Analyzing the two Boeing 787 press conferences–and new polls

See new polling below the jump.

Two back-to-back press conferences last week are clearly the beginning of Boeing’s effort to rebuild confidence in the beleaguered 787 and confidence in the 787 and Boeing brands, which have taken big hits following the grounding of the worldwide fleet January 16.

The airplanes have been on the ground for two months and two days. Boeing says it hopes the grounding order will be lifted by the FAA within weeks. Clearly, Boeing will be ready if the tests currently underway validate the series of fixes it’s worked out. We’re not as sanguine about the timing, if only because the FAA has never been known for its speed, because Ray LaHood, Secretary of the Department of Transportation of which the FAA is a part, painted himself and the FAA into a corner with his silly “1,000%” remark, and because of uncertainty of how the Japanese and European regulatory authorities will respond to the fixes.

But we will acknowledge that Boeing has worked with the FAA’s Seattle office to find solutions, so review in Washington (DC) is not as if officials there are starting “blind.” But we can’t help but think that given the spotlight on the FAA’s certification process from the National Transportation Safety Board and the FAA’s own declaration that it will review its procedures in certifying the airplane battery in the first place that a go-slow pace will prevail.

As someone whose business and experience also include communications, we found Boeing’s two press conferences to be well-done beginning efforts on rebuilding the brand. The press conferences were lengthy and there were tough questions at each.

The problem, if you want to call it that, is that the journalists are not engineers and while they asked some tough questions, some of the information is probably over their heads. But skepticism was evident.

Andy Pasztor of the Wall Street Journal challenged Boeing on its view there wasn’t a thermal runaway as others said, including the National Transportation Safety Board. Boeing’s representatives took the view that a thermal runaway had to threaten the airplane, and what occurred did not, so it wasn’t a thermal runaway. The NTSB and others believe a thermal runaway is a thermal runaway and that’s that–along the lines if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it’s a duck.

The whole discussion of thermal runaway struck us as parsing words. We recognize that engineers view things differently than we mere mortals, but perception matters and we don’t think Boeing made a persuasive case that the thermal runaway didn’t matter.

As we listened, we were a bit disturbed by Boeing trying to down-play the fire on the JAL airplane. Only small flames occurred, Boeing said, as if this was inconsequential. The NTSB and the Boston Fire Department seem to have a different view. As we reported, an Airbus presentation in March 2012 about fire and smoke concluded it takes just eight minutes for a fire to get out of control and if airborne, the plane should be put on the ground within 15 minutes. Fire is fire. Remember the duck.

(Analysis continues after the polls.)

What is your reaction to the back-to-back Boeing press conferences? Readers have commented real-time but we’d like to follow up with new polling.

Question 1:

Question 2:

Question 3

.

Still, we came away after the press conferences convinced that Boeing has done everything it believes possible short of swapping out lithium ion batteries for older technology nickel-cadiums.

People criticize Boeing for outsourcing, for not testing enough, etc. As we’ve pointed out previously, Boeing never built batteries and always relied on [outsourced] vendors. We reject this criticism on this narrow point.

We’ve also said previously that aviation is replete with examples of manufacturers testing to standards they believed were appropriate, only to find through later in-service experience that the testing was inadequate. This is evident in this case, but this doesn’t suggest that Boeing or the vendors were derelict. Perhaps the NTSB and FAA reviews will conclude differently but we think instead conclusions will find that well-meaning efforts simply fell short.

Reuters has this story about Boeing now putting the battery through tests it once avoided. This, we think, kind of proves the point. We were the first outlet to report the RCTA task force, following a reference to it on Randy Tinseth’s blog.

42 comments on “Analyzing the two Boeing 787 press conferences–and new polls

  1. I think it’s a good enough temporary fix that will get them flying again during the summer, but that Boeing will be obliged in the long term by authorities and customers to better identify and mitigate the causes of such thermal runaways (and, I suspect, other electrical system issues).

  2. It’s all well and good that they are now certifying to the RTCA standard but I think everybody is ignoring, forgetting or overlooking the fact that they completely failed to meet the special requirements as set out with the FAA back before the RTCA standards were released.

    Are the FAA going to ensure that Boeing’s test regiment actuall do meet the requirements of the standards Boeing is supposed to meet? Or is the FAA going to let Boeing run the show and make the decisions again?

    I must say, there are either ver many people who are seeing this whole battery situation far too critical or Boeing and the FAA have collectively decided to forget all of their responsibilities to each other, Boeing’s customers and the flying public, as well as those on the ground. I hope that it is a case of many of us seeing things too critical.

    Now for the Uwe-like question of the day. Could it be that Boeing is in a rush to get this thing all done and sorted before the NTSB has this hearing next month and especially before it releases its final report and recommendations?

    • Actually, I don’t think they are certifying to the RTCA standard. I think they have adopted certain tests from the DO 311 standard.

  3. True, Boeing never built batteries. But Boeing dismantled in-house expertise, consolidated and closed laboratories, and shifted technical authority from in-house subject matter experts to suppliers – for batteries and in a lot of other technical areas.

    Years ago, I spoke to a national authority on spacecraft batteries, who retired early when he saw his career potential going out the door, so to speak, to suppliers.

    An engineering problem-solving culture requires close coordination, sharing information, technical judgment, and trust. Done badly, you will get sub-optimization and poor outcomes. Done well, you will balance stakeholder interests and succeed in the marketplace.

    • It seems the economics of specialization and outsourcing have a downside, which may be characterized as a tendency for the overall design and construction process to become disconnected.

      In this case, the battery becomes a commoditized black box element. Boeing just lays out some specs, and the battery appears for a cost. The outsourced battery-manufacturer specialist is focused first and foremost on putting out a good off-the-shelf unit at a lowest cost. But, to contain costs, the battery supplier is not going to allow the distraction of ‘gee, might there be this problem or that in the proposed application of our battery unit?”

      Meanwhiile, the buyer of the outsourced element happily assumes they have done there work and all will go well. If the technologies are proven and robust, no problems will emerge. But, as in this case, if a surprise problem kicks in, the solution is an enormous headache, due to the many parties involved.

      My guess is Hersman, who has done an excellent job until now, is also being pressed (and will comply) to quiet things down. Boeing and FAA know in their hearts (well, lacking hearts, let’s just say they know somewhere, inside!) that they screwed up, but both are so addicted to success-via-smoke-and-mirrors that they are depending on the population to simply forget. The lack of an attention span by modern consumers is a wonderful and reliable enabler for shoddy workmanship, half-baked design and captured regulators.

  4. Airplane manufacturers spend a lot of time dealing with hypothetical risks. The potential risks of thermal runaway, battery fire and smoke ingestion were identified. Boeing certified that these events more or less couldn’t happen. Yet they did happen.

    In the current PR campaign, Boeing question whether any of this actually did happen. They don’t know why what they claimed didn’t happen, did happen. But they are sure it won’t happen again.

    In short, the managers and PR people are talking a lot of nonsense. Hopefully the FAA are getting a rather more coherent picture.

    The 787 will, and must, fly again. We need to be assured of one thing: no 787 battery will catch fire again.

  5. IMO – that BA had input to theDO 311 and RTCA standard, to then say- well it ( standards) and tests were not finalized until AFTER we were in the cert process is evidence of ” save money- save money ” power point rangers. Ditto for no iron bird and just how stupid can it be to do a poor simulation of tests between APU and Battery.

    And then to get up and say ‘ no thermal runaway” per “our” definition and no ‘ flames” per our definition is pure spin- about as fast as a jet engine turbine.

    And as mentioned in other threads – the exhaust pipe venting game IF and when simulation inn lab has to be a joke. wonder what frequency will be with air passing over lip of pipe when it opens. will length of pipe(s) front and middle give a nice sounding chord. ??

    And ONE fight test ? really ??

    Other issues like – most thermal issues and heat transfer routines make it obvious that when you wrap something in ‘ tape ‘ – it results in reduced heat transfer, and when in an enclosure without vents, things get warmer!. Now anytime one runs a hundred amps from or thru anything- and then charges with 30 or 40 amps some heat is generated. How much I dont know re Li-ion, but even my cell phone or laptop gets slightly warm when used or when charging.

    So will one of the tests do a thermal ?? to a molten pile of ?? and let it sit at altitude for say 5 hours ??

    And the moisture bit ? Charge the sealed case with argon or helium perhaps ? Helium great for heat transfer …

    But hey- its the same crew that missed a few decimal points in their analysis.

    wasn’t it star trek that used DI-Lithium Crystals – hey Scotty – !!! ” I canna turn it off . . . .”

  6. “Mr John Goglia, a former board member of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), said he sees the use of the RTCA standard “as an admission that they didn’t do a good job in the beginning”.”

    What a irresponsible statement. Back in 2008, when Boeing and the FAA were cerifying the battery and related systems, the RTCA test standards were not required. The NTSB should know this, but a former NTSB board member wouldn’t know it. Then saying that Boeing’s (and the FAA) position today, in 2013 about the RTCA standard is “an admission that they didn’t do a good job in the beginning” is far from true. Boeing and the FAA now have more information indicating the tougher standard testing should have been done than they had 4-5 years ago. That is all. Mr. Goglia is trying to apply what is known today to what was known then, and the two opinions will never match up.

    • IMHO you are missing the point.
      The newer standard is the result from a cooperative review involving all participants.

      The previous more lenient cert requirements were effectively written by Boeing alone
      and rubber stamped by the FAA.
      But even those lesser requirements were not met on the Dreamliner.

      How come that Boeing as a professional entity under-/mis-defined the requirements
      in comparison to this newer accessment? ( working from a principally unchanged threat )

      The trust that in theory the FAA placed in Boeing was completely misplaced.
      Boeing used the expanded powers in two steps to their advantage by going
      (1) for significantly less stringent requirements and
      (2) not conforming/testing for these reduced requirements.

      In Fanboy parlance :
      Boeing pulled the wool over FAA’s eyes, their cojones having been chopped much earlier.

      • …the only part of this I cannot quite agree with is that you imply FAA was duped. I am not so sure….

        This is the same FAA that was revealed at a hearing on 4/3/08, wherein inspection supervisors were round-filing reports by their inspectors showing Southwest was months, even years, non-compliant with an AD related to B737 fuselage cracks (the same crack issue that caused the emergency landing at Yuma, AZ on 4/1/11). The same FAA that rushed the Eclipse to certification in ’06, only to see it soon grounded (and not much later bankrupt). The same FAA that continues to delay and obstruct fatigue rules for pilots and maintenance – well, for everyone – while providing legal cover for industry players who can always answer to juries and judges that, yes, they did comply with whatever convoluted rules FAA had declared. The same FAA that draws its top officials from the airlines and manufacturers, keeps them long enough to earn generous FAA retirement pensions, then sends them all back to the regulated industry to supplement their FAA pension.

        For what it is worth, I have no doubts that, had NTSB not spoken up about how inappropriate fires are on airplanes, and had Japan not actually grounded the 787, FAA would have done NOTHING. This is not about duping by Boeing, or violation of sacred trust. This is just standard operating procedure by FAA, an organization focused not on safety, but on commerce.

        • “duped” for want of a better word.

          to rephrase: the FAA loosing their hold on the certification loop got the silent political nod all around.
          Compare to the process that eliminated effective control in the financial arena of structured products, banks selling regrouped, reportioned assets of questionable quality with their “corporate” quality rating as a bank attached. i.e. trash resold as AAA+ with the help of rating agencies and zero oversight. Oversight resources being boondogled in WoT and connected money washing, a carefully crafted distraction.

      • I am guessing the FAA is really focused on operations and engineering is outside its comfort zone. Its website certainly gives that impression. It barely mentions aircraft design at all: it’s all about getting as many planes safely through the airports as possible.

        I imagine they hate making decisions like whether these battery modifications will make the grade.

    • well look at this

      http://www.nfpa.org/assets/files/pdf/research/rflithiumionbatterieshazard.pdf

      Boeing had sufficient time to run Additional tests at least approaching the newer requirements – and also could have used an iron bird , etc

      Of course doing that would cost more money on a program that was already over cost and behind schedule

      And of course there is the CESSNA ISSUE

      http://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/ainalerts/2013-02-05/eaglepicher-li-ion-aircraft-battery-nears-certification

      it cost Eagle Pitcher a few $$$$ to run those tests – and they finally changed chemistry.

      Of course they didnt have the 10s of Millions $$ that Boeing does – so it took longer.

      MBA types still rule – damm the torpedos – full speed ahead

      and to the engine – ears who asked questions and dis not agree

      ‘ when we want your opinions- well tell you what they are ‘

      MY prediction – within 3 years- the LI -ion boom box will be standard on BA 78X airplanes, but the chemistry will be different – and other electrical problems will be at the forefront.

      • … CESSNA story says . . ..The battery chemistry is lithium-iron phosphate, which, he said, “is a little more thermally stable” than the lithium-ion cobalt technology used in the Boeing 787 battery. The EaglePicher aircraft battery weighs 40 percent less than a comparable Ni-cad battery and is housed in a stainless steel container with a top-mounted heat sink to keep it cooler during the charge cycle….

        Golly- a smaller ( amp hour ) battery with different chemistry in a SS box with A HEAT SINK on top !!

        This so it may pass DO311.

        Boeing – larger ( amp hour ) battery, with flaky chemistry, higher loads, in a SS box – not vented – and NO heat sink obvious- matter of fact, wrap battery in tape …

        What is wrong with this picture ?

      • Don, the Lit-Ion hazard study didn’t come out until after the 787 had finished its cert. Flight testing. During those thousands of flight hours there were no battary failures. As for Cessna, they opted to go another direction. Boeing chose not to do that. When the battary manufacturer gets their processes standardized and incorporate the changes the problem will go away. IMHO.

        • Jack Keller :
          Don, the Lit-Ion hazard study didn’t come out until after the 787 had finished its cert. Flight testing. During those thousands of flight hours there were no battary failures. As for Cessna, they opted to go another direction. Boeing chose not to do that. When the battary manufacturer gets their processes standardized and incorporate the changes the problem will go away. IMHO.

          True- but consider that there apparently was a Boeing type of two that knew or were involved in the study.

          So for a few years before delivery and during flight test, Boeing IF they followed their claim of safety first could have run similar stress tests – as they are NOW having to do. But they chose to use a technical loophole. And they still played word games as to meeting the lesser cert requirements.

          And thousands of flight hours with long turnaround times to to test planning and configuration issues. plus extra care before each flight, and apparently minimum battery tests only show that there was a P poor standard of care, and an emphasis on faster- cheaper. Consider that this all electric airplane was NOT an incremental improvement o/r change , but a Major leap in energy use and control. Virtually every military plane requires an iron bird and significant system integration tests, and most BA airplanes before 787 did use much more of that kind of test and analysis.

          And if Cessna – eaglepicher found they had to use external heat fins on their boom box- why does the BA version NOT have same ??

          IOW and IMO – it is NOT JUST a battery design and test problem – but a system problem with possible sneak circuits, cooling issues, and a few still unknowns.

          Of course with the same team that pushed out a empty tube to make a PR date of 787, and then flat out lied about first flight schedules, eetc what else have they missed ?

          The only sure thing done on schedule was a major raise for the management team !!

        • Li-Ion in all their glory were a known hazard at the time. But Boeing choose to not look.
          ( While Airbus seems to have carefully looked, deciding on a step by step approach )

          The recent hazard study formalized what should have been done by Boeing before they started taking a Li-Ion battery from the shelf in the High Tech Mart around the corner.

          If you don’t know about something you will first have to learn about it.
          “But there were Unknown unknowns !” is not an engineers answer.

          Then, Boeing knew before the Dreamliner ever flew that they had a problem at hand.
          See Jon Ostrowers article on Boeing contemplating changing battery chemistry from June 2008.

        • No sir, Airbus had Li-Ion batteries in the A-350 and A-380 designs for years and never gave the batteries a second thought, just like Boeing. It was only a month ago Airbus decided to redisign the battery system on the A-350, after the two B-787 incidents and as they watched Boeing getting slamed in the press because of it.
          Redesign of the A-350 was a PR move and nothing more.

        • Pretty disingenious piece of fiction you present there.

          Just looking from the outside Airbus seems to have been premeditated and careful enough to not have any issues with their less risk bearing selection of parts and an in general less risky use case to gain experience up to now.

          I wonder if the “Lithium Risk Presentation” just happened from an excess of boredom
          at Airbus or targeted the riskier employ if Lithium Batteries on the Dreamliner.

          With the mess Boeing has created in the certification field it appears prudent to
          not go there if avoidable without much hassle, time and cost.

      • Uwe, KC135’s comment is neither more disingenuous or fictional than the multitude of IMHO’s that you have posted. If the Airbus Li Risk Presentation was indeed aimed at the 787 then they must be slow learners since Airbus had Li batteries on the A350 until a month ago.

        • IMHO ;-) you do overlook the differences.

          Airbus use of the well proven cylindrical Saft Li-Ion cells shows a completely unremarkable history. From selection ~2000, design in, manufacture, (flight)testing, certification, EIS and about 13h/day use for every delivered frame over its lifetime up to now.
          Compare to Boeing’s (later?) selection of an earlier more volatile chemistry, using a more problematic cell formfactor using a patented but dangerous charging method, subverting the certification process for a soft requirements certification ( and not fullfilling those ) and having (known, unknown ) problems from day one ( i.e. even before First Flight ) on most flyable frames in customer service only doing 4..4.5 hours a day

          This is less a Li-Ion tech domain than a Boeing “cheap profits” domain problem.

          Airbus took a stand off approach towards Li-Ion main-ship batteries due to the mess Boeing has created. No amount of augural activity will be able to predict in what direction this mess will clear up.
          A rather prudent decission to progress towards EIS for the A350 without getting entagled in external problems created by a competitor. Difficult enough to keep some suppliers alive and/or hold them to production schedules and quality.

        • No sir, Airbus NBs are built to fly an average of 10 hours per day, Boeing NBs built for an average of 14 hours. Both OEM WBs average 12 hours per day, although the B-777, B-747, and A-380 can easily do 16 hours per day

          Airbus wanted and needed the Li-Ion batteries in the A-350 not only because of their higher voltage and faster charge rates, compaired to Ni-Cad batteries, but for their lighter weight, also. The difference in weight between a Li-Ion battery and a Ni-Cad battery for airplanes is up to 100 kg (average), or 220 lbs, per battery (a Li-Ion weighes up to 27.2 kg or about 60 lbs). For a two battery airplane, that is almost 150 kg per airplane.

          Airbus had the Li-Ion battery in the A-350 design up until the B-787 battery problems began to unfold, about a month ago. Now the ‘redesign’ will take up to another 6 month delay, although the first few A-350s bilt will have Li-Ions, including the fligh test airplanes. Later Airbus will need to certify the Ni-Cad version as a supplemential.

    • Don Shuper :
      … CESSNA story says . . ..The battery chemistry is lithium-iron phosphate, which, he said, “is a little more thermally stable” than the lithium-ion cobalt technology used in the Boeing 787 battery. The EaglePicher aircraft battery weighs 40 percent less than a comparable Ni-cad battery and is housed in a stainless steel container with a top-mounted heat sink to keep it cooler during the charge cycle….
      Golly- a smaller ( amp hour ) battery with different chemistry in a SS box with A HEAT SINK on top !!
      This so it may pass DO311.
      Boeing – larger ( amp hour ) battery, with flaky chemistry, higher loads, in a SS box – not vented – and NO heat sink obvious- matter of fact, wrap battery in tape …
      What is wrong with this picture ?

      here is photo from seattle times for eagle-picher box

      http://seattletimes.com/ABPub/zoom/html/2020241395.html

      note the heat sink !!

      Now find a heat sink on the Boeing Boom Box !!

  7. There is a huge risk in proceeding with any fix without knowing the problem and ignoring NTSB interim findings of a thermal runaway which melted everything in the casing and spilled over to the equipment bay. One must start with the premise that the JAL event was in fact a thermal runaway. Anything that melts the knobs has my vote as a thermal runaway. You?

    The fix is questionable on many fronts. Sticking with Li-ion is surprising to me. It’s volatility has been amply demonstrated, so why not proceed with a less volatile chemistry. The chances of this fix reaching the one in a billion mark is a huge risk. It’s like Mike is drawing to an inside straight. You are left asking why?

    This engineer was surprised by some details released in the P-R campaign: Electrical Insulation tape was shown wrapping cells. This tape and added thermal insulation will impair heat escaping the enclosure, in effect protecting the airframe from a thermal runaway. A single cell’s thermal runaway will have no problem melting that tape!

    Is the cell monitoring and controlling card was still inside the battery container? The JAL investigation was seriously impaired by that control card being consumed. If it were my fix, I’d be looking to remotely locate it so that a cell popping it’s top would not destroy the card too.

    I am left asking myself, is this is the best the industry can do?

    • “Is the cell monitoring and controlling card still inside the battery container?”

      I guess so.
      Enlarging the images on Randy’s blog shows the same blue box inside
      that we know as “the” 787 battery. cosmetic changes inside.
      A set of extension cords interface to the outer Box connectors.
      The 3D view of the changes shows the exact same drawing that the 787 updates site
      shew as presenting the original internals.

  8. I am now retired but worked the Boeing 787 flight test program from its inception. From what I’ve heard about the FAA approved test program for the battery improvements, testing does not include a battery fire during flight testing to prove out that it will be controllable if it happens again. All testing has been or will be conducted in labs or on the ground. That means data from these tests will be extrapolated to situations when the aircraft is actually flying with passengers onboard. If I were the FAA, or the Japanese or European equivalent, I would not accept these extrapolations and assumptions made and make Boeing prove the battery fixes with a fire started on the battery while flying – and with more than one flight.

    The “salesmen” at Boeing, which still include most of it’s Executive management, overpromised and underdelivered many times during the 787 buildup and flight testing program. Originally, the flight testing was only scheduled for 6.5 months with fast delivery to customers. While many experienced Engineers who had been through other test programs warned that this could not be done, the salesmen insisted to customers, the media, and it’s own employees that it could. The rest is history with a commercial program that has the largest cost overrun, and a delivery that was the latest in the company’s history. What lessons were learned? The folly continues.

    • Note to TESTER …AMEN AMEN AMEN … just further proof the MBA and PR power point rangers ran/running the show. Now that you are retired you can speak out with credibility specifically on the 787.

      Would that there were more of you !!!

      • TESTER said ….I would not accept these extrapolations and assumptions made and make Boeing prove the battery fixes with a fire started on the battery while flying – and with more than one flight…

        Its obvious that Boeing risk managers would or have argued that such a test while airborne at 30K or more would be an undue risk to the crew . . . and would have to get special insurance, etc and fly in circles over non populated areas within say 10 minutes or less of an airport. That gets expensive and way to much risk for employees . . .

        • Sure there is risk, but the risk should be taken by Boeing instead of some future commercial flight full of passengers in the middle of the Pacific or Atlantic ocean. Those within the company who argue that the risk in minimal should be required to ride along on the test flight. That includes Mike Sinnet who said the plane will return to commercial operations in a few weeks. Give him firefighting gear and see if he can put out a lithium battery fire in flight.

      • I see a lot of parallels in how Microsoft developed and the Linux Wars were handled. ( certainly differences in timescale, MS traversed its path much faster ).
        But the behaviour and toolbox is the same. Also MS had(still has) brilliant and motivated people working for them they were much too focused on the “wrong things” to prevail.

        In that context having the enduser available as beta tester is a must.

  9. Tester :
    Sure there is risk, but the risk should be taken by Boeing instead of some future commercial flight full of passengers in the middle of the Pacific or Atlantic ocean. Those within the company who argue that the risk in minimal should be required to ride along on the test flight. That includes Mike Sinnet who said the plane will return to commercial operations in a few weeks. Give him firefighting gear and see if he can put out a lithium battery fire in flight.

    After Boeing’s complete denial of reality Re flames and thermal runaway I’ve given up hoping that we are going to get this thing fixed properly… But I will start a book on how long after the first grounding is lifted we get a second grounding or a hull loss, over / under is one year, I’m going for under.

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  11. KC135TopBoom :
    No sir, Airbus NBs are built to fly an average of 10 hours per day, Boeing NBs built for an average of 14 hours.

    Well, Mr. TB I give you a happy ROFL.
    If you ever find the time have a look at the Billy Wilder 1961 movie “One, Two, Three”.
    ( lookout for Otto presenting the differences between american and soviet rocket performance )

    I was talking about actual utilisation. If you do the numbers for the Dreamliner you will see that it is a hangar queen in comparison. ( Having threefold backup obviously has its price )

    published numbers for the A380 indicated ~13 hours/day 20month after EIS.
    More recent numbers are slightly higher afair.

  12. KC135TopBoom :No sir, Airbus NBs are built to fly an average of 10 hours per day, Boeing NBs built for an average of 14 hours. Both OEM WBs average 12 hours per day, although the B-777, B-747, and A-380 can easily do 16 hours per day
    Airbus wanted and needed the Li-Ion batteries in the A-350 not only because of their higher voltage and faster charge rates, compaired to Ni-Cad batteries, but for their lighter weight, also. The difference in weight between a Li-Ion battery and a Ni-Cad battery for airplanes is up to 100 kg (average), or 220 lbs, per battery (a Li-Ion weighes up to 27.2 kg or about 60 lbs). For a two battery airplane, that is almost 150 kg per airplane.
    Airbus had the Li-Ion battery in the A-350 design up until the B-787 battery problems began to unfold, about a month ago. Now the ‘redesign’ will take up to another 6 month delay, although the first few A-350s bilt will have Li-Ions, including the fligh test airplanes. Later Airbus will need to certify the Ni-Cad version as a supplemential.

    Airbus didn’t need a lithium-ion battery as much as Boeing did. Airbus claims that their A350XWB requires less power than their A330, while the 787 requires more than an A380.

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  15. Although Boeing said the fix is permanent, it is clear it won’t stop research and design improvement. Imagine the 68 kg weight penalty incurred by the fix. It’s good Boeing is really pushing for Li-ion because by the time they perfect it, it would be a very big advantage for them.

  16. Pingback: Reader confidence rising about Boeing battery fix for 787 | Leeham News and Comment

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