Reader confidence rising about Boeing battery fix for 787

Reader confidence has risen over the battery fixes designed by Boeing and approved by the Federal Aviation Administration for the 787 in our unscientific poll.

In the third of three polls we’ve conducted–one before details of a fix were revealed but after they were broadly outlined in the media; one right after the Tokyo press conference; and the latest after the FAA approved the design–a majority of the minority now say they are ready to fly the 787 once it is modified. The two previous polls revealed a majority of the minority were not ready to fly the airplane for up to two years.

It’s clear Boeing and the customers still have some confidence-building to do–but it appears progress is being made.

11 Comments on “Reader confidence rising about Boeing battery fix for 787

  1. I’ve heard that ANA may conduct up to 200 tests before returning 787 to service. If true, ANA don’t seem overly confident about the fix – never mind their passengers!

    • 200 tests what?
      test flights? – no they will not
      test points? – easily, charging and discharging using different load profiles, over different environmental conditions, in several a/c to account for installation variability.
      test channels, as in measurements? even more easy.

      and that’s just what I can think of as a non electrical guy. The number of tests says little. how long will they take and how much will it cost them (both closely related) – that’s a much better indication of confidence but even then – trust and check. Just because you test something doesn’t mean you expect it to fail, you may just be comparing your prediction to physical reality to see how you did.

  2. Could those flight tests be part of collaboration with the Japanese authorities?

  3. 200 flights sounds dramatic, but it is only about six return flights per aircraft in their fleet.

  4. 200 flights sounds a bit dramatic, but it is only about six return flights per aircraft in their fleet.

  5. I would say the best confidence builder is to have no more battery events. The longer the period without one, the more confidence that is built. I think they have that under control.The battery containment box seems to serve two major purposes; the containment of a battery failure and the containment of the news that such an even did occur.

    Honestly, with this new arrangement, what are the chances of the flying public, not to mention the FAA or NTSB even being aware if such an event were to occur again, unless Boeing or the airlines were to release the information themselves?

  6. If a battery fails now, in the fire box, does the aircraft have to divert to the nearest airport?

  7. My take is that the Japanese are doing so many test flights because they are being extra careful; first because the two “events” occurred on their aircraft, and second, the batteries themselves come from Japan. If there is another failure they will have a lot of egg on their faces — not a happy prospect for them.

    Also, let’s keep in mind that there are other aspects to the redesign external to the batteries and the box, such as some kind of surge protection and current limiters so the batteries will live a less stressful life than before.

    As for mandatory diversion in the event of a battery failure, that may be an overreaction, but there’s no penalty for being cautious. Still, since the batteries don’t have much to do during cruise, that’s probably the least likely time them to fail. Didn’t United divert a flight when one of six generators failed? Was that really necessary?

    Not to get too far off topic, but the Qantas A380 accident involved an engine disintegration that the containment design was unable to cope with. The collateral damage to electrical, hydraulic and fuel systems was very nearly catastrophic. Does anyone know if the contaiment design was redesigned after that? Yeah, I know the root cause was discovered and corrected, but the containment system still didn’t do its job.

    • The only redesign of the A-380 after the QF accident was internal to the RR engines. The external engine and engine cowling system was not redesigned to improve containment in the event of another catastrophic failure of the engine.

      But what was found and had to be redesigned and certified was the wing internal rib feet that connects the wing ribs to the lower external skin. I believe that process is now underway and repairs are being done to individual airplanes.

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