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The FAA Will Let Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Fly Again 32

Posted by timothy
from the but-you-must-haul-chuck-yeager-around dept.
derekmead writes "Having completed intense review of the aircraft's flight systems and functionality, component reliability, two weeks ago Boeing completed testing on the last item on its list, the plane's battery housing. The FAA on Friday approved the new system. That means the 787, which Boeing has continued to build while new battery solutions were developed, will now be able to resume regular flights as soon as workers are able to carry out an overhaul of the planes that need the upgrade. 'FAA approval clears the way for us and the airlines to begin the process of returning the 787 to flight with continued confidence in the safety and reliability of this game-changing new airplane,' Jim McNerney, CEO of Boeing, said in a news release announcing the approval."
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The FAA Will Let Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Fly Again

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  • by alen (225700)

    the 787 can fly again, but it won't be allowed to fly the major international routes. only the ones where the flight path is always within an hour of a major airport

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It's perhaps worth noting that the root cause of the two battery failures hasn't been found. So the idea is not to solve it, but to make it safe (safer) when it happens again.

    • by peragrin (659227)

      The root cause was found. minor manufacturing defects in the battery. The rest is just in case a bad battery slips through quality control.

      You can plan for perfection but is usually wisest to plan on imperfection.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by fnj (64210)

        Let's have a dose of reality here. The root cause is PRESUMED to have been manufacturing defects. Nobody at Boeing or the FAA seems to have genuinely evaluated the likelihood that the lithium ion technology has BUILT-IN liability in the basic concept.

        The only real question here is whether the protective redesign is adequate to contain the inevitable battery failures which will come, without setting the plane on fire or releasing poisonous fumes into the cabin.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yuasa (the Japanese battery maker) blame the charging regime. They wanted the secondary regulator, Boeing disagrees.
          http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/28/us-boeing-787-report-idUSBRE91Q1CU20130228

          Your laptop battery has a regulator in it, it's a smart battery, the chip tracks the coulombs in and out of the battery and adjusts the charge voltage as the battery ages. It also has a thermocouple on it to check the temperature during charging, to stop it overheating. If the battery has too many metal spikes

        • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

          I can't see airlines being okay with occasional fires, even if the FAA is.

          • They seem to be fine with engine blade off events, engine fires and other engine related issues, so LNG as they are all properly contained - so no particular reason they wouldn't be fine with other components having the same restrictions.

        • by PPH (736903)

          Nobody at Boeing or the FAA seems to have genuinely evaluated the likelihood that the lithium ion technology has BUILT-IN liability in the basic concept.

          Because that would take time to re-certify the entire electrical system. And it would put Boeing in a position of having to admit, "We were wrong." That, IMO, is the major issue. Once Boeing is wrong once, then all subsequent work they do could be second guessed.

          The issue of fire containment isn't as difficult to demonstrate. We know the total energy stored in the battery. We assume it is converted to heat within some reasonably short time period. Someone whips out a slide rule and figures how much of tha

      • by PPH (736903) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @10:51AM (#43503553)

        No. This battery (the GS Yuasa cells) don't suffer from these sorts of failures in other applications. They are not a new product, built only for Boeing. So, unless we are to believe that GS Yuasa has been producing the units shipped to Thales from a special, substandard manufacturing line, this is not the cause.

        The fireproof battery box solution solves one of two problems: It prevents an 'eventful' battery failure from propagating to other aircraft systems and components. It does not demonstrate the battery system reliability that Boeing had initially assumed in their certification analysis. If the demonstrated reliability to date is not sufficient for ETOPS [wikipedia.org] operation, Boeing still has some homework to do. Failing to understand the nature of the faults means that Boeing cannot, with any certainty, claim to have reset the reliability numbers back to the original ones provided by certification analysis.

    • "Before the planes can fly, they must be fitted with a "containment and venting" system for both lithium-ion batteries on the 787, the FAA said. That includes a stainless-steel enclosure to prevent heat, fumes or fire from spreading if a battery overheats in flight. Batteries and battery chargers must also be replaced with different components, the FAA said"

      I suspect replacing the batteries and chargers is the intended solution, with the enclosure and venting system being a 'just in case it happens again an

  • Plain truth (Score:3, Funny)

    by allypally (2858133) on Saturday April 20, 2013 @09:04AM (#43503085)

    Oh, when will the world learn that battery state of the art is simply inadequate for mobile devices such as iPhones and Dreamliners?

    Stick to tethered devices that draw mains power through cords - such as xboxes and trains - and all will run much more smoothly.

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