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Gov't says Dreamliners must remain grounded in Japan

27 Comments
By Kyoko Hasegawa

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© 2013 AFP

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27 Comments
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Looks like the "Dream"liner has turned into a Nightmare for Boeing.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

What is funny is that you are not allowed to carry large voltage Lithium-ion batteries onto a plane for the very same reason.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

gogogoJan. 17, 2013 - 02:23PM JST

What is funny is that you are not allowed to carry large voltage Lithium-ion batteries onto a plane for the very same reason.

Actually, completely different reasons. Lithium ion batteries can be easily extinguished if they are accessible (which the 787 does make accessible), which is why you are allowed to carry batteries with you but not check them. You are allowed up to three 300WHr lithium-ion batteries (25 grams of lithium in solution) and an unlimited number of smaller (less than 8gram) li-ion batteries. Lithium metal (non-rechargeable batteries like Energizer Max Lithium) are limited to 2 grams of lithium because those burn hotter. Unless you regularly shoot professional video, you aren't going to be using large batteries anyway.

Note that it has nothing to do with voltage, since when a battery burns it's the stored capacity that matters (like comparing getting hit by a tennis ball at 150km/hr to getting hit by a bus at 40km/hr, sure the ball is faster, but the overall energy is higher in the bus)

2 ( +5 / -3 )

“We are confident the 787 is safe and we stand behind its overall integrity,”

Hate to break it to you, Boeing, but the integrity isn't all that good, clearly. And if it is, why does anyone need convincing? What is it now, 4 incidents in about one week's time?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

Airbus must be having a Party!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

smithinjapanJan. 17, 2013 - 03:02PM JST

What is it now, 4 incidents in about one week's time?

No, it's zero incidents, about half a dozen events. There is an engineering, legal, and necessary distinction between incidents/occurrences and simple events. Even the wildly successful and safe (two hull-losses and no deaths) Boeing 777 had regular problems and events, even some actual incidents You can check the databases if you want to:

http://aviation-safety.net/database/dblist.php?Type=10C

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

Basroll, hate to break it to you mate while you're busy pumping blanks into your strawman but the QC checks carried out at Boeing in America clearly failed.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

The problems with Dream liner exceed the battery system - - There also have several incidences of fuel leaks / electrical distribution problems (United Airlines) / brake problems, 'windshield cracking,/ engine failure, and fuel valve problems.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

SushiSake3Jan. 17, 2013 - 03:23PM JST

the QC checks carried out at Boeing in America clearly failed.

How can you be certain that the batteries in question are the ones installed by Boeing? Due to the sudden, recent, and significant battery failures, it seems more like replacement batteries are at fault, and those batteries are simply made to Boeing's specifications, not checked by them. Until NTSB and the Japanese equivalent release the reports on it though, it's impossible to say who's fault it is (though batteries leaking does place blame on the battery maker regardless of who else was at fault, unless it was a maintenance issue that punctured batteries).

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Electrolyte leaks and burn marks have been found on the battery’s metal casing, ANA said, with officials from the Japan Transport Safety Board working on the principle that it overheated, Kyodo News reported.

Battery overheating issues are usually caused by improper charging and overcharging. The company that makes the battery regulation components is Thales SA (owned in large part by the French government), and if it isn't a battery issue it's likely an issue with Thales SA components. Poor maintenance can also play a part.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

semperfiJan. 17, 2013 - 03:24PM JST

The problems with Dream liner exceed the battery system - - There also have several incidences of fuel leaks / electrical distribution problems (United Airlines) / brake problems, 'windshield cracking,/ engine failure, and fuel valve problems.

Too early to jump to conclusion. There are many more possible issues are involved. . .

0 ( +1 / -1 )

basroil

"What is it now, 4 incidents in about one week's time?" No, it's zero incidents, about half a dozen events. There is an engineering, legal, and necessary distinction between incidents/occurrences and simple events.

Sorry basroil you are incorrect these "events" are actually incidents. Anyone with experience in any industry would realise is. In all industry an "event" as you call it is referred to as an incident. The only thing that changes is the severity of the incident. To downplay it and merely call it an event is just a way of dumbing it down for people.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

globalwatcherJan. 17, 2013 - 04:20PM JST

Too early to jump to conclusion. There are many more possible issues are involved. .

Very true, since the electrical distribution and break problems can be associated with bad batteries (since breaks are battery powered in 787), and a short due to a bad battery can cause fuel valve issues as well. They could also be completely unrelated to each other, but there's not enough information available yet.

Fuel leaks are almost always maintenance issues, and not uncommon at all, while windshield cracks are fairly common and rarely dangerous ( anything from hail to birds can destroy a windshield, and even a blown out window isn't enough to take down a plane). They can also be caused by serious problems though, so it's best to treat the cases with cautious optimism.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

All the batteries are made by Yuasa while all the battery regulation components are made by Thales SA. Since batteries more often overheat and catch fire during charging than shorts, Thales SA's components should be checked as well as the Yuasa batteries that are catching fire.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

I think it's the Demons.

All planes have 'em. :-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Note that it has nothing to do with voltage

Maybe, but I flew JAL two weeks ago, they said no larger than 150 volts even showed me the paper because they asked if I had any Lithium-ion batteries AT ALL, I showed them my phone and they said it was okay because it was under 150 volts.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

the Japanese government said Thursday, following a similar order in the U.S.

Boeing 787s will not be allowed to fly until their battery safety is assured,” said Hiroshi Kajiyama, Japan’s vice transport minister

The problem I see here is that Japan was not willing to make an independent decision until the US FIRST made the decision to grand all 787s. Hiroshi Kajiyama was not willing to take a risk to make HIS own decision while the safety of passengers was at risk. This is a typical Japanese leadership skill. sigh. Nothing has been changed in Japan since I left there 45 years ago.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

globalwatcher : >Too early to jump to conclusion. There are many more possible issues are involved.

I am afraid you are altogether correct on that ------.there will be more. . ...........................................So it's good the FAA and Japan Gov't (and other countries) are grounding the Dreamliner until these risks are ironed out. . . .

1 ( +2 / -1 )

gogogoJan. 17, 2013 - 05:56PM JST

Maybe, but I flew JAL two weeks ago, they said no larger than 150 volts even showed me the paper because they asked if I had any Lithium-ion batteries AT ALL, I showed them my phone and they said it was okay because it was under 150 volts.

Either you or they (not first time it would happen, especially if you asked in english) were completely mistaken on the actual units. Normally Watt Hour, since you can have 370V batteries that are less than 10 Watt-Hour (bit bigger than a large cellphone), and 11 volt batteries over 100 WHr (though . Voltage means nothing without total charge. A 150 WHr batter though is much smaller than FAA regulations, and not really all that dangerous as long as you have it accessible and they have a large enough extinguisher.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

@marcels:

Airbus must be having a Party!!

Actually Airbus are holding their collective breaths.

The 787 is not the only aircraft to use Lithium Ion battery packs. The Airbus A380 uses a smaller number. And the upcoming Airbus A350 will use a much larger number

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Leave it to the experts,engineers,maintenance crews to draw conclusions as to why there are multiple problems with these units. Everyone on here is pulling and choosing information they wish to throw out being biased or non biased and not totally informed or belonging to one of the professional groups listed above.

When the actual facts as to why each "incident" happens on these units then we can all comment on the quality,configuration or just plain piss poor manufacturing that took place.

Right now seems to be a lot of selective bashing taking place without having all the facts

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Crazedinjapan : ....The purpose for this chat is NOT to echange "expert" ideas . . ...............it is simply to exchange our impressions on current events . . . . .....................................And, as for the "EXPERTS" - - evidently they didn't get it "right" the 1st time - ----- and there is no guarantee they will be entirely transparent and honest @ what the REAL underlying problems were about . . .

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I'm typically a fan of Boeing, but these groundings make sense given the incidents so far. (By the way Basroil, these incidents caused fire crews to be deployed, batteries to explode, fuel valves to operate incorrectly, and flights to be aborted mid-flight. They're INCIDENTS.)

Better to identify and correct the causes while the fleet is on the ground, then to continue operating the aircraft without resolution of these problems.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

FadamorJan. 17, 2013 - 10:34PM JST

They're INCIDENTS.

Tell that to FAA, which only reported two incidents with 787s, not four. Apparently not all the other sites I normally check have updated their databases yet, but checking directly at FAA's database showed just two incidents.

FadamorJan. 17, 2013 - 10:34PM JST

fire crews to be deployed

Only two incidents, both involving possible fire and one with known smoke.

batteries to explode,

No batteries exploded, one had a significant meltdown, the other expanded and leaked a bit of electrolyte (information just in http://news.yahoo.com/official-battery-787-swollen-overheating-061351299--finance.html ), both are the same incident as above, no need to repeat yourself.

fuel valves to operate incorrectly,

FAA says otherwise according to their site. That is not in their incident list that I could find.

and flights to be aborted mid-flight.

That has nothing to do with incidents

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Tell that to FAA, which only reported two incidents with 787s, not four.

That would be because the FAA only reports things that happen to flights in America. The incidents in Japan are outside its jurisdiction. That's why the FAA only grounded the United 787's. They don't have any say about the Japanese 787's other than to deny them access to American airspace if they think they're unsafe.

No batteries exploded

From the first battery incident in Boston:

Fire crews using infrared equipment found flames in a small compartment in the plane’s belly and had the fire out in about 20 minutes, he said. There was a flare-up later when a battery exploded, he added.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/fire-sends-smoke-into-jal-787-cabin-afte-arrival-in-boston

fuel valves to operate incorrectly,

FAA says otherwise according to their site. That is not in their incident list that I could find.

Again, your reliance on the American aviation authorities is your downfall. It was reported by JAL:

A spokeswoman said Wednesday that one of four valves connecting the centre and left main fuel tanks was open. That led to fuel flowing between those tanks to a surge tank near the wing tip and then out a vent, spilling about 40 gallons.

http://news.yahoo.com/japan-airlines-says-boeing-787-fuel-leak-boston-175813452.html

0 ( +0 / -0 )

United Airlines, the world’s biggest airline, is currently the only U.S. airline operating the 787, with six aircraft in service.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

FadamorJan. 18, 2013 - 03:32AM JST

That would be because the FAA only reports things that happen to flights in America

No, actually anywhere in the world (though mostly ones in the US), and one of the two incidents is the one on the 15th, which only happened in Japan. FAA actually takes care of air worthiness around the world (except china, russia, and countries affiliated with them or are embargoed), since most other groups wait for FAA to take care of things just like they did this time.

http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/fire-sends-smoke-into-jal-787-cabin-afte-arrival-in-boston

That's reporter speak. There guy probably said "then exploded into flames", which is not an explosion. The information released by NTSB and FAA said that the battery leaked electrolyte which then caught on fire, they never mention an explosion.

A spokeswoman said Wednesday that one of four valves connecting the centre and left main fuel tanks was open. That led to fuel flowing between those tanks to a surge tank near the wing tip and then out a vent, spilling about 40 gallons.

That is something that happens in plenty of planes and is almost always operator error. Hell, one refueler paid the ultimate price when he put too much stress on a connector and valve being lazy during refueling. It's not as uncommon as you are made to think by these articles.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

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