Story Summary

Boeing 787 trouble

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane after multiple emergency landings across the world were required. Japanese and French aviation officials also have launched investigations.

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Local News
05/01/13

Dreamliners resume flights

dreamlinerSEATTLE — The eight airlines around the world that have the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in their fleets are set to resume commercial flights of the aircraft by early June.

Qatar Airways was the latest airline to confirm it would resume Dreamliner flights between Doha and Dubai this week and a longer service from Doha to London’s Heathrow starting May 15.

Ethiopian Airlines was the first to recommence passenger flights with a service from Addis Ababa to Nairobi, Kenya, on Saturday.

This week, Japan authorized passenger airlines to resume flying the aircraft in the country starting Friday, officials said.

Read the rest of the CNN article HERE.

TOKYO — On Saturday, Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner successfully completed a test flight for All Nippon Airlines (ANA). The flight from Tokyo International Airport carried ANA and Boeing executives, as well as flight test engineers. The airplane took off at 8:59 a.m. local time and landed at 10:54 a.m. The crew said the flight was uneventful and went according to plan.

In a statement released from Boeing, the airplane manufacturer said “with the successful completion of today’s flight, Boeing will continue to work closely with airline customers in Japan and other countries on Aircraft-On-Ground (AOG) modification work to safely return additional 787s to flight in the coming weeks.”

Nearly 50 Dreamliners around the world have been grounded for more than three months after two incidents on jets operated by Japanese airlines called the battery system into question.

Last week, the Federal Aviation Administration cleared Boeing to make fixes to the battery system.

Also on Saturday, Ethiopian Airlines announced it will resume Boeing 787 Dreamliner service.

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boeing787(CNN) – Japan has authorized passenger airlines to resume Boeing 787 flights in the country starting Friday, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.

The move follows the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s posting of the Airworthiness Directive for Boeing’s 787-8 online Thursday. The directive goes into effect upon publication Friday in the Federal Register.

It outlines the modifications necessary for the much-anticipated Dreamliner to fly again after faulty battery systems grounded the aircraft earlier this year.

The Japanese ministry said All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines — the country’s two largest 787 operators — have already begun installing modified lithium ion batteries on their 787 jets.

CAL_787_K65741_med__thumbnailEVERETT — Despite problems with the 787 Dreamliner, Boeing reported a net income increase of 20 percent in the first quarter.

The airplane manufacturer earned $1.11 billion or $1.44 per share.

First-quarter revenue was $18.9 billion, which is three percent lower than 2012. The drop is due in part to Boeing delivering one 787 before the plane was grounded in January due to issues with its lithium-ion batteries.

Boeing said it will meet its financial and delivery targets this year, including delivering at least 60 787s.

“Strong core operating performance fueled by productivity gains and solid program execution drove higher company earnings and double-digit operating margins in both major businesses during the quarter,” said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McNerney.

McNerney said that around-the-clock work to resolve issues with the battery contributed to increasing production rates on 737 and 777 airplanes.

 

Local News
04/23/13

NTSB holds hearing on Boeing 787 battery fire

WASHINGTON — Boeing executives are in the hot seat today as the National Transportation Safety Board holds a two-day investigative hearing in to the Jan. 7 fire on a Boeing 787 that was attributed to a defective lithium-ion battery. Problems with the lithium-ion batteries caused the FAA to ground the 787s later that month.

Boeing officials answered numerous questions during a lengthy hearing Tuesday morning before the NTSB. During the hearing, Boeing spokesperson and chief project manager, Mark Sinnett talked about the extensive testing that was done with the lithium-ion battery used in the company’s 787 Dreamliners. Sinnett said the company did not know that a thermal runaway and fire would be possible.

“Our belief at the time — based on our testing — was than an internal short circuit in a cell could lead to that cell venting its electrolytes. We also believed there was not sufficient release of energy to propagate to other cells based on the development and certification testing we had done,” Sinnett said.

He went on to say that Boeing has made significant changes to the batteries to prevent future incidents.

“Inside the cell there are mechanisms in the design of the cell that are designed to limit the chemical reaction inside the battery when the battery reaches a certain temperature. It’s inherent that a separator can slow down the chemical reaction in the battery,” he said.

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On Friday, the FAA approved Boeing’s design modifications to the 787 battery system. This week it will issue instructions to operators for making changes to the aircraft that would allow the planes to return to service.

dreamlinerEVERETT – Boeing has begun replacing the batteries on some of its grounded 787 Dreamliners.

On April 19th, the FAA approved Boeing Co.’s proposed fix for the lithium-ion battery systems on its 787 passenger jets, after overheating caused the entire fleet to be grounded since January.

The BBC reporting Japan’s All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines will be the first to have their batteries replaced.

The FAA have announced their final directive on the Dreamliner will happen this week.

boeingThe Federal Aviation Administration approved Boeing Co.’s proposed fix for the lithium-ion battery systems on its 787 passenger jets, which have been grounded since January.

The FAA said it will require airlines flying 787s to install containment and venting systems for the batteries. The agency also will instruct carriers to replace the batteries and their chargers with modified components.

FULL COVERAGE: Boeing’s troubled Dreamliner

To make sure the work gets done, the FAA has teams of inspectors on-site at the modification spots. The FAA said it would not allow any modified 787 to take to the sky until it approves the work.

“Safety of the traveling public is our number one priority,” Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. “These changes to the 787 battery will ensure the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.”

The FAA said it will support international authorities working toward finalizing their own acceptance procedures.

The FAA’s move to get the 787 fleet airborne again comes two weeks after Boeing completed one certification demonstration flight that took 1 hour and 49 minutes.

Boeing and FAA officials have been busy addressing concerns about the company’s new flagship jet, which has been grounded worldwide since Jan. 16 after two overheating incidents within two weeks involving the battery systems.

On March 14, the Chicago company unveiled a plan to fix the 787 battery system. It involves insulating and spacing out parts in the battery unit, reducing charging levels so that the battery cannot be overcharged and enclosing the lithium-ion batteries in stainless-steel cases so that little oxygen can get at them.

The redesign removes any risk of a fire breaking out within the battery system, the company said.

Boeing has delivered 50 787s to eight airlines worldwide. Six are owned by United Airlines, the only U.S. carrier that has 787s in its fleet.

All 787s were grounded after a battery fire broke out Jan. 6 on a 787 operated by Japan Airlines at Boston’s Logan International Airport and a second battery incident occurred 10 days later on an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan.

The 787′s battery system, which is made in Japan by Kyoto-based GS Yuasa Corp., contains a cluster of eight individual cells packaged together in one box.

The National Transportation Safety Board has been investigating the matter, as have officials from Boeing, the FAA, the Navy, Japan and France.

Not one of them has found a cause for the incidents.

Despite the problems, Boeing’s stock has risen 14% this year, trading Friday was up $1.50, or 1.7%, at $87.62.

–W.J. Henningan, Los Angeles Times

boeing787WASHINGTON — FAA chief Michael Huerta is expected to act to end the three-month grounding of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as soon as Friday, The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday.

Citing “people familiar with the details,” the newspaper said that, barring some last-minute delay, the FAA will announce Boeing has demonstrated that the 787’s redesigned batteries are safe.

The Seattle Times later reported, too, that the FAA is expected to lift the Dreamliners’ return to passenger service as early as Friday afternoon.

The Times said, “A person familiar with the details said federal officials were preparing late Thursday to issue the go-ahead. That means the FAA approves of the Dreamliner with Boeing’s new safety-enhanced lithium-ion battery system installed.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, after facing pressure from all sides and extensive government analyses and internal debate, Huerta and Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood  “are poised to give the green light for Boeing to help airlines retrofit more than four dozen 787s.”

The FAA and Transportation Department declined comment.

The 787s were grounded in mid-January after lithium-ion batteries burned on a pair of Dreamliners in little more than a week. Boeing came up with fixes to the batteries and their casings that it said will prevent any more problems.

Meanwhile, the FAA recently approved Boeing’s standard production flight testing of the 787s that are conducted prior to delivery to a customer.

787 Landing at Sydney AustraliaK65674SEATTLE — After seemingly gaining clearance following repairs made to its faulty ion-batteries, Boeing may now be facing another hurdle — the ability to fly lengthy over-water flights, the Seattle Times reported.

On Tuesday, FAA chief Michael Huerta testified before a U.S. Senate committee that some of the embattled 787′s longer flights, such as those between California and Japan, may need to be less direct and fly closer to coastlines to keep the planes within a 3-hour distance of an airport, the Times reported.

The planes are designed to fly 9,400 miles nonstop. The 787 was awarded ETOPS certification — Extended Twin-Engine Operations — and is an important component to the 787′s viability, the paper said.

The 787 has been hobbled by problems with its battery, and the FAA grounded the planes on Jan. 16. Huerta told reporters after his Senate testimony that the agency will decide “very soon” as to when it will allow the jets back in the air, the paper said.

Boeing had no comment on Huerta’s testimony, the Times reported.

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