Will Boeing Switch to Electrical Inquiry?

Monday, January 28, 2013
By George Hatcher

Here’s what is bothering me:

It’s no secret how planes are tested before they are released, to the very extreme so how did this electrical problem issue by the testing? Is my favorite plane manufacturer taking short cuts in quality control?

The Japan Boeing 787 Dreamliner was delivered on Dec. 20 and had only flown 169 flight hours and 22 flights when one of its two lithium ion batteries caught fire.

Is the investigation going to turn from the battery to the problem referenced by the whistleblower?

Battery found not at fault by Safety Investigators in JAPAN

But is GS Yuasa really off the hook?

Battery questions:

  • If the battery was too hot, why didn’t it burn up on hours 1-169?
  • If the battery failed, what caused it to catch fire on the 22nd flight? Why that flight?
  • If the battery (which is a backup system replacing post flight hydraulics) only operates on the ground and is only engaged on the ground, why are flights grounded? If the battery is only at use on the ground, is it an actual flight risk or a post-flight risk?
  • Is the solution going to be simply going to the other type of lithium ion battery (nickel metal-hydride technology), or will components or the whole system be replaced?
  • Was this simply a GS Yuasa quality control failure, a batch of bad batteries manufactured by GS Yuasa of Japan in September 2012?

The entire 787 fleet is grounded. Replacing the battery system might be a “quick” fix but certification could last a year.

A large format battery can generate heat faster than it dissipates.

Is venting the battery and monitoring the vents a viable temporary solution that could keep the planes in the air until a system alternative has been certified within the year?

The current batteries are “prone to spontaneous combustion due to ‘organic electrolyte which makes it volatile and flammable.'”

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