Two More Boeing 787 Dreamliners Catch Fire, Suffer Technical Issues
July 15, 2013 1:37 AM
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Both happened today and are being investigated
Boeing's 787 Dreamliner jet is proving to be the problem child of the bunch as two new issues occurred today.
A 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines at the Heathrow Airport in London suffered an internal onboard fire around 4:30 p.m. local time. The jet was parked and had no passengers onboard.
Fire crews rushed to the scene, as did Boeing and Heathrow officials. They are currently investigating the situation to see why it happened, but allowed flights to resume a little before 6 p.m.
Damage was found at the top-rear of the 787's body near the passenger doors when officials and emergency crews made it to the scene.
In a separate incident today, a Boeing 787 operated by Thomson Airways was forced to return to Manchester, England after attempting to fly to Florida in the U.S. Reports say it was sent back due to technical issues.
This is bad news for Boeing, considering it had so many technical and battery issues earlier this year that grounded its 787s in airports around the world.
It started with a 787
operated by Japan Airlines, which
experienced an electrical fire
at Boston's Logan International Airport
after coming in from Tokyo in January of this year. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a battery in the auxiliary power unit suffered severe fire damage.
One day later,
a Boeing 787 operated by the same airline at the same airport suffered a fuel leak.
a 787 Dreamliner with All Nippon Airways (ANA), which had arrived at the Matsuyama airport in western Japan from Tokyo, developed a web-like crack in the cockpit window. That same day,
another 787 Dreamliner with ANA had an oil leak after traveling to the Miyazaki airport in southern Japan.
Finally, an ANA 787 flight to Tokyo
had an issue with its main battery only 15 minutes into a 90-minute flight. After 40 minutes, a burning smell made its way into the cabin and cockpit, and the plane made an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport on the southern island of Shikoku.
caused all 787s to be grounded
in Japan, the U.S. and India until a safety investigation was conducted and the problems were corrected.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) finally approved of the idea to encase 787 lithium ion batteries in a steel box, add a duct to vent gases outside the aircraft and install new battery chargers. In April, Boeing
installed the batteries on five ANA jets
and started test flights in May.
ANA, Japan Airlines Co. and LOT Polish Airlines SA started flying 787s commercially the first week of June.
Boeing's stock took a hard beating today due to the two fires. According to The Wall Street Journal, Boeing stock hit a 52-week high earlier today of $108.13. After the two fires, it dropped 6 percent.
The Wall Street Journal
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7/18/2013 3:35:36 PM
Honestly an airframe should last a LONG time with zero failures. B-52's are expected to be around 90 years old when they're retired; obviously this requires proper maintenance and quick correction of any issues found. For example, one of the aircraft models I fly has a stress point by an aileron hinge. With no periodic checks for cracks that could cause a problem if the aileron were to go uninspected and eventually depart the aircraft. However, the FAA mandates through Airworthiness Directives that that hinge is inspected every 100 hours of flight time. There is a permanent structural fix for the aileron if a crack is found as well (i.e. no more 100-hour inspections required). Read below to see how the system works. Ideally you should *never* have a failure in-flight. Anything greater than zero results in a lot of attention.
There are several other documents on the FAA website that address the procedures for finding and correcting aircraft issues as well.
Also with today's litigious climate, manufacturers of aircraft components do everything they can to make sure parts won't fail before their rated lifespan has expired.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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