by fire could endanger the aircraft. With the new design battery failure by fire does not endanger the aircraft. This is how subsystem failure is managed in aircraft. Whether or not a failure endangers the craft has huge implications for how its safety is evaluated.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43381845)

No - the plane is safe even if the battery catches fire.

Because the plane doesn't actually need the battery or anything. They just put it in there for grins.

Now, the odds of both engines failing and the battery failing at the same time so you lose electrical power are small, but the battery is there for a reason.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43382299)

Exactly. Basically, the battery is now in a fireproof box with a door that opens to the outside. IOW, any explosion will send it OUT of the plane, not inside. What is interesting is that the normal way for a pressured aircraft's door open is INWARD. That way, the door is secured and incapable of opening when under pressure. THis door opens outwards. If pressure builds up, their is a check value to vent it to the outside. If it explodes, then the blast blows the door and the energy is directed outward.

WARNING: BLIB Exhaust (1)

istartedi (132515) | about a year ago | (#43381243)

Easy fix. Sealed box for the battery, and a hose from each battery into some kind of manifold that vents to the outside. You've probably seen fighter jets that have "WARNING: APU Exhaust" on the side. Just have a similar warning for Burning Lithium-Ion Battery exhaust.

I'm joking of course.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

DuBois (105200) | about a year ago | (#43382359)

If they replaced it with a standard lead acid it would have been flying already.

Few large airplanes use lead-acid batteries anymore. NiCad is pretty standard for anything larger than a Cessna 210.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

monzie (729782) | about a year ago | (#43382545)

My laptop does not fly. It does not carry 200+ passengers.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43383203)

The battery manufacturer was exonerated. The problem turned out to be wiring done by Boeing.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380379)

I don't think it was even a bad battery design. It was wired incorrectly. [guardian.co.uk] After reading the book "Airframe," I understand why Boeing hasn't hyped this more. They can't shit on their customers, so they have to keep their mouths shut lest they lose sales to the people they are (rightfully) blaming.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380983)

Airframe, from the same author who mystifies simple human incompetence by saying, hey, "life finds a way".

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43380409)

Give me a break. The plane is solid. And as to this battery, it is in a strong case that vents to the outside.

I'm guessing they didn't actually set it on fire on this 'certification' flight and prove they can land safely at the maximum allowed ETOPS range?

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380441)

Give me a break. The plane is solid.

The statistical evidence so far would indicate that it is very much is not. Several aborted flights with fires and battery problems in only a few flights is bad, bad news. It'd be one thing if they have fixed the root cause, but they have not done that. They have only provided workarounds and "fire resistant" boxes.

Thanks, but no thanks. People do not want to fly on this thing. I for one am not going to get anywhere near one until it has at least 2 years of flights under its belt.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

Sanhedran (1803634) | about a year ago | (#43380669)

On what grounds do you trust an aircraft largely designed by, as you put it, "business idiots" rather than engineers? The largest topic in engineering ethics is the natural conflict between corporate interest and safe design.

I don't trust "engineers" who can't even find the root cause of battery issues, and I certainly wouldn't trust my life to them.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43382323)

They found out. What is being looked at, is how to address it quickly, while they work on the long term solution. FAA is a BITCH to get things through. It can take years for changes. As such, what is needed is a re-working of the battery system with loads of testing. The patch that went in, pretty much guarentees that if ANYTHING goes wrong with this battery, the plane is safe. Ideally, it would be used even with say a tesla battery system.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (4, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43380721)

Sorry, but the fact that this aircraft was "not built by Boeing" have nothing to do with the issues that have shown up thus far - no Boeing aircraft have flown with a battery system designed or built by Boeing, it's always been an item that's been outsourced (same for Airbus).

The fastener issues were 100% Boeings direct fault (hey, let's ignore the fastener suppliers lead time and assume they can fill any order we want in an mpossible time - wait, no, they can't. Arse. Let's use off the shelf non-aviation grade fasteners then and replace them before the plane flies! Oops, that just cost us months of extra work....).

The side of body issues were a Boeing design fault.

The electrical panel fire was a Boeing design issue.

None of the issues the aircraft has thus far seen has been the result of a part that was outsourced when before it hadn't.

Spirit builds the entire 737 fuselage as an outsourced process, no issues there...

Thousands of suppliers provide major components of the 777, no issues there.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381915)

Isn't that the issue? Boeing outsourced the design on the 787, to the extent where there were problem in developments due to radically different blueprint formats being submitted, differences in units used in the thousands of parts, and overall very low oversight from boeing in general.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43382473)

Nope. First off, the design was NOT outsourced. Only manufacturing. Secondly, the 'blueprints' used by Boeing is Catia. That can do conversions, etc. Third, Boeing wanted LOADS of oversights. There was a battle within the company as well as 'partners' over this. Boeing is one for maintaining STRICT oversight. All of their local partners in Seattle (and in America) have Boeing with loads of oversight. They check EVERYTHING. That is why Boeing's have a top reputation. The 787 is ...... well, like a GE lightbulb, it has their name on it. I doubt that Boeing will EVER do this much outsourcing ever again. But that will depend on how much pressure Airbus puts on them by outsourcing as well. Apparently, Airbus wants to follow this pattern so as to sell more of their 350s. I think that are crazy if they go down that path, but that is their choice.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43383093)

Airbus has been outsourcing more than Boeing ever since it was first founded so to their advantage they have a lot more experience in doing so. One of the massive problems for Boeing was to simultaneously design a "revolutionary" aircraft and entirely different manufacturing process.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (2)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43382457)

Total BS.
The way Boeing aircraft design has always worked is that engineers come up with CATIA designs that craftsman start implementing. As this is put together, the engineers crawl in and amongst the air frame and checks how things will go. I assume that Airbus does the same. Many times, parts get re-engineered as the engineers play with them and see what happens. In this case, it was because of the outsourcing that they could NOT do things that way. It was basically, a waterfall approach to design rather than iterative approach.

Now, who forced this? The executives who outsource 50% of the aircraft. How much is normally outsourced? Less than 10% of a Boeing aircraft is outsourced beyond the plant and the local companies. And when it came to the airframe, NONE of it was outsourced in the past (save fasteners and metal, but all was local production so that Boeing could keep control of it). This was the FIRST time that Boeing has outsourced anything out of their control WRT airframe. The problem was NOT that the fasteners were not aircraft grade. The outsourcing was.
The issue was that Boeing's engineers were used to their mechanics BUT, they were dealing with mechanics in China, japan, etc. And over there, they did NOT understand how to do countersunk on specific dimensions by the instructions that the engineers gave them. Basically, the engineer and mechanics at Boeing had worked together for so long, that it showed a weakness in how information is passed. So, correct fasteners, BUT, the holes were every so slighting mis-aligned due to inferior craftsmanship overseas.

You mention the electrical panel fire which would be the P100. That was a piece that was outsourced to a subsidiary of EADS. They left a wrench inside that caused the fire when it shorted.
The side of body issue with a problem with Fuju heavy's inability to do the work in the same way that Boeing was used to. So now, when the stringers come in from fuji, sections are cut away by Boeing, with the exception of one stringer. In that case, it is carrying an extra 25-50 some odd kgs. Does not sound like Much, but Boeing (and companies like Airbus) work on getting kgs knocked off.

Basically, EVERY major issue was an outsource issue. It had to do with a lack of communication, combined with a different level of craftsmanship, and carefulness. Now, you appear to not want to look at facts, and that is fine. However, you have no rights to make up stuff that you obvious do NOT know.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

JoeyRox (2711699) | about a year ago | (#43381695)

The De Havilland was solid except it's flawed fatiguing around its square window design. The DC-10 was solid except for its flawed cargo door design. The 737 was solid except for its flawed rudder design that lead to in-flight hardovers. When each of these solid planes crashed into the solid earth it wasn't the earth that shattered into a million pieces.

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43382493)

And yet, all of those issues were from the 50-70's design: the early days of pressurized commercial aircraft. The only aircraft that has had a real issue since then, has been Airbus with their lack of feedback to the pilots. They do not know what the other or the CPU is doing with it. That is why American grounded their Airbus A300's. Even now, American is apparently in discussions with Airbus on getting pilot feedback, but they want it for free. Airbus is saying otherwise, so it remains to be see what is going to happen. Considering that AA is coming out of a bankruptcy and this being funded freely by Europe govs (weird), I suspect that Parker will let it go through.

Mathematically modeling rare events (1)

popo (107611) | about a year ago | (#43380411)

Anyone who has read Nicholas Nassim Taleb's "Black Swan" will immediately see the problem here. Rare events are almost impossible to predict mathematically with a small statistical set.

Without a solid understanding of the underlying problem (which they still don't have) they are using "testing" to verify the stability of the electrical system. But testing will not and can not effectively assess risk.

This is a disaster waiting to happen. Nothing has been solved.

Re: Mathematically modeling rare events (2)

FORTRANslinger (950850) | about a year ago | (#43380691)

The design "flew" for hundreds of thousands of hours on the desktop simulation without any problems;-)

Re:I wont be a guinea pig (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about a year ago | (#43380479)

I'm not particularly troubled. The transition from lead-acid to NiCd followed a similar trajectory.

Tesla needs to get their batteries FAA certed (0)

WindBourne (631190) | about a year ago | (#43380253)

Seriously, Tesla would be smart to get their work FAA certed so that other aircrafts, possibly 787, can install it and count that it will be solid.

Imma corporate shill and trollmonger, OMG ponies! (1)

cultiv8 (1660093) | about a year ago | (#43380343)

Seriously, Tesla would be smart to get their industrial strength, enterprise-ready, better-for-the-environment batteries FAA certified so that other aircraft manufacturers,such as Boeing, Airbus, and others, can license the patented technology and count that it will make Tesla, and its investors, more money.

There, FTFY.

Re:Tesla needs to get their batteries FAA certed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381045)

how's that Elon Musk cock in your mouth working out for ya you shill!

They still don't know the cause... (5, Insightful)

Adult film producer (866485) | about a year ago | (#43380303)

and that does not reassure me, at all.

Re:They still don't know the cause... (3, Funny)

sribe (304414) | about a year ago | (#43380413)

Well, hey, how are they supposed to ever figure out the cause if they can't put them all back in the air and get a few more instances to analyze? ;-)

Re: They still don't know the cause... (1)

FORTRANslinger (950850) | about a year ago | (#43380539)

People figured out how the space shuttle blew into a billion fragments, but the "best" aerospace company in the world can't figure out why a couple of batteries went into meltdown...

Re: They still don't know the cause... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#43380605)

Boeing may be expert in many areas of engineering, but it appears lithium batteries is not one of them. Which I find worrying given they're betting not only the company but peoples lives on these things.

Re: They still don't know the cause... (1)

FORTRANslinger (950850) | about a year ago | (#43380667)

Boeing are becoming "expert" in assembling aircraft components. But like many, many companies they are suffering from a severe lack of quality engineers to innovate and drive the company forwards in engineering. And as the baby-boomers continue to retire it is getting progressively worse. The up-and-coming "stars" with their shinny new degrees just can not cut it...

Re: They still don't know the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43383177)

Boeing may be expert in many areas of engineering, but it appears lithium batteries is not one of them. Which I find worrying given they're betting not only the company but peoples lives on these things.

I don't quite understand your logic. Air is certainly the safest form of travel but every flight means that people's lives are bet on a huge number of "things". We wouldn't have air travel if aircraft were only allowed to take off when they're in flawless condition. I start getting concerned when pilots express concerns because they're pressured to fly when they're uncomfortable with some cost saving measures that actually do affect safety. Infamously just before AF447 the Air France pilots union had already threatened to go on strike unless Air France replaced the shitty pitot tubes because they had had issues with them before. AF agreed to do the replacement as part of regular maintenance but that aircraft hadn't gotten it yet. Furthermore, AF had saved costs by choosing not to buy the backup system Airbus offered which would've provided pilots with an airspeed indication that was synthesized by the computer from other sensors and instruments in the event of a pitot tube air speed disagreement. That system would probably have enabled the clowns that were in the AF447 cockpit that fateful night fly it safely. The 787 has a similar system by default and I'm rather sure that AF447 affected Boeing's decision to make it a default instead of a customer option.

An example of broken parts which do affect safety but with which flights regularly take off even though they're broken are thrust reversers. If conditions are otherwise good enough for stopping safely without them (weight, destination runway length, no issues with the brakes etc.). Pilots are expected to be able to work around certain problems. And even pilots aren't informed of all flaws unless they start going through the electronic list for irrelevant items - why should they be concerned with the fact that the remote control for in-flight entertainment system in seat A27 doesn't work and so on...

I also recall a retarded incident of passengers refusing to board when a winglet had been removed for maintenance. It was of course a visible problem but had absolutely no impact whatsoever on the safety of the flight. If only those who instigated the boycott to board had known how many other items were broken...

Re: They still don't know the cause... (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#43383205)

So because there already safety issues we shouldn't be bothered about another? Yeah , great logic there pal.

Re:They still don't know the cause... (2)

JavaBear (9872) | about a year ago | (#43380463)

a less than 2 hour flight, on a plane scheduled for 12+ hours, and where most battery incidents happened at the end of the flights?

No. I'm not reassured at all, either.

Re:They still don't know the cause... (3, Informative)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about a year ago | (#43380741)

Boeing flew the 787 for over 7,500 hours during certification, testing and route proving without this issue showing up - what would you have them do?

Re:They still don't know the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381043)

what would you have them do

Find and fix the problem?

The observed rate of battery events exceeded Boeing's prediction by two orders of magnitude. That's a serious problem. The Japanese government investigated the battery maker and did not find problems. Boeing has not yet identified the cause.

Regaining the trust of the flying public is going to take time and effort on their part. Saying, "Uhh... we're not really too sure... but we'll install some sweet fire retardant enclosures!" is NOT the way to regain it.

Re:They still don't know the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43382443)

Boeing flew the 787 for over 7,500 hours during certification, testing and route proving without this issue showing up - what would you have them do?

Fly 10,000 hours?

If the sample size of 7.5K isn't enough to gain accurate enough results, it may be there wasn't enough stress on the system/s.

Re:They still don't know the cause... (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43383191)

Clearly they didn't test it in real life conditions, i.e. a plane full of passengers mucking about with the entertainment system and afterwards the operators plugging it in to charge while forgetting to switch stuff off etc.

Whatever they did it wasn't enough, which is an indication that they don't know how to properly test it.

Re:They still don't know the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380471)

Me neither, and apparently we're not alone. My sister is a travel agent, and she's said that many people now are not wanting to book flights that will use this plane. Confidence has been shaken by repeated problems, onboard fires, not finding the cause, and months after months of bad press.

Captcha: corpses!

Re:They still don't know the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381051)

That would explain my very cheap business class tickets for a flight later this year. I hope the fear continues so i can keep buying cheaper business class seats.

Re:They still don't know the cause... (2)

Sanhedran (1803634) | about a year ago | (#43380621)

Here's the cause - outsourcing design to their suppliers. A large number of disparate companies had leeway to determine how to make their product meet more general specifications. How is it surprising that we're now seeing poor results of the integration of these systems? And how exactly are you going to troubleshoot it? Boeing can use the delivery specifications all it wants, but any error or omissions (see: A7D brake scandal) will have you running in circles. Boeing needed to own the design top to bottom (as much as possible, anyway) to prevent corner cases. Now, they have a plane that's all corners. The scary part is, this is a common (as far as defect is concerned), somewhat repeatable problem with a generally basic system, and they can't figure it out. What other, more spurious problems are hiding that they have no clue about?

Re:They still don't know the cause... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380679)

Yes they do. It was wired incorrectly, [guardian.co.uk] but then that's tantamount to calling your buyers idiots. Not good business. Instead, Boeing eats a shit sandwich, the battery compartment is reinforced so even if the airline miswires it and causes the battery to overheat, the problem is better contained, and the airlines keep buying new planes.

Re: They still don't know the cause... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380771)

Facts don't sell ads. It's much more valuable to say that "they don't know why"

Re:They still don't know the cause... (1)

Solid StaTe_1 (446406) | about a year ago | (#43381671)

From TFA:
"Japan's transport safety board said in a report that the battery for the aircraft's auxiliary power unit was incorrectly connected to the main battery that overheated.

According to Reuters Boeing sources claim to have a fix to their battery problems that involves increasing the space between the lithium-ion battery cells."

Which suggests that they don't know what the cause is. How does separating the cells fix an incorrect wiring problem?

Bullshit (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43380449)

The battery has not marred the plane's launch. In fact, the plane has been launched and in service for a while. Journalists are "historians" indeed - lol.

Re:Bullshit (2)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#43381125)

The battery has not marred the plane's launch. In fact, the plane has been launched and in service for a while.

Being grounded for weeks due to a marked tendency to catch fire is the kind of thing that most people would consider to have marred its launch.

I certainly don't plan to get on a Doomliner in the next couple of years.

Re:Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381293)

The battery has not marred the plane's launch.

Uhh... what? Did you see any news over the past 3 or 4 months? Are you aware the plane was grounded by almost every major certifying agency, including the FAA? And that they hadn't even delivered the vast majority of the initial orders yet?

Catching fire several times and being grounded sort of... mars the plane's launch.

Points at Boeing 787 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380501)

Hideki!

Here is FlightAware's live data map (1)

ShaunC (203807) | about a year ago | (#43380659)

BOE272 [flightaware.com] , since submitter apparently forgot that link.

Re:Here is FlightAware's live data map (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380779)

Here's a link to the actual flight, since the parent commenter apparently forgot that link.

http://flightaware.com/live/flight/BOE272/history/20130405/1800Z/KPAE/KPAE

Slashdot: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380801)

News for aviators, stuff that matters.

Wait...what??

Re:Slashdot: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381121)

Yeah it's not like the issue we're discussing is one of a technical issue with battery wiring in a recent engineering project that utilizes modern technology or anything...

Yes, but what's different? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43380937)

OK, great; but what's different? Without more information, this is like fixing a "failure to init the variable" bug by running the software on somebody else's machine. In fact, for all we know the battery overheated for that very reason. "Works on my plane" isn't something I want to fly, even if I could find the right motion-sickness drug (Haven't flown in over 15 years due to panic-attack inducing motion response, which gets progressively worse as I age).

'DiversityLiner'... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381065)

LOL.
The DreamLiner had these problems because Boeing is more concerned with 'diversity' (i.e. stopping WHITES from getting jobs, i.e. GENOCIDING them out of existence), than with quality.

'Diversity' is insanity, and no doubt most of the Slashdot cretins here have drunk the Kool Aid and think it's just wonderful, even though THEY CAN'T EXPLAIN WHY...

Your country is being destroyed by millions of third world parasites who DON'T WANT TO LIVE WITH THEIR OWN RACE - that should tell you something right there...

Re:'DiversityLiner'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43381549)

Stuff like this makes me wonder about deliberate sabotage.

Does the 787's carbon fiber body block radiation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43382051)

Is it safe to fly now that the battery's fixed, or does it remain unsafe due to its lessened ability to block the high levels of radiation when the plane is flying at altitude?

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