The July 24 report by the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on the Sept. 3, 2010, crash of a UPS Boeing 747 in Dubai urges operators of the Boeing freighter to consider the role aircraft vibrations and the acoustical energy they generate might play in onboard lithium-ion battery fires. While GCAA investigators suspect an onboard battery fire brought down the aircraft, they did not pinpoint the cause in their conclusions.
The FAA-approved Boeing service bulletin for the 787 calls for modification of the charger and battery monitoring unit to narrow the acceptable level of charge. In essence, this means lowering the maximum charge allowed and raising the minimum level of discharge allowed. In other words, it cuts the performance gain the lithium-ion technology is supposed to bring.
As Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways and other Boeing 787 customers are returning their Dreamliners to service with battery system modification kits, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still looking for the cause of the January 7 APU battery fire aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston Logan International Airport.
Flight operations specialist François Lassale, managing director of Vortex FSM, has cast doubt on the wisdom of pilots’ depending on iPads in the cockpit. “Some operators are so caught up in iPad fever they’re not thinking about the complexities the units add to flight operations when they’re used in the cockpit,” he told AIN.
As Ethiopian Airlines and other Boeing 787 customers prepared to return their Dreamliners to service with battery system modification kits, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) conducted an exhaustive, two-day investigative hearing into the design and certification of the lithium-ion batteries implicated in the airplane’s grounding. Sixteen witnesses testified and answered questions during the hearing on April 23 and 24 at the Board’s Washington, D.C., headquarters.
U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) members and technical specialists questioned representatives of Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration on Tuesday about assumptions they made in determining the probability of lithium-ion batteries failing on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
A new aluminum-lithium foundry in Issoire, France, opened March 26 by aluminum specialist Constellium embodies the latest effort to regain ground lost to composite materials in aircraft construction. Dedicated to a new line of alloys dubbed Airware, the new casthouse has the capacity to produce 14,000 metric tons of aluminum-lithium per year, making it the world’s first large-scale production facility of the alloy.
Boeing executives expressed what they consider a “reasonable expectation” that the 787 Dreamliner would return to service in a matter of a few weeks at a briefing last Friday in Tokyo during which they detailed the company’s plan for certifying a solution to the “issues” surrounding the airplane’s lithium-ion batteries. However, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner and 787 chief program engineer Mike Sinnett acknowledged that the timing will depend completely on the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s certification schedule and a smooth execution of the testing.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continues to focus on the design, certification and manufacturing processes of the lithium-ion battery system used on the grounded Boeing 787.
Whenever the non-aviation media gets hold of a story that involves aircraft certification issues, such as the recent Boeing 787 lithium-ion battery problems, an enterprising reporter “discovers” that the FAA applied “special conditions” to the certification of the product in question. These stories seem to imply that the manufacturer was given some sort of special dispensation, a way to get around the regulations to obtain the FAA’s stamp of approval.