Boeing 787 Dreamliner Experiences 2 Serious Problems in 2 Days
January 9, 2013 6:57 PM
comment(s) - last by
(Source: Boston Herald)
The first was an electrical fire, the second was a fuel leak
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jet
ran into more troubles Tuesday after experiencing an electrical fire just the day before.
On Tuesday, a Boeing 787 operated by Japan Airlines suffered a fuel leak at Boston's Logan International Airport. The fuel leak was discovered at 12:25 p.m. ET right after the 787 left the gate for a trip to Tokyo. The flight was cancelled, and the plane was towed back to the gate where passengers were instructed to exit and stay in the airport. No one was injured.
As it turns out, about 40 gallons of fuel had leaked from the 787. The plane ended up being delayed four hours before leaving for Tokyo.
Just one day before, another 787 in the same exact airport by the same airline had experienced an electrical fire after coming in from Tokyo. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a battery in the auxiliary power unit suffered severe fire damage.
With two incidents in just two days, an obvious worry would be customers' views of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and whether the
safety of these planes
would now be questioned.
However, airlines are standing behind the 787s and insist these planes are safe. Japanese carries like JAL and All Nippon Airways (ANA) said they will not change orders to receive more 787s. In fact, JAL has an order for another 38 787s and ANA has an order for another 49.
Air China will also be keeping its order of 15 new 787s while Hainan Airlines will maintain its order of 10. Air India will continue its current order of Boeing's Dreamliner as well.
In addition to loyalty from airlines, Boeing also has experts on its side to ensure customers that the planes are safe to fly.
"I think we're dealing here with a situation where this aircraft is over-scrutinized for a number of reasons, including the birth difficulties," said Michel Merluzeau, managing partner at G2 Solutions, a boutique defense and aerospace consulting firm in Seattle.
"Don't get me wrong. A battery fire is a very, very serious event. Especially a lithium-ion battery. And we don't know what the problem is. But the 787s is still a very safe aircraft to fly."
The 787 Dreamliner was delayed for years before this official debut, mainly due to manufacturing and cost-related issues. Delays have dated back as far as 2008.
The first 787 Dreamliner
made its maiden flight
in December 2009.
is an efficient airplane made of lightweight carbon composites, which features a whole new passenger experience with dimmable windows, LED lights, reclining business class seats and even higher humidity. These lighter materials mean airlines can use less fuel.
The Dreamliners have 36 first-class seats, 70 premium-economy seats and 113 economy seats. United said it ordered 50 787s.
In November 2012, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner
made its first domestic flight
Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston to
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1/10/2013 12:00:24 AM
Yes, an electrical fire is serious, so lets just hope the batteries weren't manufactured by A123...
Boeing is on the forefront of aerospace technology here. This thing is way beyond mainstream air-frame structures (which are aluminum) and the amount of technology in the plane makes it extremely complicated. It was delayed for years because of this complication, and no matter how long you delay something, there will still be problems in the production run.
Granted, this isn't a vehicle that can be simply "recalled" because the risk is too great. The failure rate must be 0. Had this fire occurred in flight, it might have crashed, so I'm pretty sure they are taking it seriously.
1/10/2013 9:51:25 AM
You said it. The Boeing 787 is at the leading edge of design and has been operating very well for a while now. It's competitor, the Airbus A350, still has yet to officially launch.
1/10/2013 10:55:44 PM
Granted, this isn't a vehicle that can be simply "recalled"
You haven't worked on aircraft, it is easy to ground an aircraft or fleet of a particular type for a design or maintenance issue.
It happened years ago with the DC-10 for one airline's criminally bad maintenance practices and killed Freddy Lakes' airline. It wasn't even a design flaw, just bad mechanics.
Boeing said the area was designed with fire in mind as a safety feature. I expect they tested a mock up for that purpose. I haven't heard enough about the fuel leak to comment, too many variables. And yes there are acceptable fuel leak limits depending on location for every aircraft.
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