WHA……????? That was exactly my reaction a few minutes ago. I think the contract just may be passable and this has SPEEA concerned. When I’ve heard people talk about the contract I’ve heard more good than bad. Just an observation…. Reply
That was exactly my reaction a few minutes ago.
I think the contract just may be passable and this has SPEEA concerned.
When I’ve heard people talk about the contract I’ve heard more good than bad.
Just an observation….
Maybe the hawks on both sides are pulled back now everyone sees the situation Boeing faces now and in the next few yrs and everybody can only loose. Maybe go round the table eurostyle, take out the painfull points, burry great ambitions & move on asap. With Conner at the helm not unimaginable IMO.
Are you talking about some old fashioned ‘polderen’? 😉
Many weeks ago in another thread here I tried to explain why a
Feb 1 or 2 ‘ strike’ was practically impossible, given the documented procedures required.
Had anyone bothered to ASK any Negotiator or the SPEEA Director of communications, they would have gotten the same answer as to the approximate date of a strike ( if approved ) being mid Feb.
But for more detailed information- for those who are interested
and this extract has several links
Council Representatives will spend the next week evaluating the offers and meeting with members in the workplace. The Councils scheduled a meeting for Thursday, Jan. 31, to vote on their recommendations on the contracts and the issue of including strike authorization on the contract voting ballot. The Professional and Technical Negotiation Teams said voting packages will be prepared and mailed to members during the week of Feb. 4.
Workplace meetings with Negotiation Team members are now being scheduled.
Look to the SPEEA website and the Northwest calendar for the schedule.
Members are encouraged to review the Contract Proposal Summary and Why our Negotiation Teams are recommending rejection.
Additional information on Boeing’s offer is available on the Contract Offer webpage. Members are also encouraged to watch the special 18-minute “Trust Me” video posted on the the Contact offer page.
Now there is a section of the Summary which I have long had an interest in
…”The alternate formulas are unchanged. All
married couples are eligible for life benefits.
o Vulnerabilities exist. If new legislation significantly increases or eliminates the Social Security wage-base threshold, alternate benefit pension growth may cease for a period of time, even with continued service and higher salaries.
My point is and has been that even IF no significant change in the wage base cap- the alternate benefit has for at least two DECADES hosed those whose earnings are such that the basic formula no longer applies. BA gives the highest value of the two caculations.
The problem is and has been that every year- on Jan 1, the increase in covered compensation ( trailing 35 year average of max wage base ) results in several months of NO pension increase. Many years ago – 1990,s SPEEA agreed to Boeing simply giving the highest value prior to the Jan-feb-mar drop every year. Had they not agreed, the drop- or levelling would be in violation of ERISA which does NOT allow a reduction in RATE without notice, etc.
The above is a thumbnail
For an example, I have posted a spreadsheet which can give a very close approximation, and the graph can be modified for range by unlocking the page ( no password required )
( BTW -the particular thread SPEEA 2012 Negotiations has been viewed over 1700 times since Sept 8, 2012 – and contains more explanations )
which gives one the following
I suggest that this be forwarded to any Engineer- Tech who may be retiring in the next 3 to 4 years.
An excel spreadsheet can be downloaded as shown and persons can input as shown to get an estimate of their possible pension as described in the latest Boeing PR re contract.
is the spreadsheet-
The particular set of numbers was chosen to show the effects of changes in Covered Compensation on the Alternate formula
In effect, unless an employee consistently beats the increase in covered compensation, there will be many months in which NO increase in pension benefits.
The Alternate formula has not changed since 1993 and possibly before
A copy of the legal plan document effective in 1993 is part of the spreadsheet
Compare to the current Boeing PR and also compare to the SPD that can be downloaded from Boeing
Note that issues such as no decrease due to covered compensation OR drop off of EIP or signing bonus after 5 years is mentioned.
From the Reuters article:
“In 2007, U.S. regulators cleared Boeing’s use of a highly flammable battery in the 787 Dreamliner, deciding it was safe to let the lithium-ion battery burn out if it caught fire mid-air…”
I have cut the sentence there intentionally. It makes things appear like they should. Now to be fair to the authors here is the other part of the sentence, which we all know anyway:
“…as long as the flames were contained, and smoke and fumes vented properly.”
If anyone still wonders why the Dreamliner was grounded, the answer is in the intro above.
“…was sufficient to control the build-up of explosive or toxic gases, except in situations considered “extremely remote.” Yeah, like the Challenger “O” Rings: one chance in a billion!
“Boeing said the 787’s battery system has four layers of protection to prevent the battery from overcharging, making a fire extremely unlikely.” I guess they will need to add a fifth layer now. “While we are at it, why don’t we put six.” Joke aside, when you start with a system that is intrinsically safe you only need two or three levels of safety or redundancy.
“…it was appropriate for the FAA to impose special conditions for the 787, but a review of the approval may be something we could look at in light of the current problems.” You bet! Read this:
“In the FAA’s 2007 review, it said lithium-ion batteries were “significantly more susceptible” to fires than other types and added that those fires are tough to put out.” And this:
“Metallic lithium can ignite, resulting in a self-sustaining fire or explosion,” the FAA said in granting approval.
“It goes back to why this was approved in the first place.” That is exactly what I said on day one.
“That plane (A350) will use a different architecture that puts less stress on batteries.” Was that referring to the four-battery layout, or the airplane’s electrical system?
“It’s fair to ask about the approval process”. “There needs to be some explanation and defense of whatever they did.” Yes, and I can’t wait for the results of the inquiry.
This is so far the best article I have seen on the subject of the 787 batteries. I invite everyone to read the original article to place the exerts in their proper context.
The battery issue sounds straightforward to me. It has 4 systems to prevent it from overcharging, yet in one case, it has overcharged. In both cases, there was smoke.
That is a problem.
Even if Boeing won’t publicly admit it, this is a problem for the battery system on the 787. Boeing seems to be overlooking the problem that the FAA is now facing. Namely, that the public is now quite involved in this process and will not accept glib assurances that all is well without having it explained what went wrong in these two separate incidents and more importantly, what has been done to ensure these incidents don’t happen again. Boeing should actually be happy that the FAA is taking such a line. Once the problem is found and solved, FAA approval to resume flights will meet with less cynycism from the public.
Personally I don’t think this type of battery should be banned from airline use but its use should be kept under close scrutiny and when it fails to perform as advertised, immediate action should be taken. This has been done and I find that this is correct.
Oh, and I just love this line, “The company said it was confident the battery could safely burn out in air because of a robust system for containing a fire and venting smoke and fumes.” The company mentioned being Boeing.
Hands up all of those that want to be on the flight that tests this claim.
A very interesting article: http://www.electricvehiclesresearch.com/articles/boeing-dreamliner-implications-for-electric-vehicles-00005110.asp?sessionid=1. Puts the choice of the Li-battery type in perspective.
Anything that stores energy can burn, banning li-ion batteries? Might as well ban A1, it burns as well. The problem is CONTROL, these batteries have been used in millions of devices without trouble since the initial problems were solved. Boeing “just” needs to find the cause.
Boeing is the meat in the sandwich right now, on one side they need to satisfy the FAA and the traveling public that the aircraft is safe. Some articles are even mentioning the Comet as a comparison, and while nobody with any knowledge of flying today would agree to the comparison the traveling public is another thing. The other side of the problem is the airline customers who are getting tired of delivery delays and EIS problems.
I am surprised that Boeing talks so much about the 50,000 hours 787s have flown. I wonder how long it will be until some sensationalist reporter realises that 50,000 is less than half the life of one aircraft.
I agree about control being the issue, not the use of Li-X batteries. Working for “the other side” I know that it’s all about designing to meet a defined level of risk – not eliminating risk; that would be impossible even if you could get an armoured tank to fly economically.
Funny thing I always remember from uni – the professor lecturing the first-year course on aerospace basics was discussing the Aloha 737 open-top… then stunned everyone by concluding that the aircraft was obviously poorly designed – since it was way too strong! Any correctly-built plane suffering that kind of damage should have instantly crashed… 🙂
Interesting story about the 737. I just love that kind of anecdote. But I am afraid I have to disagree with what you say about risk.
Risk should be dealt with the way you say only if there are no other alternatives, like it is the case for Jet Fuel for example. But when alternatives do exist the choice should always lean towards minimization of risk. On an aircraft, only intrinsically safe technologies should be selected whenever possible and practical.
Why change the cat for a lion when the cat has been doing the job well for more than fifty years. Li-ion batteries have no business being part of an aircraft electrical system.
Yes risk should be avoided – but there is an economical part to the evaluation too. That’s why we don’t have real safety harnesses, ETOPS out to 330min, fail-save landing gear arrangements or ejection seats for all pax – not even parachutes.
All these are technically feasible and would increase safety – we don’t do them because they would cost more to implement than we think they’re worth.
Why change the cat for a lion? because the lion is better suited to a job than the cat. Your reasoning would have kept the human race in their caves.
A think the 787 electric system / battery combination is facing two failure modes, so forget quick solutions.
From the Reuters article the we see the blame game coming up. Maybe the FAA is to blame & Boeing won’t mind sharing media attention with the FAA, subcontractors, Airbus etc., broadening the problem, reducing the heat.
The question is why the FAA went along with the Dreamliner application of these batteries. Maybe the NTSB should have a look at that. Expect Boeing supporters in congress to show up any moment now..
Oops the game has started already.
First assure everyone you are 100% on the right (public) side:
and then the blame game starts.To be continued..
JTSB has now stepped back from their earlier overcharge assertion, so we can dial back the two failure modes concerns for a bit.
That could be “relative” good news as it could indicate it is not “the system” that overcharged the batteries, making it more likely the batteries themselves have a problem..
The alleged to be foundational in this “Looter Taker Culture” gets more focus:
the underlieing cause for Airbus having to send the rapid reaction forces:
Here’s a question: would airlines purchasing the 787 have been told explicitly that, by the way, they were buying a plane expected to be certified to continue flying on ETOPS 330 routes with an active fire, because that was safely contained? Would figuring that out have been part of airline due diligence before purchase?
Yes they would probably have known (airlines often have small teams embedded at the manufacturer’s address to liaise about progress on their babies), and yes – airlines have staff dedicated to checking out *everything* about their purchases before they’re accepted (Lufthansa is notorious for getting every tiny chip of paint and slightly out-of-line screw inspected and fixed – even during early assembly – before signing off on a delivery).
Actually, remove the “probably” from my last reply…
We are not dealing with “rivets sticking out of the fuselage skin” here. We are dealing with a concept. The concept being the idea of changing a benign technology for a dangerous one and make it look like it is all acceptable because there are “conditions attached”.
The FAA knew this, but I don’t think the operators were aware of the implications of that shift change. You can remove the “f” in the word shift if you want.
Thanks! That’s what I thought.
Well I don’t mean to pick a fight or anything but I’m afraid that is just plain wrong. In aerospace, everything has an associated risk calculation… and if the risk is lower than it should be (e.g. a part is too strong) then the design will be optimised down to be *less* conservative!
Why? Because “conservative” almost always means it is more heavy/expensive/inefficient than necessary. Re-design it to the specified risk and the aircraft will be lighter/cheaper/more-efficient. And don’t forget that for every gram saved, you’ll be saving more grams in support structure and fuel… which will lead to *more* savings in support structure and fuel… etc.
Thanks “someoneinT” for your clarification on this issue. A lot of us with very little knowledge of airplane construction fail to acknowledge this fact. We also forget that people feel secure in most cars, yet more people die in them than all other types of transportation. Risk cannot removed entirely, no matter how much is done to any type of moving vehicles.
I’m not really happy with the wording I used there (wrote it late at night) but what I was trying to get across (and with my professor’s Aloha 737 anecdote) was the fact that in the first few weeks of our aerospace course, us students had to wrap our heads around the fact the fact we were to intentionally design craft to fail after X number of flights… where X is the design life of the craft plus a certain safety margin.
In fact, even that is not totally correct… with planned inspection being an integral part of the current “fatigue and damage tolerant” design philosophy, many parts are allowed to fail well before the end of the aircraft’s life! But always in a predictable manner so they can be found by inspection and replaced before the craft is in danger.
I think that the forthcoming blame storming between Boeing & the FAA that will seek to drag third parties technology into the ‘dangerous’ pile misses the point, let me explain; while all explosives are dangerous some are far more stable than others, you can play baseball with C4 chunks but Nitroglycerin can go off if you look at it funny, same with Li-x technology, it is not all the same some is significantly safer than others.
A blanket ban so that some parties can shrug and say that we were all wrong and point at other peoples products would do aviation and technological advancement a disservice.
With all due respect Someone, I think you might be confusing design optimization with risk assessment. You may be forgetting a basic precept of aircraft design: An intrinsically safe technology should always be preferred over a more dangerous one, wherever practical. The same principal would apply to the nuclear industry.
For example, a new fuel could be developed and which is measurably safer than jet fuel, but comes with a heavy penalty in terms of fuel burn and engine wear; it could be rejected on the ground that it is not practical. Because what we have here is a small gain in terms of safety, versus a heavy lost in terms of performance.
On the other hand, we have an existing battery, the Ni-Cd, which is totally satisfactory on all accounts, but which can be changed for a more optimized technology, Li-ion. The latter saves weight, space, fuel, maintenance, etc. But it happens to have a long history of problems because it is inherently unstable and can easily catch fire. Therefore extraordinary measures have to be implemented to mitigate those risks.
In this case it comes down to a not inconsiderable gain in terms of optimization, versus a severe lost in terms of intrinsic safety. But because it is for a commercial aircraft carrying passengers over long distances, it could be decided that it is simply not worth the risk. For in this particular case the risk carries more weight than design optimization.
As things turned out recently, what I have been discussing here is exactly what is under review by the government agencies. And what is being examined is not design optimization, but the risk assessment that was carried out by the aircraft manufacturer and the certification authorities.
“In this case it comes down to a not inconsiderable gain in terms of optimization, versus a severe lost in terms of intrinsic safety. But because it is for a commercial aircraft carrying passengers over long distances, it could be decided that it is simply not worth the risk. For in this particular case the risk carries more weight than design optimization.
As things turned out recently, what I have been discussing here is exactly what is under review by the government agencies. And what is being examined is not design optimization, but the risk assessment that was carried out by the aircraft manufacturer and the certification authorities.”
Are you sure about that Normand? Last I heard, they were evaluating the 787 systems and not necessarily the Li-Ion battery per se. If it were all down to the LI-Ion battery then EASA and Airbus would also be a part of this show and I haven’t heard anything about that.
That is not to say that it will not happen, but I do believe you are jumping the gun on blaming it on the battery alone and judging it to be unsafe for aircraft use. I hope the FAA is more balanced, thorough and objective in their review. Likewise for the NTSB in their investigation.
Thanks for your comments AN. You disagree with me obviously, but you do it with a rare elegance. I appreciate that.
I find that hard to credit – I am quite certain that someone at ANA/JAL/BA/UA etc. is fully aware that they bought a plane that’s supposed to fly for 5 hours with a fire on board. What I could believe instead is that within the operators the information did not travel from the ‘let’s consider the new purchase’ department which would presumably say ‘the FAA says its okay, so its okay’ to safety, marketing, fleet planning departments.
Sorry, forgot to add that I think that the idea that someone at e.g. BA would propose to write a memo about this design aspect to inform other departments is quite comical.
What you say makes a lot of sense. I have to agree with you.
Aircraft design is about meeting set requirements/ safety in the most economical way. Authorities set those requirements. Those are the starting points, not e.g. as safe as possible.
I remember from early aerospace study someone calculted the value of 1 human live. The higher you value it, the stricter the requirements, lower the fuel efficiency, bigger the environmental impact, lower the global mobility.. interesting trade-offs.
BTW if we really want to reduce our ecological footprint as an industry, skip the cleaner engines, materials, just slash the growth, reduce airtravel. The current 4-5% global annual traffic growth kills all the high tech efficiency developments, which help only about 1% annually on average (20% every 20 yrs/ new generation). But that’s a different, painfull, to be avoided discussion..
Exactly, so what I was trying to demonstrate was that in this case, Boeing (and Thales et al) calculated that it would be more economical (benefits of weight and space reductions offsetting higher initial costs and extra safety systems) to switch to a Li-X battery system *DESIGNED TO THE SAME LEVEL OF RISK* as an equivalent NiMH battery system.
In other words – yes, the battery technology is inherently more risky than NiMH… but THROUGH DESIGN (containment, better charging systems, etc.) the risk can be THE SAME, while the system as a whole is more efficient.
Now it may turn out that their systems do not match the calculated failure rates… these will then need some re-design to bring them in line with expectations. But if this is done, THE RISK OF THE NEW Li-X *SYSTEM* SHOULD BE *THE SAME* AS THE OLD NiMH *SYSTEM*!
We have to look at the technology as it is applied… not take a single Li-X battery and compare directly with a single NiMH battery.
Time to have a competition for a marketing slogan for the 787. I start:
4 levels of battery protection 4 longhaul.
Ha ha ha! 😀
During the risk assessment period it is indeed very possible that “THE RISK OF THE NEW Li-X *SYSTEM* WAS DETERMINE TO BE *THE SAME* AS THE OLD NiMH *SYSTEM*. But to ensure that, several additional levels of safety had to be imposed on the aircraft manufacturers.
My point is that in their “natural state” both battery technologies have a different level of INTRINSIC SAFETY. One design being considerably more stable than the other, with no special precautions required. As a design philosophy it can be argued that this is a highly desirable characteristic.
It surprises me Someone that so many people in the aerospace industry think the way you do, including the certification authorities of various countries. But what surprises me not is the mess we found ourselves in right now.
Sorry, mais c’est la vie.
That is literally how the entire aerospace industry – and all it’s government regulation – works. Not in a cynical way, but because it is the most responsible way.
“Would have kept the human race in their caves”. I laughed when I read that. 🙂 But even sans gross exaggeration, I still understand your point. And I completely agree with it. Like everyone else I suppose.
It all comes down to risk assessment. And in regards to the 787 Li-ion battery incidents, it is quite clear in my mind that an inadequate evaluation of the risks is the culprit. It could also be argued that when the Space Shuttle Challenger was launched with a 29 F outside temperature, a proper risk assessment was not carried out. Those are two very different situations of course, but both have to do with human judgement.
Risk assessment can be evaluated by a computer only to a certain extent. The engineering history is replete with “one in a billion chance” estimates that turned out to be completely erroneous. And it looks like we may very well be in a similar situation right now.
If it turns out that their systems do not match the calculated failure rates, one of two things will need to be done:
1- Like you say, a re-design to bring them in line with expectations. That would be the most desirable solution for the industry.
2- The reversal to the tried and true Ni-Cd batteries. But the implications of this would be horrendous for Boeing. Less so for Airbus, but quite painful nevertheless.
Both alternatives would be harrowing. But one is more easily acceptable, while the other would have a devastating effect on Boeing.
The battery type is already in operation uneventfull on the A380. So probably, and I’m giving my uninformed belly feeling, the operational limits and safety margins of the battery applications of this type might be adjusted.
Yes, but on the A380 they play a minor role. On the 787 they are a fundamental part of the electrical system, like they will be for the A350. Big difference!
The larger a lithium battery is, the more dangerous it is. And for that reason it’s actually more dangerous in cars than in airplanes. But if something goes wrong with a car you can always pull over and park it.
That’s exactly what happened with the 787 worldwide fleet. They are all parked now! 😉