Back to Squawk list

Boeing prepares plan for interim fix for 787

Boeing will propose to regulators as early as this week a short-term fix to bolster the 787's defenses in case of battery fires such as those that have kept the jet grounded for a month. The goal is to get the planes flying passengers again, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the matter, while Boeing works on a comprehensive redesign of the lithium-ion battery system that could take nine months or more to implement. ( さらに...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

A good day for that 767-300! Bad day for Boeing, they have to get this right, the first time. Some have compared to the DC10 pressurization problems, the main difference is that a 787 has not fallen from the sky yet, Lord willing it never will.
skylab72 2
May I suggest a reduction in the hyperbole. Although I do have some issue with Boeing's behavior as this story unfolds, I believe both in Boeing's intellectual ability to 'solve' the problem and in the basic logic of their initial 'containment' approach. Understand that the 787 electrical system is unique in aviation history. It manages energy at levels heretofore only dreamed of (probably by some pretty geeky engineers). This particular design just pushed the envelope of LIon technology just a LITTLE to far. They got bitten simply because the LIon technology has such razor thin margins at the edges. But they designed a fundamentally sound architecture to cope with the temperament of these batteries. I firmly believe two things will save the day for Boeing. But first from the Boeing web-site, "After extensive testing, Boeing ultimately selected the lithium-ion type battery because it has the right functionality and chemistry to deliver a large amount of power in a short period of time to do a high-energy task like start a jet engine. It then has the ability to recharge in a relatively short period of time so that it is available for the critical backup role that it plays during flight." So, save-the-day-thing1: The incidents so far indicate clearly that the margin of error (in terms of energy) is small because there has only been one fire and the overheat incidents were contained by systems operating as they should. Yes,Yes, I know, fire bad, but bare with me. Remember heat in a LIon battery goes non-linear in a hurry. I have heard nothing that would lead me to believe there have been any malfunctions in the sense of system behavior outside of design spec. Save-the-day-thing2: Given Thing1, and any of the incident causing flight profiles so far, it should not take much reduction in some energy flow, either in or out of the batteries, to reduce the level of heat in the battery box(es) back to a normal operational range. Now, a quick reference back to the Boeing quote above, note, "the lithium-ion type battery because it has the right functionality and chemistry to deliver a large amount of power in a short period of time to do a high-energy task like start a jet engine." The APU in the 787 does not start the engines, the batteries do! I firmly believe this 'problem' is an operational profile problem. If they can retro-fit access to external power for initial engine starts, they will have more than adequate thermal margins for safe flight. All the fires and overheat incidents are during climb-out, while they are recharging from engine start done on the ground, without access to nice cool air at altitude. I do believe that because both charging and discharging generate heat, the current battery boxes are inherently unsafe with the current battery-start operational profile. Maybe it would be easier to retrofit external cooling for ground start, without more details I don't know, but I am sure it is a solvable problem.
The description of the 'fix' in the article is not so much a fix as a containment strategy for when this happens again. Not very comforting to future passengers, the airline customers or investors in Boeing who will all start to vote with their feet unless Boeing gets to the bottom of this issue and creates a proper fix instead of the current direction they are headed with containment.

This whole episode reminds me of the dangers of allowing engineers to make prudent business decisions. And before anyone cruxifies me for that statement, Steve Jobs had constant run-ins with his engineers and had to constantly ride herd on them to come up with solutions that made business sense. And he was proven right tima and time again. Boeing's so called interim fix may contain a proven danger from an engineering standpoint, but people who have a personal (butts in seats) or financial interest in a real fix don't care one iota about what the engineers think. Users form their own perceptions about safety and risk despite what engineers or the company says. And rest assured, Boeing is NOT saying the right things about this issue when people's lives are on the line.
I certainly agree with your assessment. The general public hasn't caught on yet as to how serious this is but as the media starts drumming it to death it will take a huge business toll. I have no interest in riding on a 787 with a containment box: no matter how much free Jack Daniels they serve. Lol
That is a novel temporary solution ( to say the least) for a problem that they don't know the cause of. I feel bad for Boeing.
I wonder why Boeing is not considering Ni-MH, Nickle Metal Hydride batteries. They are used in the Toyota Prius, and VARTA makes a 24 volt Ni-MH battery. The energy density of Ni-MH approaches that of Lithium-ion, and the technology is well proven.
skylab72 1
Approaches does not mean equals, and I am given to believe, unfortunately for Boeing, the load profile they designed into the 787 calls for mass/energy ratios in the LIon/LiPolymer range. LiPo still can't handle Amps at the needed level, so they are kind of stuck. I do not have enough info to say for sure but IMO if they retro-fit access to external power for initial engine starts, they will have quite adequate thermal mass margins for safe flight. Note all the fires and overheat incidents are during climb-out, while they are recharging from engine start done on the ground, without access to nice cool air at altitude. I do believe the current battery boxes are inherently unsafe with the current battery-start operational profile.
The fix better be before may, i have a 787 flight on ANA booked for late May.
I don't think it will be fixed by then, but it may be contained. :-)
My daughter flies to Mexico on one (Thomson Hol) in June, they are suppossed to be taking delivery in May of their fleet. Am worried sick!.
What about submerging the batters in oil, like cooking oil. It's not conductive, keeps the batteries cool and obviously a fire can't start... Don't people do this with computers all the time?
chalet 1
Yeah and serve hot chicken and hot meals of all kinds too (LOL!!!)
zennermd 0
Oil can still catch fire. Some super computer companies like CRAY use(d) that kind of technology, but it is a special kind of oil. You then need to recirculate it to disapate the heat, which starts adding weight.
That kind of oil is poisonous. Many nasty chemicals in it. Not good to have in a mobile environment of any kind. Useful in power distribution equipment like power substations and transformers on power poles/ underground installations. And it does burn! T
he smoke is very toxic.
How much heat do these lion batteries create? Is anyone else aware of other applications where failure has occurred? To disastrous results? And the simple question is, why wouldn't they just switch to traditional battery like airbus has said it will do, would allow them to get the birds airborne faster and buy time to develop the lion technology/repair
Because other batteries are larger and there is no room on the 787 for a redesign. They committed to this. Airbus can still make changes because they haven't started production of the A350 except for prototypes.
skylab72 1
They can become explosively hot when their energy transfers, both in and out, are not carefully controlled with a thermal feedback loop. All batteries have issues with short circuits, LIon are even more sensitive to heat and contain self oxidizing combustable material. Do you remember the laptop fires of a few years ago? LIon batteries. There is a long history I wish Boeing (as I am sure they do as well now) had researched it better before they designed 787 battery boxes and put greater focus on heat dissipation.
LiIon batteries have been a problem in many applications from Chevy volt to Sony computers and many models of telephone both regular home wireless sets to cell phone.
Anything with that type of battery is subject to some sort of heat related failures from overcharging or excess current drain. (Short circuit.) The size only makes the matter worse.The bigger the battery, the bigger the fire.
Boeing will get it fixed.. they are the best, and always will be.
I think the 747 had door locking issues as well
My daughter is due to fly to Mexico on a Thomson holiday in June and is booked on a 787 as Thomson are supposed to have their new fleet of them in May. Will this still be going ahead now? Am really worried about this.
Thomson is preparing contingency plans to cope with the possible unavailability of their B787 deliveries going forward. The most likely outcome is extended use of the company's established workhorse B767-300's which make up TOM's existing long-haul operation. Try not to let all this worry you; safety is absolutely paramount and TOM will not take chances with its reputation.

BTW, I was fortunate enough to fly on a B787 with Qatar Airways back in December. It actually offers a superb passenger experience; I look forward to flying on the type many more times in the future. Let's just have some completely new batteries to fully restore public confidence, Mr. Boeing!
Good time to short BA. Stock is only down ,75 today.
....... " Boeing's approach implicitly acknowledges that four weeks after two batteries overheated ---- investigators have still not pinpointed the cause. " ....
This is what the text of the main article says . And Boeing still hopes for an interim(temporary) fix ? sic.!
As I have been saying/asking that is it not possible that the batteries may not be the cause BUT they may the effect of malfunctioning of some other systems ?
Do they(Boeing) think guys at the FAA are as foolish cum mentally blind that they should accept boxes or special enclosures to contain heat or fire from spreading to other surrounding parts ?
And what about the performance and reliability of functions connected with these batteries in the event that my apprehensions are correct? The fault is else where and you keep the aircraft flying with a defective system or sub system and put the lives of people in peril , in danger ?
I think FAA should neither be so myopic nor in a hurry to let selfish commercial interests of Boeing overwhelm their(FAA) collective wisdom .
God save the prospective fliers of 787 !
Considering that the millions of hours of testing on the ground and the thousands of hours of flight testing between the first flight and the fires in jan 2012 showed no problems, then yeah. I'm willing to consider that this is not a design flaw but some flaw with the battery instead.
Millions of hours in use, NOT testing, which was MAYBE thousands.
Really? Down vote with no reply? Panzie.
Daniel Baker 0
Millions of hours of testing on the ground?
"Since entering service, Boeing 787 Lithium-Ion batteries, each with eight cells, have logged more than 2.2 million cell-hours on the ground and in the air during more than 50,000 flight-hours. No battery-related incidents occurred before January 2013"
chalet -4
This temporary fix is absolutely madness for the problem is still there, it is akin to solve a serious appendecitis situation or something like that by administering sedatives instead of going straight down to the only cure that will save the patient´s life: surgery.
you haven't been alive long have you? Temporary fixes have been used on all new aircraft throughout the years. And some of them were for a lot more serious problems than putting a box around a battery. See DC10 and 747 for example.
chalet 0
For instance, what? The DC-10 had two awful tragedies, the fist one was when one of GE engines on an American Airlines tilted upwards on taking off at O´Hare and dropped against the ground killing a lot of people. They fixed that problem with a permanent solution, not a temporary one. Then the cargo door on a Turkish Airlines DC-10 blew open due design error and the plane crahed down in Paris. They gave it a permanent fix. Both cases it was attributed to a design error. As for the 747 I don't recall any catastrophic accident due to a design error. So...what are you talking about?
First ... was the cargo door problem.
A problem where not following the proper closing procedures combined with s design flaw in the latch could cause locking pins to be bent out of place, wile at the same time a visual indicator showed the door was locked.

AA was the 1st to have an incidence with the door issue (AA96 June 12, 1976).
McDonnell Douglas "fixed" the issue with some changes in the latching mechanism.
The Turkish DC-10 was one of the newer "fixed" airplanes. I guess that fix wasn't so permanent after all ??

Second ... The AA crash at O'hare was many years later.
That crash was not attributed to the fact that the engine had separated from the aircraft. As the engine broke away, it rolled backwards over the top of the wing, severing hydraulic lines to the forward edge wing slats. The severed pressure lines allowed the slats on the left wing to retract while those on the right wing remained locked in the down position. The asymetrical lift condition caused by slats down on one wing and up on the other is what downed that DC-10.

The "perm" fix for that design fault had nothing to do with keeping the slats locked down nor having check valves to prevent severed hydraulic lines from losing all pressure. The "fix" was to simply add sensors to each slat and sound a warning if they weren't configures as selected by the crew (the NTSB determined that if the AA191 had know about the split slat condition and had selected "slats up", they could've continued flight and circled around for an emergency landing, even with one engine out).

On May 21, 1988 AA70 (a DC-10 flight DFW to FRA) was about 2 knots below V! (go/no-go speed) when the master caution alarm sounded. The takeoff roll was aborted and even though the abort was done "by the book", an issue with the brakes resulted in the aircraft over running the runway. There were no fatalities, but the aircraft was a total loss. The master caution was due to a "slat disagree". The "fix" in response to AA191 at ORD is what indirectly destroyed N136AA.

On July 19, 1989 UA232 (a DC-10) suffered a catastrophic failure to the #2 engine. One of the engine's fan blades had broken and separated with such a force that the failure was not contained to the engine. The fan blade severed a hydraulic line. That line did not have check valves to prevent of total loss of hydraulic pressure. The aircraft lost ALL hydraulics, though the crew miraculously managed to guide the un-controlable aircraft to Sioux City, Iowa for a crash landing.
Hmmm ... engine failure lead to a severed hydraulic line which "bled out" causing a loss of flight control ... does that sound familiar ?? I don't think the "perm fix" of installing slat disagree alarms helped the UA crew much.
chalet 1
Your recolection is interesting but not quite correct. The American DC-10-10 crash at O´Hare in 1979 was traced to an improper following by the AA mechanics of the OEM O&M manual regarding the procedure for removing the engine from the wing and that created firstly a weakness on the pins which later tirggered the rest of failures that you mention. As for UA232 it was entirely caused by a fan disc failure of the center GE CF-6 engine. Now I don't see your point, see these and other DC-10 accidents occured long after the DC-10 went into service that is after accumulating millions of hours of operation whereas the 787 battery problems cropped up only a few weeks or months after they went into regular route service.


アカウントをお持ちではありませんか? 今すぐ登録(無料)!機能やフライトアラート、その他様々な設定をカスタマイズできます!