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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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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.

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