The National Transportation Safety Board released a report on its investigation of the Boeing 787 battery fire on the Japan Air Lines 787 and the smoking battery on the ANA 787 in January 2013. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 787s for more than three months while a fix was designed.
The NTSB press release summarizing its points is here.
The agency’s 12-page letter of Safety Recommendations is here. Additional information is here.
All good safety recommendations. But the FAA has a long and proud history of ignoring NTSB safety recommendations, or at the very least delaying implementation of them for several years.
Boeing, Airbus, or any other OEM that needs the FAA to certify their aircraft for operations in the US do not have much choice but to follow the FAA’s requirements, but they can implement the NTSB recommendations on their own as long as they exceed the FAA requirements and not replace them.
Outsourcing as a way to cut research has not been greatly successfull as applied to the 7 8 7 and related parts . . .
No more moon shots .. just add paint ;-(
For want of a ground- a test was lost
For want of a test – a cell was lost
For want of a cell- a battery was lost
For want of a battery – credibility was lost
For want of credibility – the company lost $$$$
Except for the CEO who got a bonus
And expanded his kingdom
“The FAA instead relied exclusively on Boeing’s expertise to approve the lithium ion battery. As a result, the FAA should consult a panel of independent experts when considering how to determine the safety of new technologies, the NTSB says”
Both the FAA and Boeing take a hit. Boeing for inadequate testing, the FAA for not using independent experts.
It is the FAA’s job to seek out experts, not Boeing’s job. The FAA is the certifying authority, not Boeing. Boeing is responsible to monitor their sub-contractors build parts according to the FAA approved designs for parts to their airplane products. Boeing is also responsible for testing those parts, as well as the entire airplane. The FAA monitors those tests and approves them.
The battery failures are a direct result of the failure of the FAA to fully understand the technology. The NTSB caught the FAA with their pants down on this one. But the “ace up the sleeve” for the FAA is to ignore the NTSB recommendations, like they almost always do.
“The FAA instead relied exclusively on Boeing’s expertise to approve the lithium ion battery.”
This did not happen from boredom but for Boeing ( by way of lobbying ) and Politics ( by way of cutting funding /resp. redistributing moneys to holy grail chaises like Homeland Security ) compare to similar changes ahead of and being instrumental to the GFC.
If just a moment we accept a scenario where Boeing has been passive, not lobbying for any passe-droit retro-subcontracting on behalf of FAA (although routinary ?), precisely because Boeing themselves were the (self-proclaimed or acknowledged by peers ?) “battery experts” – in particular because of Boeing’s involvement in the RTCA DO-311 industry committee (Battery Panel, the proceedings of which Boeing was perfectly well aware at the time), the only ETHICAL response to FAA’s invitation should have been to decline.
Remember the FAA standing shoulder to shoulder with Boeing and DoT, declaring their own review after a string of incidents, and declaring everything under control and stating the 787 is absolutely safe.
After that week-end a smoking ANA 787 machine made the emergency landing & Japan authorities grounded the Japanese fleet. After red hot discussion the FAA followed. A PR / credibity crisis. NTSB joined in.
The pressure on FAA to not damage the US #1 exporter further was/ is enormous. Everyone, congress, governement, NTSB, FAA, press, feels the responsibilities.