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The back-up plan is in case regulators find issues with lithium batteries after the 787 troubles

In the wake of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner issues, Airbus said it's prepared to redesign or utilize alternatives to its A350 lithium-ion jet batteries.

Airbus expects to use lithium-ion batteries much like those used in the 787 Dreamliner, but with recent battery fires occurring in the 787 jets, Airbus is ready to make any necessary changes that authorities may require.

Airbus has addressed that fires could be a potential threat when using lithium-ion batteries, but feels safe with its designs enough to continue with efforts to use them.

"We identified this fragility at the start of development and we think we resolved it about a year ago," said Fabrice Bregier, Airbus CEO. "Nothing prevents us from going back to a classical plan that we have been studying in parallel.


"We have a robust design. If this design has to evolve, we have the time to do that. If it has to change in a more drastic way because the authorities reach the conclusion that the technology is not mature, then we have all the time we need to do this on the A350 before first delivery in the second half of 2014."

The 787's lack of fire-fighting system has been the subject of inspection over the last week, but Airbus declined to offer any details regarding the A350's fire-fighting system or on the battery's design overall.

Throughout January 2013, 787 Dreamliner jets through Japanese airlines All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) had various issues concerning the lithium-ion batteries. The 787s were grounded in the U.S., Japan and India while an investigation began.

Source: Reuters



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Airbus better than Boeing ?
By mjv.theory on 2/1/13, Rating: 0
RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Ammohunt on 2/1/2013 3:18:06 PM , Rating: 1
IMHO Its generational; i recently read an article about engineers resurrecting an old Saturn V test engine to study it for an engine design for the new moon missions. They were amazed on how well it performed for being designed 50 years ago using slide rules. Engineers nowadays rely too much on tools other than their brains and are conditioned to think inside the box, indoctrinated in school to be adverse to risk. This results in a lack of innovation when it comes to solving complex problems typically using complex solutions. Think engineers now could have done what engineers in the past did for the Apollo 13 mission? i have my doubts.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By TheDoc9 on 2/1/2013 4:30:49 PM , Rating: 2
No, most engineers are genius level outside and inside the box creators. Most of them OVER engineer their creations. Then either management steps in and creations are purposely built to the minimum guidelines, or perhaps the contract 'needs' take priority. Often times though it's just someone with a huge ego and everyone else in the room gets tired of arguing.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By maugrimtr on 2/5/2013 6:38:00 AM , Rating: 2
Somewhere in Boeing is an engineer report stating that lithium ion batteries are a fire hazard and it's likely dozens, if not hundreds, of pages long with stacks of alternatives and safeguards. Somewhere is the manager who had final say in judging that risk to be acceptable so they could cut corners, start delivering aircraft and making profits.

I'm also extremely dubious about the rest of the aircraft's safety. If they can't contain a fire from a damn battery that everyone knows is a technology prone to be volatile when overheated/charged, then how can we expect them to have dealt with all the numerous other issues in an aircraft of this size and complexity.

Damn right, I'd prefer to be on an Airbus or an older Boeing with a good modern track record.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By mugiebahar on 2/1/2013 7:39:25 PM , Rating: 2
I agree 1000%, I've been saying that same thing for a long time. The engineers of old could use their hands and had practical knowledge. Nowadays they only learn the text book but never the lessons. I know we judge people's abilities by marks but I think they should start testing real ability. Engineering degrees are handout nowadays, I know I have one. But I can tell you is what I learned in school was good but I never really learned what I thought I would. I learned more in the first 2 years of real work then my who,e time @ university. It's sad but true,


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Manch on 2/4/2013 8:09:31 AM , Rating: 2
I see this in the IT engineering field a lot too. So many people with "certifications", and degrees, but no practical experience. When they run into trouble they have no idea what to do. They can ace the tests and all that, but they fail to comprehend the fundamentals or ave the ability to apply their knowledge to real world situations.

This problem is wide spread across a lot of different professions. I think a lot of it is the pursuit of knowledge has been replaced with wood sharking.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By compal on 2/3/2013 4:26:50 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe the reason for that well designed rocket engine was that Werner von Brown the superb German rocket engineer designed it to get the Americans to the moon. Pity the Yanks never had the decency to acknowledge that fact.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Ammohunt on 2/3/2013 10:57:39 AM , Rating: 2
I am sure they teach a different version of history in the UK then in the states. The designer of the V series ICBMS is well known in the history books i studied.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By US56 on 2/3/2013 8:53:47 PM , Rating: 2
Presumably you are referring to Wernher von Braun. The claim that Americans have never acknowledged the contribution of von Braun, Rudolph, and many other German engineers and managers who contributed to the U.S. space program is patently ridiculous. The truth is very much the opposite. It is also a fact that neither the F-1 nor J-2 engines, the prime movers of the Saturn V, were personally designed by von Braun. He was in charge of the overall design of the Saturn series of heavy lift vehicles. He did take a personal interest in the design of the engines because that was the most critical element of the program with the possible exception of the inertial guidance system. The F-1 and J-2 engines were designed by very capable teams of engineers and managers at Rocketdyne whose work was overseen by similarly capable teams of engineers, managers, and administrators at NASA. How things have changed. Sorry to say, the U.S. could not repeat the feat of landing a human on another celestial body today despite all the computer aided engineering tools. It's not because engineers today are not capable. It's a lack of national motivation. We really have the former Soviet Union to thank for super-motivating the U.S. space program at the time.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By DT_Reader on 2/1/2013 3:27:06 PM , Rating: 3
It's crap management. When Boeing bought MD they tossed out all the Boeing policies and replaced them with MD policies, going so far as to send Boeing managers to be indoctrinated at the MD training center. I left shortly after that, and I've never looked back. When they moved corporate headquarters to Chicago we all knew management couldn't care less about the product anymore.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By US56 on 2/3/2013 9:02:01 PM , Rating: 2
The technical issues with the 787 are largely the legacy of Phil Condit and to a lesser extent Harry Stonecipher. How Condit got to be the CEO of Boeing should be the subject of a management school case study.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Jeffk464 on 2/1/2013 5:37:29 PM , Rating: 2
Hey how about being able to eject the battery core out the bottom like being able to eject the warp core in Star Trek. :)


By Reclaimer77 on 2/1/2013 9:39:19 PM , Rating: 2
Which is a worthless feature because the damn thing NEVER works when they need it to! lol. Seriously in 7 seasons of The Next Generation did the emergency core ejector thingy ever EVER actually work once? Just once?


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Jeffk464 on 2/1/2013 5:41:17 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Lets be honest about it, you'd rather be sat in an Airbus than a Boeing

Airbus, Boeing, once I'm in the seat I can't tell the difference. It's all about per passenger operating cost, people choose the lowest ticket price. And since when is it in a government contractor's interest to come within the target cost? Its all about getting the contract and then milking every last dollar out of the US tax payer.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Amiga500 on 2/2/2013 6:38:07 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
The 787 represents the biggest quantum leap in airline technology since the pressurized cabin.


Hahahahaha... such hyperbole.

A few key milestones in commercial aviation (ignoring prior instances that were not commercial):
- 1938, Pressurised cabin (Boeing 307 - basically a B-17 with seats)
- 1949, Turbojet engine (DH Comet)
- 1957, Turbofan engine (Boeing 707)
- 1969, Widebody (Boeing 747)
- 1969/1971, High bypass turbofan (R-R RB211 / GE CF6)
- 1969, Supersonic Transport (Concorde)
- 1985, First use of composites on primary structures (Airbus A310)

The next bunch are not so landmark, but pertinent to the usual counter-points (there may be commercial aircraft that pre-date these with the same technology).
- 1986, First composite wingbox (ATR72)
- 1986, First composite wing spars (ATR72)
- 1986, First composite wing skin (ATR72)
- 2005, First composite wing ribs (A380)
- 2005, First composite fuselage sections (A380)

The big first on the B787 is the bleedless engines (all-electric architecture), which may, or may not, prove to be a success. Certainly, Airbus aren't finding the numbers adding up for A350, which is thus retaining engine bleed.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Reclaimer77 on 2/2/13, Rating: -1
RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By slunkius on 2/4/2013 4:12:10 AM , Rating: 1
great strategy. if proven wrong, just say it was hyperbole/joke/invitation for discussion. what a d-bag...


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Jeffk464 on 2/2/2013 10:30:37 AM , Rating: 2
Dont forget rectangular windows with rounded corners. Somebody should be sewing apple.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Jeffk464 on 2/2/2013 10:32:12 AM , Rating: 2
PS squared off corners caused the comet on you list to crash.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By Visual on 2/5/2013 10:22:29 AM , Rating: 2
What kind of thread do you use to sew an apple?
I also wonder if you can knit a watermelon...


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By US56 on 2/3/2013 2:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
In fact, the Concorde was not the first supersonic jet transport. That honor truly goes to the Douglas DC-8B. All DC-8 from the -20 (8B) to -50 series were supersonic capable. Not only supersonic capable, but supercruise capable. Once supersonic, the aircraft would continue to cruise at about Mach 1.01, no afterburner needed, surfing it's own shock wave as the B-70 was later designed to do. The DC-8 was originally designed to cruise just below Mach 1. Douglas engineers knew that under predictable circumstance an aircraft flying a that speed could enter the transonic region. For safety, the DC-8 was designed to maintain full control in transonic flight. My uncle worked for a major U.S. airline as a first officer and later captain. At first they let their 8B go supersonic if only to confirm the reports they had heard from other crews and later used the extra speed to make up time on the long over water flight from the west coast of the U.S. to Honolulu. There are many commercial airline passengers who went supersonic on a DC-8 and never had a clue since the jet would slip through the transonic region "like a warm knife through butter" according to my uncle. No control flutter, buffeting, aileron roll, or other behaviors typical of an early jet aircraft design going through the transonic region. Some crews weren't that careful about reducing speed when approaching the islands which led to numerous reports of sonic booms which could not be attributed to military aircraft flights. With the informal concordance of the FAA, the airline put a telltale on the Mach meters and crews who then failed to restrain their DC-8 from going supersonic either deliberately or by not carefully monitoring the autopilot were fined by the airline.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By cjc1103 on 2/5/2013 3:35:32 PM , Rating: 2
I call shenanigans.. there is no other information out there to support this account. Also if you read the account of the supersonic DC-8 test flight, it's obvious this could not be a normal operational mode. I'm going to assume the engines were at max thrust for the supersonic dive, and it took 10000+ feet in a dive to accelerate past Mach 1. Not to mention there were controllability problems, including aileron and rudder buzz, and lack of elevator effectiveness. They were lucky to bring it back in one piece.


RE: Airbus better than Boeing ?
By US56 on 2/3/2013 12:46:41 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, right. How many A320 with a sidestick controller crashed killing all or most aboard before Airbus sorted out the software problems with their digital flight control system? Answer: 4

What make of jet passenger aircraft has a tendency to disintegrate in flight and the failure is blamed on the pilots "over-controlling" the aircraft? Answer: Airbus


solution?
By Nortel on 2/1/2013 4:13:18 PM , Rating: 2
Call it ignorance but why can't they simply use LiPO of LiFe (A123) batteries?




RE: solution?
By Jeffk464 on 2/1/2013 5:50:57 PM , Rating: 2
wait, I thought lithium ion is supposed to be safer then lithium polymer.


RE: solution?
By wavetrex on 2/1/2013 8:19:40 PM , Rating: 2
LiFePO4 = best technology we have so far. Very safe, not self-igniting, quite resistant to shock.

The downside is that they have only around 70% capacity of Li-Ion... still, good enough !

(A123, yes, and there are others producing this chemistry)


RE: solution?
By Pneumothorax on 2/1/2013 10:06:40 PM , Rating: 2
Another downside is that LifePO batteries' voltage during discharge behaves like NiMH which isn't good as they'll keep their nominal voltage during almost the whole discharge and then just fall off the cliff. This makes it hard to tell how much the cell is actually charged/discharged. LiIon/Lipo batteries voltages go down linearly during discharge so it's easier in that respect.


RE: solution?
By Samus on 2/2/2013 2:12:03 AM , Rating: 2
Voltage stability is easily resolved with a supercap (although I doubt THEY are FAA approved) but your right the real issue is voltage drop. The battery in the 787 is subject to massive power draw on takeoff, this might not be met with LifePO.


RE: solution?
By heffeque on 2/3/2013 4:26:37 PM , Rating: 2
Why the f*ck does the 787 need a massive power draw on takeoff? Why do others not need it? Confused here.


RE: solution?
By m51 on 2/4/2013 10:19:09 AM , Rating: 2
A supercap is not suitable in this application due to the duration of the peak loads.

It's also not necessary with LiFePO since the power density is much higher than most other Li chemistries. LiFePO has a lower energy density but it excels at high power drains.

Battery capacity can still be monitored with the flatter voltage curve, it's not as simplistic as a simple voltage measurement but it's not a problem with a proper design.


RE: solution?
By zephyrprime on 2/5/2013 1:20:09 PM , Rating: 2
LiPo and LiFePo have much better high power capability than Liion at the expense of capacity. This is why they are used in power tools and electric cars like the volt rather than cheaper, longer running liion.


RE: solution?
By tecknurd on 2/5/2013 2:15:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Another downside is that LifePO batteries' voltage during discharge behaves like NiMH which isn't good as they'll keep their nominal voltage during almost the whole discharge and then just fall off the cliff. This makes it hard to tell how much the cell is actually charged/discharged. LiIon/Lipo batteries voltages go down linearly during discharge so it's easier in that respect.

So what Lithium Iron Phosphate behaves like Nickel Metal Hydride during discharge. LiFePO4 are safer than Lithium Ion batteries. LiFePO4 may require more research to create a proper circuitry to keep the discharge and charge rates predictable. Lithium Ion will require more protective shell so if it does explode on impact it will not cause too much harm. If I am a passenger, I would vote for LiFePO4 because it is safer instead of Lithium Ion being easier for the engineer to use in a circuit.

When I read or heard of a vehicle or plane using Lithium Ion batteries, it feels like I am sitting on a bunch of bombs. I am a worried of cellphone and notebook computer using Lithium Ion batteries. These devices do have a history of becoming like bombs just by accident.


What I find most amusing...
By SublimeSimplicity on 2/1/2013 2:37:22 PM , Rating: 2
Is that what is going unsaid is that the reason the 787 is using that chemistry of battery is because they are FAA approved. Safer, better suited, chemistries are out there, but the expense and time to get them FAA certified is too much.
So Boeing is forced to use a cell that they know is unsafe, because the FAA says its safe and because getting the FAA to rubber stamp a cell they know is safer would take too long.




RE: What I find most amusing...
By DT_Reader on 2/1/2013 3:33:44 PM , Rating: 3
Not true. The FAA didn't certify the battery in advance, leaving Boeing little choice but to use that battery, they certified that battery because that's what Boeing chose to submit for certification. Boeing chose the most volatile form of Li-ion battery to save weight and space. The weight is a small issue; the unfortunate reality is that they didn't leave room for a larger substitute, so now they're really hosed. Airbus, by being two years later to market, has two more years to make room if they need to change the battery type.


RE: What I find most amusing...
By Amiga500 on 2/1/2013 5:51:42 PM , Rating: 2
A380 already has lithium ion batteries. However they are used very, very differently to 787 (and envisaged use on A350).

I think you can expect the 787 grounding to go on for quite a few months yet... maybe beyond mid-year before they are flying again. Right now, they cannot even find the problem, which is most troubling.

An interim solution, which gets the planes airborne again and provide more information, may be using a heavily instrumented battery pack, temporarily cancel ETOPS certification and only allow flight paths that are constantly within 1/2 hour of a suitable divert airport. Of course, not ideal... but there aren't many alternatives.


RE: What I find most amusing...
By Amiga500 on 2/1/2013 5:53:44 PM , Rating: 2
Just a note; the FAA didn't certify the battery as such, they gave it special dispensation.

[Special dispensation isn't as special as it sounds though, its commonly used for various things, like flying over 40,000 ft or meeting fuel tank flammability requirements.]


!
By NicholeGibbs22 on 2/6/2013 4:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
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If you think Grace`s story is inconceivable..., in the last-month my daughter in law basically brought home $8989 workin a twenty hour week in their apartment and there neighbor's mom`s neighbour was doing this for four months and actually earnt over $8989 part-time from a computer. applie the tips on this site. Fox76.comCHECK IT OUT




!!!
By GloriaHiggs22 on 2/2/13, Rating: 0
Typical ignorance and fanboism...
By Beenthere on 2/1/13, Rating: -1
RE: Typical ignorance and fanboism...
By tng on 2/1/2013 9:24:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Airbus is ready to make any necessary changes that authorities may require.
In this case is seems that the pioneers are really taking the arrows, so to speak. Really no different than the lessons Boeing learned from the Comet disasters that made the original 707 much safer.

Yeah, after years of having a job where I have to spend 50%+ of my time on the road, the brand of the plane I am in really makes no difference. Just another flight.

Yes I want to see Boeing be successful, but since the 787 is the first of a new generation of designs, we all knew there would be some issue that would come up. As it goes, this one seems to be out of left field and probably will be a minor one, I hope.


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