Update Nov. 22: Bloomberg News has this report detailing the source of the FOD.
It’s become a worldwide sport, trying to forecast how long the widely expected delay from the in-flight fire of Boeing 787 ZA002 will be.
Morgan Stanley predicts the first delivery of the 787 to All Nippon will slip from February to 2012. This is the most dire prediction.
Here’s ours, and this has several elements to it. Everything that follows is based on numerous conversations with many sources who have knowledge of events.
We note, as we and others have before, that we anticipated more delivery delays that would have followed the first delivery to ANA due to the cumulative effect of other, previously revealed problems and issues. These will be dealt with in parallel to the fire issue. Recall that when Boeing announced first delivery would slip from December to February, the Rolls-Royce engine failure and tail assembly and instrumentation issues were identified as the causes of the delivery slip. These and other issues remain outstanding, we believe, and would have caused additional delays had the fire not occurred.
The other remaining question is when will the test flights resume.
Again, based on our information, Boeing is working with the FAA to create a scenario where flights can resume with a work-around the electrical system situation pending this fix. This would enable testing of other systems to resume. The FAA has yet to be convinced this scenario is workable, so at the moment we do not have a forecast for when flight testing will resume.
Pingback: Tweets that mention Our 787 forecast: 4-6 month delay « Leeham News and Comment -- Topsy.com
Search for the guilty . . .punishment of the innocent is just one of the classical stages of any new program.
In this case, no one wants to commit until ALL the facts are in.
I agree, let’s wait until all the facts are in.
But, I am now wondering, like others, how and why FOD could have gotten into the P-100 panel.
If that is the case, the FOD would “have gotten” into the left engine where the P100 gets its power from – presumably causing an electrical surge which may have shorted some circuits on the P100. Having said that, I find that scenario highly unlikey, unless the P100 design – and the rest of the electrical system on the 787 for that matter – is so flawed that Boeing’s problems are just starting.
BTW, what has the FAA signed off on since the fire incident on ZA-002?
If the cause was actually a FOD, why should this be so delaying. It is not systemic nor central. Perhaps you can elaborate on the consequence or frequency of such an incident. That is, was the FOD part of the panel or happened to be there by some circumstance.
But, did the resulting fire expose the fact that the electrical system needs some adjustment? Did the system fail to respond appropriately? Seemds like it did from other reports.
It still sounds like people are speculating on rumors and guesses and there is now a race on to predict the delay time.
Someones Thermos rolling around?
Cause may be FOD put the sequence of the resulting events did seemingly not follow
through as planned. A bit disconcerting if this fault was not covered by simulation/testing for the system as designed ( or really bad luck, on the other hand good luck comes to those with good planning ). IMHO Boeing has too many “unexpected” failures outside of testruns ( which would have resulted in an “expected” fault as result of a failed test).
My interpretation is that the fire resulted in dropping through or a bypass of several levels of redundancy.
I predict a delay to Q4 2011/Q1 2012. However I dont think they’ll announce an delay that would go beyond Q3 2011.Therefore:
Announce delay to Q3 2011 -> around July proclaim that redesign was more time-consuming then expected -> announce the next or “real” delay to Q4 2011/Q1 2012
It’s how Boeing rolls these days (did they ever announce a delay greater than 6 months on the 787 program? dont think so and they are not going to break the mold this time if in any way possible) Cynical? very likely ^^
Next problem on the agenda: will suppliers ever make money on the 787 and who of them will need a financial bailout from Boeing?
Were the suppliers bright/suspicious enough to bargain for delay penalties on
Boeing botching the developement process?
Any suppliers wanting to throw their pieces at Boeings feet and head towards profitable work ( for Airbus, Comac, whatever ). Parking prepared ready to go
production for half a decade can’t be easy nor cheap.
apropos: my preburn prediction was 11/11.2011 ( begin of the funny season in Germany )
Walking away makes little sense unless you expect further multiyear delays. At this point all suppliers are heavily invested and despite the problems the 787 will sell alot. They pretty much have to stay to recoup investments. The question is can the smaller ones or those heavily dependant on this program stay alive that long?
Boeing did alot more risksharing which probably means that alot of the financial pain cant be recouped by the suppliers.
No idea if there are some delay penalties Boeing has to pay to suppliers. I have not heard of such a thing so far atleast.
FOD can stand for Foreign Object Damage or Foreign Object Debris.
FOD debris could be carbon dust from the manufacturing process.
If this caused the problem, then the result would be FOD damage.
The problem with a carbon dust issue is that the aircraft are covered with the stuff as all the fastener holes are drilled. It is also a health issue.
. . . FOD finder . .”The problem with a carbon dust issue is that the aircraft are covered with the stuff as all the fastener holes are drilled. It is also a health issue.”
As to the carbon dust- sorry to say you are clueless, and perpetuating a myth based on totally different material in totally different circumstances.
1) Dust from driling or grinding carbon composite material is NOT conductive. This is due to FACT that the fibers are coated with a form of expoxy during the fabrication of tape/cloth and later the thermosetting process. So to be conductive as dust, would be line taking thousands of pieces of small diameter insulated wire and lining them up end to end in close contact with the inner wire in order to conduct any amount of electricity. It is true that on minature celectronic circits, enough GRAPHITE DUST could possibly short very closely spaced electronic parts, and speciaL CARBON-GRAPHITE THREADS have been used to short high voltage ( over a few Kilovolts ) power lines.
Many years ago,on then B-2 program, the same issue was raised. So a plastic box- about the size of a piece of notebook paper and about 1/2 inch deep ( from memory) was filled with several cupfulls of grinding dust from composites, and covered/closed. An ohmmeter probe was inserted in both ends, and the box was shaken and stirred, etc. Nothing but an open circuit was ever observed. Voltages used in 787 are on the order of 300 volts or less AFIK .
2) yes the grindings/drill debrsis do have A HEALTH HAZARD. and grindings are abrasive as evidenced by wear on regular high speed drills. Cutting tools ( actually grinding ) for composites are typically coated with brazed diamond dust because of the abrasive/ wear factor of most composites, even on carbides.
3) IF FOD damage is the culprit, it could be no more than a stray hi lok collar, piece of titanium ‘ strap’, broken bus bar, or something that would heat up very hot before melting.
“Dust from driling or grinding carbon composite material is NOT conductive. This is due to FACT that the fibers are coated with a form of expoxy during the fabrication of tape/cloth and later the thermosetting process.”
the machining step cuts through all that and exposes carbon fibre on the cut surfaces ( both for cutting and more so for grinding ).
Add moisture from condensation ( wasn’t that an issue mentioned recently),
a bit of salt from sweaty workers and you get “conductive mud”.
But I don’t think black goo bridging conductors was the starting point here.
But condensation could well have been.
A drop of slightly dirty water (salted, carbon dust) between an opening set of under load contacts creates a conductive flash of hot plasma gas.
That can be the basis for sustained arcing. In an AC application this arc will be limited to a max of 10ms, in a DC application the arc stands until “something” gives in a major way.
UHHH EWE – your mixture of half truths and multi-faceted links such as water-salt- etc etc to prove your initial misplaced claims or disagreements with virtually all my posts is getting more than a bit tiresome- both to myself and I’m sure others.
While you are entitled to your opinions, it would surely help if you were to let the world know of your particular qualifications on the subjects you want to argue about.
In my case re carbon fiber composites, I’ll provide a thumbnail here
1) designed the brazed diamond abrasive cutters/grinders used by Boeing on major sections of the B-2, except for the abrasive/diamond coated circular ‘ saw blades ‘ used as cutoff tools.
2) Worked issues regarding drilling of composites including design/modification of certain drill motors used in the industry – both on then B-2 and other programs
3) VERY much involved in lightning protection issues on B-2, including computer controlled copper plating of composite parts.
4) About 20 years experience in hand and automated drilling and riveting and fastening of aluminum, titanium, and composite structures
The above does not mean I am always right, but I usually take pains to cite my sources or related experience, instead of just putting together a narrow – specific scenario based on supposition.
yes – carbon arc lights use carbon ‘ rods’ and ‘ sticks’ and with high voltage do sustain very hot temperatures.
Trying to fit that scenario into carbon dust equivalent is an extreme stretch.
And your expertise lies in ???
Sorry, Don S, but I work with carbon fibre on a day to day basis for many years now and I can assure you that the dust IS conductive. Everybody works with pneumatic tools for a reason.
If it is a stray Hi-Lok/Hi-Lite Collar or some other FOD, which is abviously something which does not belong there, why would a redesign be required? Would it not be an issue of reminding the people to clean up after themselves and a more robust pre-flight cleanup and inspection?
Or would they redesign to prevent FOD from reaching the P100 panel itself. Some sort of protective cover? Somehow I don’t see that as being the case.
I also don’t see the need to ground the whole fleet merely due to a FOD issue on a single aircraft.
Denmark is smelling strange again.
I tend to agree with the first couple of contributors… it’s too early to define what sort of delay may occur. Let’s wait and see what the conclusions of the investigation are. What I don’t understand is what is this theory of FOD? Has a homeless rat been running around the fuselage short circuiting the panel? Surely they would be able to immediately determine if it’s FOD, the skeleton would be there (so to speak)…
I honestly, at this stage, do not believe these pessimistic analysts predicting a doomsday scenario of the 2012 EIS.
I think the FOD is a Foreign (not part of the specified airline parts) such as an Allen wrench, screwdriver, unused termination, nut, screw, foil candy wrapper, pen, can of cleaner, etc that was being used for work or maintenance in the panel and accidentally left (like surgeons occasionally leave things inside the body). Most industrial power panels have exposed hot terminals, bus bars,lugs, fuse holders, etc. The bouncing of the flight finally shifted the item into a spot where a short occurs.
How often are these panels opened, did these panels have openings for test wiring not reclosed, all could lead to the cause of the initial fault. How the system behaved after to me is the biggest issue.
Donna S, did you get notice that your inherited pension fund just died
or where do I have to place that choleric outbreak?
There’s something missing here. Something unexpected happened as a consequence of the fire that’s created an uncertainty. Or possibly in the circumstances surrounding it. After a while you get attuned to Boeing’s press releases about what went wrong with the 787 project and to the leaks from those associated with it. Previous snarl ups have been fairly clear cut with some causing more delay than others. Whatever it is this time may not cause much delay of itself, but it’s preventing Boeing moving forward right now.
For Boeing the fire appears to have come “out of the blue”,
I’d give you that, where all other delays were of the “still not there” kind
and the expressed inhouse surprise had a funny taste.
This one could develope into a major setback, loss of land already claimed.
On the other hand rigorous testing _should_ have exposed a potential deficiency
And Boeing is unexpectedly “unwordy” while Randy Tinseth is throwing scraps of dogfood and chattering about going to Africa, the local heroes like DonS and TopB
appear to be significantly distraught.
Theere is a big difference between carbon fiber and carbon fiber composites made of carbon fiber strands coated with epoxy-like substances. as I stated before, there are two arguments against the composite dust theory.
1) I mentioned the test that was done in the mid 1980’s
2) If the dust generated was conductive to the degree claimed, then complete ‘pure” carbon fiber strands which are conductors, neatly arranged in bundles, as in composite tape and sheets would also be an excellent conductor for lightning strikes, especially at high voltages which would easily penetrate the epoxy like skin . . . and small gaps would NOT be a problem, so hole penetrations for fasteners etc would not be a problem. Therefore there would be no reason to use a ‘ wire mesh ” system in composite parts to assure conductivity in non fuel tank areas.
But significant effort goes in to assuring there are few gaps, and embedded mesh is a valid technique for lightning protection.
As to pneumatic tools such as drills. In the 30’s and 40’s electric drills were most commonly used in aircraft production. But they became a hazard even then.
Pneumatic tools can be and are used just about anywhere. Even though the exhaust air mist contains small amounts of oil. However using pneumatic tools in composite actually makes the health hazard worse, unless surrounding vacuum shrouds are used to collect the ‘ composite’ dust and deflect the exhaust. Pure carbon dust in itself is not toxic, but combined with epoxy binders changes the situation, and is often considered and handled like toxic waste. Its sort of like rock dust in mining, inert in itself, but breathed in over periods of time tends to plug up the small pores.
Electric drills cause arcing and sparking especially in the presence of dust particles conductive or not, and combined with sparks small dust particles can be hazardous as in boom!
Then explain this to me:
Why is my vacuumcleaner sparking when I am routing carbon fiber/epoxi and why is it not when I am routing glassfiber/epoxi???
Don S. Is correct on the issue of conductivity of resin impregnated carbon fibre materials.
It’s LACK of conductivity is a more serious issue, requiring all sorts of elaborate techniques and schemes for the electrical continuity of the airframe, particularly for protection from the effects of lightning strike.
I would be dubious of any claim of FOD as the cause, absent an absolute smoking gun. I am shocked at the lack of circuit protection built into the panel if it is so.
I also find the arguement that “this is why we test” tragically funny.
In the modern era of aviation, nobody is testing an aircraft to see if it bursts into flames. So let’s drop the “silver lining” nonsense.
What I want to know is:
How long can major suppliers go on supporting the 787 program before being ground down financially due to delayed shipments and presumably, payments.
Good question. I agree, economic survival of the 787 supply chain is now starting to get an issue for Boeing. In most cases Boeing could simply regrate the suppliers, but such a solution will be expensive for Boeing. It would heavily add to the already existing cost overruns of the 787 program and put it increasingly in a forward loss position.
I was musing about this having impact on Airbus supply.
Boeing binds quite a lot of potentially productive resources with their shenanigans
at suppliers who invariably tend to serve both airframers.
Uwe, you asked if there are contactors on the 787 on a previous post.
There appears to be contactors on th P100 panel.
Thanks, last night I saw a “flash” of the 6 internal pics posted in different places ( and taken down on notice from Boeing.) Looks like standing arcing
melted away the aluminium cover from one contactor.
I would have expected isolating blades between contacts due to the
On CFRP: the fibres are highly conductive, the final composite can have much lower levels of conductivity and it is always anisotropic.
Overheating/charring will increase conductivity.
I saw the pictures as well. Amazing how quickly “Big Brother Boeing” got everyone to play the meek sheep and remove the pictures so quickly.
A shame. I understand the Seattle Times also had some experts (not msy description) describing what was being seen in each pic.
The A350XWB gets most of its systems and engine bugs ironed out on Boeing’s time and dime during the 787’s development.
What is left for Airbus to do is the fuselage which as a company has much more experience than Boeing on using composites.
Also the method of designing and manufacturing different sections of the aircraft in distant places and then shipping them into one final assembly line which caused a ton of troubles for Boeing is the way Airbus is building its aeroplanes for the last 40 years.
Airbus wisely didn’t choose to take unnecessary risks such as bleedless technology which do not improve performance at all and just ad new and untried complexities to the airframe.
“Boeing picks the hot potatoes for Airbus”
I’ve heard this quite often in the last two weeks.
I would like to contest this.
All the mentioned items are either designed to Airbus specs
like networked Avionics, variable frequency power generation
and not to leave out “the better creature comforts” of lower
cabin altitude a plastic first in the Dreamliner but prototyped
by Airbus with the A380 .
Or Airbus just does not do them like barrels and High Voltage DC Buses.
Maybe with good reason 😉
RRs Trent engines and Airbus have a long common history.
The foundation for the Trent1000 happens to be the Trent900 😉
According to this French article, someone literally put a spanner (wrench) into the works, which then caused a short circuit: http://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/aeronautique-defense/20101122trib000574954/la-livraison-du-boeing-b787-retardee-par-une-cle-de-12-oubliee.html.
They say the real concern is that the breakdown – presumably in energy supply – propagated to the second electrical cabinet when these are supposed to be redundant and independent. The RAT supplied the necessary power to land the plane. I’m not sure the last accords with Boeing’s press statement.
Having said that, there’s something funny about Boeing’s claim that the “total duration of the incident was less than 90 seconds”. A reasonable understanding of Boeing’s claim is that it took 90 seconds from the short circuit to the fire to either the electrical systems being restored or the plane coming to a stop on the tarmac. Which is all very unlikely.
If we read the Nov 11th press statement carefully, it says “In the event of a failure of the P100 panel, backup power sources – including power from the right engine, the Ram Air Turbine, the auxiliary power unit or the battery – are designed to automatically engage to ensure that those systems needed for continued safe operation of the airplane are powered. The backup systems engaged during the incident …” I suppose this could mean the engaged backup systems didn’t include the right engine. It depends on how you interpret the word “designed”.
Oracle of Delphi stuff.
Leaning on the press for a Streisand Effect:
IMHO something has given Boeing a real fright, they invariably used to shown remarkable media savyness.
Boeing spoke about 30 seconds of fire ( probably sustained arcing, then something else “gave” and no further energy was supplied to the P100 panel ).
this is comparable to an arc smelter in a plastic box 😉 The rear part of the box was burned away partly baring the insulation mat beyond to the heat.
After 90 seconds from first notice of smoke no open flames seem to have been vivisble. ( How fast does one get at that place?)
Can smoke propagate from the P100 enclosure to the passenger area with the packs running ( i.e. working airflow management? That could indicate that smoke was not seen before all/most power was gone.
Or, indeed, how you interpret the words “engaged during the incident”. Perhaps they mean power from the right was engaged within the 90 seconds but only after a pause during which the plane was on emergency power.
So after 90 seconds the plane was “in a configuration that could have been sustained for the time required to return to an airport suitable for landing from any point in a typical 787 mission profile”, that wasn’t the case earlier …
Interesting that they indicate the cause of the fire was FOD, yet on the same hand they say a design change is required. If a design change is required, I doubt FOD is the cause.
Design changes will be required to make the P100 panel more robust and resistent to fire, whatever the source; the electronics will require redesign to prevent the failures that did occur and to make sure redundancies work as they are supposed to.
Redesigning the panel should not be a very complicated task. They would essentially be be increasing its overall strength and fire resistance.
How complicated is it to redesign the software to improve redundencies? Wouldn’t they have the details of the cascading issues and be able to reprogram these protections?
Perhaps I am confusing the ease with which programs can be written and implemented and those programs on a Plane.
Maybe you could elaborate more what you believe is involved.
Increasing the panels robustness in general is a neartime achievable objective.
But if redundancy and fallback responses are in question ?
That is not fixable with a three liner patch done by some intern.
Your first step would be to find the error in your toolchain that
produced the (certified??) proof that hardware and software were
functional as designed.
I would still be very keen to know what details the FAA has actually
deemed certifiable/certified. Boeing only published things about pilot
training, servicing and some other “landbased” activities being accepted
by the FAA. In other places their information was rather intangible and
I hope the term “test plane”
means that every aspect of the plane, especially its electrical system is carefully monitored and recorded. Remember, this was the plane that had/was testing the maximum load on the system.
If so, there should be lots of evidence and a paper trail that would indicate variences, etc. This should facilitate the task at hand and they should be able to repair and restore with more than a three liner patch but not a complete redesign.
from the seattle PI
Report: Tool left in electronics bay sparked Boeing 787 fire
A forgotten tool is responsible for the fire that grounded Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner flight-test program earlier this month, France’s La Tribune newspaper reported Monday.
The tool was left in an electronics bay, causing a short circuit in an electronics panel, an unnamed source told La Tribune.
While that could seem like good news for the program — that the fire didn’t start because of some problem with the aircraft — Boeing still must figure out why the outage in the first electronics bay spread to the second, forcing the aircraft to use its Ram Air Turbine, La Tribune reported.
France’s Zodiac Aerospace provides components in the electronics bay.
Boeing has said a failure in the P100 electrical panel led to the fire, which involved an insulation blanket. It has not said the incident spread to the other bay.
Just after the fire, 787 program chief Scott Fancher said the Ram Air Turbine is designed to deploy automatically in a variety of circumstances and the fact that it deployed does not necessarily mean the airplane lost all other power.
Boeing’s referenced power from the right engine in one of its statements, saying:
In the event of a failure of the P100 panel, backup power sources – including power from the right engine, the Ram Air Turbine, the auxiliary power unit or the battery – are designed to automatically engage to ensure that those systems needed for continued safe operation of the airplane are powered. The backup systems engaged during the incident and the crew retained positive control of the airplane at all times and had the information it needed to perform a safe landing.
Responding to the story Monday, 787 spokeswoman Lori Gunter said: “(T)he investigation is ongoing.”
CORPORATE ESPIONAGE by airbus re 787 about 2 years old
So, about 2 years later, what CFRP lay-down rate is achieved today?
with the exception of ferry flights the 787 has been effectively grounded for about 2 weeks now
I find it hard to believe they’d stay grounded that long with no further official information if everything that went wrong could be attributed to FOD.
It still looks like something went seriously wrong (be it the start of the fire or failing reduncacies) and they dont have yet a full grasp on it. Otherwise they’d have made a statement by now even if they didnt know full impact of it on EIS yet.
Considering all the press that followed the report from France, it does seem rather quiet from Boeing’s side not to issue an update. It remains in the shadow of the French report which serves as a “cover” while we all wait for some official statement as a result of more investigation.
My concern is that the longer there is silence, the more problematic is the solution. Considering it is Thanksgiving in a short time, I am still hoping they will issue a statement to make one more thing to be thankful for.
Direct from the horses ( er John Ostrower and others ) mouth the script has been
Enter The Airduct Clogging Fod,
a species of rare egglaying mammals that go for breezy warm places and reproduce comparable to tribbles 😉
SEATTLE – KING 5 news has learned that a small bit of loose metal, possibly a washer, caused the fire inside Boeing’s second 787 test airplane 15 days ago over Texas. The fire occurred during the final minutes of a test flight.
The piece of metal was inside the P-100 electrical bay, located in the fuselage behind where the wing attaches on the left side of the aircraft. The metal came into contact with parts of the electrical system causing a short.
The fire set off a series of events which are now causing Boeing to pursue a relatively minor re-design of its 787 electrical system.
The company is expected to announce the findings of its investigation this afternoon.
The open question is just how much additional delay, if any, this will mean to Boeing’s plan to deliver the first jet to Japan’s All Nippon Airlines sometime in February of next year.
IMHO – ANY design that allows a small piece of metal to short a main power bus or similar connector is poor. insulating bridges, fins, vented covers, etc etc can easily be designed to essentially avoid such issues.
One would assume ( wrongly of course ) that the lessons of the Apollo 1 fire in Jan 1967, where a ** possible ** source of ignition was a socket (wrench) was found in the cabin which **may ** have caused the spark in contact with some wire with worn insulation. True a pure oxygen atmosphere also ‘ helped ‘,
Zero g tests for hydraulic systems on commercial airliners also cause things to float around in other than normal directions.
IF it really was a washer – it will be known as the 100 million dollar FOD !
minor correction and further comment
. ..One would assume ( wrongly of course ) that the lessons WERE LEARNED FROM the Apollo 1 fire in Jan 1967, where a . . .
EVEN SO . Seems to me a small or even a large washer would rapidly melt and disintegrate and arcing would cease rapidly – which leaves one to wonder what else happened ??
Pingback: Boeing’s next 787 announcements « Leeham News and Comment