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Squawks & HeadlinesFAA says Boeing can fly Dreamliners to test batteries

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FAA says Boeing can fly Dreamliners to test batteries

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Federal transportation officials approved test flights Thursday for Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, as part of the effort to figure out why batteries failed on two of the innovative planes that have been grounded for weeks. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and Michael Huerta, head of the Federal Aviation Administration, jointly announced the approval, saying the flights would be subject to extensive pre-flight testing and occur over unpopulated areas. (www.usatoday.com) More...

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Jonesie22469
Ivor Jones 1
Tell me...I have it on good authority that there are 30 Lithium batteries on a "Dreamliner"
Can anyone confirm this ?
I also understand the batteries are charged at the ramp and not by the engines. Cheaper to use land based power than fuel power. The batteries can be charged by the engines in an emergency ?
pottsla
Christopher Potts 1
From one that is technically illiterate, I look at the the Tesla electric motor vehicles powered 100% by lithium Ion batteries. To keep those batteries from thermal runaway affecting the adjoining cells, they run coolant past each of the cells. Even some laptops and mobile phones have had problems with lithium batteries overheating. I don't know why the Boeing Company don't run coolant through their batteries.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Yes ground power is cheaper , safer and more convenient , to name a few reasons , but Buddy , how do you charge a battery , even a car battery which has been used for starting up the engine ? Naturally while in motion , by internal/on board/mobile charging systems .

akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
Dear Friend , not to sound impolite , the cooling system is a part of original design of any equipment . Easiest example is about water cooled car engines and air cooled mobike engines ! In both cases the engine designs take care of heat dissipation and keep the respective engines cool on continuous running basis . But always as a part of initial design , and not as an after thought or retro fit .
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Apparantly the original design doesn't work.
pottsla
Christopher Potts 1
As I mentioned previously, I make no pretence at being a technically literate or anything near that only thinking of a simple solution, but I am having trouble understanding your reply. Does that mean from what you are saying about retrofits and afterthoughts, that Airbus fitted newly designed wings to the A380 when they had wind problems or did they make a retrofit to cure their problems. I would have thought doing a retrofit as the initial design is faulty would be the natural way to go. I can think of plenty of aircraft that have needed retrofitting to make them safe. Maybe I am misunderstanding your comments in some way. And my dear friend, I to do not wish to sound impolite!
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 1
So , redesign or a different product(battery)is the only option . No repair work !
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
I think you are right. If it was just a repair it would already be done. Back to the drawing board.
wrkruspe
bill kruspe 0
It's about time. I hate when the media makes a mountain out of a molehill. The fact is the batteries in question were made in Japan,and a design change four months ago resulted in a problem, not the catastrophe made public by the,"NEWS"!
I still believe this fraud administration has an in for Boeing from the farce snd lawsuit it tried to raise in SC over their decision to build a plant in a right to work state.
Any company has the right to build a plant anywhere it so pleases.
jshhmr
josh homer 0
Thank you! Since the beginning, I have suspected that since the Japanese made these batteries, they have been doing everything possible to clear themselves of any responsibility. I'm not a conspiracy theorist, but something smells fishy.
james801
James Farnsworth 0
That may be true. But if you look at the testing and process used by ALL involved saying this will happen “Less than once in 10 Million flight hours” and it has happened twice in less than 100 K hours it make them all look bad. And the FAA approved it so you can bet the Fed’s will CYA. And airplanes have flat tires each day too. Ya just can’t get 100,000 miles out of them tire now days. I do hate the news that’s why I try to get info from the NTSB or FAA and so on.
WALLACE24
WALLACE24 1
Looks like more than a molehill. Fire, grounding, no answers in weeks!!! I'll bet Boeing is treating it like a mountain not a molehill.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 0
Makes a lot of common sense ! Can you ascertain your ability or disability to swim WITHOUT entering water ? And as I had said earlier also , those engaged in testing MUST devote themselves not as experts but as curious youngsters , as rookies which they are due to lack of knowledge about the causes of damage they are searching . They must build up data from scratch , from grass roots . Ask city fire department to educate/teach these aviation experts about the ground rules for fire accident investigation.
Remember , highly academic theoreticians teach in the class , BUT practicals are conducted by junior lab assistants who prepare us for the real world , different from that taught in the class rooms ! No doubt , class room instruction is also necessary but it has to be super imposed with real life too , which is the ultimate fact .
But all this effort will be of no use if the investigators work from their high million dollar pedestal . If they honestly want to succeed , they must change from white collar to (dark) blue collar .
skylab72
skylab72 0
Simple answer to the simplest part of the problem. You cannot run the failing component through its inflight profile without being "inflight". Period, it is a thermal problem and the thermal conditions in flight are unique to being in flight. The real problem, and the one both Boeing and the Japanese, have preconceived attitudes about, is the suitability of a lithium ion battery solution to the energy system design issues that drove the 787 development team. They were forced to push the envelope of LiIon battery scale/performance to achieve energy efficiency design goals set without regard to solution specifics. The challenge is, the trade-off the team was pushed the hardest for improvement in, was operating cost. The $ drove dropping the APU and attempting to subsume that function with batteries, batteries known to have a steep thermal curves, both in operating profile and danger zone. Batteries that, at the time, only had proven operational data at a scale an order of magnitude smaller than what was needed for a modern mid-size wide-body airliner. They knew the the issues, and now they have to live with the results. I don't have any sympathy, a small, much more efficient APU, to augment the batteries would have given them time to safely ride out the LiIon development curve. Battery technology does not and cannot progress at the same rate as other avionics. This seems to be yet another case of "suits" making decisions engineers should be allowed (required) to make.
akayemm
Er.A.K. Mittal 0
Dear Friend ' skylab72' , thanX for the intelligent and mind blowing pointers . First , yes it always pays to read the foot notes and then the fine print . Your explanation about heating is very enlightening and confirms what I have been saying all along . Creation of heat and its dissipation , these are two inherent factors two sides of the same coin , always co existent . Like good and the evil ! I only wish if the " experts " engaged in the investigation try to adopt basics and a bit of common sense , as suggested , the causes and the solutions can be determined in much shorter time ! But , I doubt that . Because the " experts or specialists " are always prone to make simple things/situations/problems complicated by high sounding jargon . Where as , as taught to me , the ability of an expert lies in making things simple , not complicated , whether for product design or system design . Or problem solving . There is another squawk about testing reported by out pet forum , link , http://atwonline.com/aircraft-engines-components/news/boeing-787-test-flight-collects-battery-data-investigations-0210
Some may be interested to read the truncated info and the following comments by readers .
Let wait and see whether our so called experts wake up to simplify or complicate and delay the solution .
rodco
steve plonski 0
sorry, time was MST
rodco
steve plonski 0
1603H 02/09 BOE4 aircraft is listed as a P-8 pix is 787, is on a flt also hanging around is BOE305 a King Air, interest, neither is high or fast, guess the test is on.
Moviela
Ric Wernicke 0
It is good they are testing in flight. Those tests made on computer by the nerd in the Go Daddy Superbowl commercial are no way to proof a design.
BJHallinan
B.J. Hallinan 0
We should park every automobile in the world! Somebody got a flat tire yesterday.....
james801
James Farnsworth 1
No you can just pull over and change it if you know how. No parking lot at FL390.
james801
James Farnsworth 0
I may be way off but I don’t think I am. The 787 has two of the batteries one for the APU to start up by and one to run backup systems like floor lighting so forth. The batteries should not be running anything in flight. I do 110% agree that the testing and set up was pushed due to years of over runs and billions of extra cost due to all the above.
james801
James Farnsworth 0
Very true. Most have a hard time doing the "blue collar" part. And it is sad.
pmbell64
Pat Bell 0
ZA004 is a 787 test frame that was Rolls powered. It sat at BFI for a long time (may still be there) without engines. ZA005, with the GEnx engines is the only test frame currently active.

Boeing will reuse the flight numbers and it looks like they are currently using BOE4 for P8 flights.
skylab72
skylab72 0
James801 check the 787 specs. The battery for this and battery for that days, are long gone. The 787 has an "integrated battery system" comprised of hundreds of LiIon cells, and no APU in the conventional sense, the turbine in the tail does not have the capacity to start the engines. It is used only for what I call bridging power, minimal current between engine shutdown and external connection. If running when needed, it also augments your "backup" ground emergency power functions.
james801
James Farnsworth 0
How are you geting your info? I am going based off the NTSB, FAA, BCA and 12K hours + as Capt or FO on the 737, 767 & 777.
skylab72
skylab72 0
Boeing web site, google searches with 3 or 4 related terms thru nominally aviation related web sites, plus Boeings first-flight publicity material given to a reporter friend. I hesitate to mention holding an A&P ticket some years ago since your ratings are current, but it is what it is. The challenge here is I fear you are unaware how much Boeing pushed the envelope on this design. The 737, 767 & 777s are all classic designs with, as I am sure you are aware technical roots going back over a decade. With the exception of the basic physical layout the 787 is for practical purposes a 'clean sheet of paper' exercise. For starters the flight controls are not hydraulic, they are electronic, using servo actuator technology developed in the defense industry over the last few decades. In fact enough other hydraulic actuators were also replaced with digital servos that I use the working assumption there are no hydraulics on board. All that saved an amazing amount of weight... IF and only IF they could facilitate enough power to drive all these high peak demand systems in a light enough package to allow conventional aircraft generation systems in two engines to be the energy source(s). They were faced with managing almost an order of magnitude more electrical energy than any previous airliner. The answer they chose was Lithium Ion batteries coupled with a four tier energy management system under the supervision of another multi-redundant system of computers. The basic layout is two battery bays, one fore one aft, two generator systems, one in each engine, and a complex multi tier (main dividing criteria here being expected load) energy buss system that literally touches everything else in the aircraft. When you first look at LiIon battery specs they are very seductive. The energy weight ratios are so much better than anything we have ever had before it is tempting to use them everywhere. BUT, they contain material that combusts without external oxygen supply. Both the charge and discharge thermal curves are non-linear and terminate in a geometric progression. And if that were not enough, the chemically safest enclosing materials do not dissipate heat all that well. Wait, there's more. Once the Boeing team had that much energy on tap they seemed to conclude it would be smart to reduce the weight and fuel consumption even farther by relieving the APU of engine start duties. Poof there goes several hundred more pounds and who knows how many million$ in fuel each year. Like I said the LiIon specs are very seductive. I am fairly confident of the above as fact. All of the remainder please take as opinion subject to my biases. From what I am given to believe about the existing design there are two significant problem areas. 1) Operational profile: because the engine start task was allocated to the batteries they are pre-heated by discharge, prior to take-off in an environment without a good viable heat sink(on the ground). Then they are immediately subjected to similar heating at near max charge rates to achieve 'safety margins' for flight, again with less than optimal heat dissipation possibilities(climb out not nice cool cruise altitude). 2) Battery pack design: Although the drawings I saw were not the best resolution, I am sure the battery packs were designed to fit space and facilitate replacement, not to facilitate function. Both battery modules are roughly square rectangular boxes(I know not the material), each containing eight (8) LiIon cell packs, two stacks of four long skinny flat rectangles. That geometry places a full HALF of the primary heat dissipation surfaces of these packs facing another battery! In my not so humble opinion, the Dreamliner's battery pack design is inherently unsafe because the eight cells inside it are packed too tightly to dissipate heat effectively, particularly when you consider the energy levels involved. As a point of reference, before I retired, I worked on a 'smart weapon' (which must remain unidentified because of the detail about to be disclosed), with a 700kJoule LiIon battery pack. Surely smaller than a single one of the 16 packs in a 787, and we wound up redesigning the battery cage several times to dissipate enough heat to keep from exploding or burning batteries near the edges of the vehicles performance envelope.
james801
James Farnsworth 0
I got some read n to do. Thanks...
ReneGS
Rene Salazar -4
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

Boeing wants to test 787 Dreamliner in flight

"Boeing has submitted an application to conduct 787 test flights and it is currently under evaluation by the FAA," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said Tuesday.

http://money.cnn.com/2013/02/05/news/boeing-dreamliner-test-flight/
RayRev
Ray Rev -4
Don't Fuken dislike it!
RayRev
Ray Rev -2
(Duplicate Squawk Submitted)

FAA approves test flights for grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner

2/7/13 The FAA approves the 787 is safe. About the battery, the battery has a chemical that can make fire. But how did the JAL one in Boston lose fuel? There was a test flight Thursday from Dallas to Everett to try what happens. The flight arrived safety in Evertt. Boeing is suspended and will cause delays.

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-boeing-faa-787-test-flight-20130207,0,4409155.story?track=rss