After smoke was found pouring into one of its Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" planes yesterday, forcing an emergency landing, Japan's All Nippon Airways grounded its entire fleet of 787s. Japan's Transport Ministry referred to this as a "major incident." Today, the Federal Aviation Administration has decided to ground all 787s in the US--that'd be six of them, all operated by United.
The FAA had already begun a full-scale investigation into the safety of the much-maligned 787, which has had more than its share of issues since introduction, but this is a huge move. The problem seems to be with the plane's lithium ion batteries. We'll let you know more as soon as we know. [via The Verge]
Since when was "smoke pouring into the cabin"? All the reports I read stated a warning light came on and the pilots smelled what appeared to be burning. Still a bad situation, but let's not kill this plane before it has a chance. Anyone familiar with aviation and the history of new aircraft realizes that there are always bugs to work out. Engineering an aircraft of this advancement is not like building a bird house.
@det1mrh; So what are "all the reports I read"? I'm curious, because I've got this thing in my head about this particular aircraft. As you say, this isn't just a typical advanced part design, or a typical aircraft evolution. I've been digging into this aircraft since before the general public had any idea just how many untested leaps forward this aircraft was making. And I've watched the finger pointing at each discovered flaw.
The recent engine flaw, of the failed midshaft technology is a good example. The Boeing engineers say it's not their fault. Nor would it be their fault if one of these planes full of people falls out of the sky with a problem the engineers knew about beforehand.
Me? I'm just a nobody. Machinist in metal and wood, tool and die, that kind of stuff. But I know that if I saw any flaw in any part or procedure in one of the shops I've made car parts at; and didn't IMMEDIATELY pull out all required safety procedures and stop the flawed work, then it was MY job in danger. Even if the flaw wasn't found with my work.
Doesn't appear to be that way in this EXPERIMENTAL AIRCRAFT though. Apparently, the Boeing engineers put an engine in, bolt er up, and it's just good to go. Midshaft failure and all. And yes, I know what it actually takes to find something like a crystallizing jet engine midshaft. And yes, I know that IT IS IN FACT PART OF BOEING'S RESPONSIBILITY to catch ANYTHING that made it through GE's quality assurance.
Boeing employees need to remember something very clearly every single day for many years to come. ANYTHING that has one of these planes falling out of the sky full of people WILL BE ON BOEING. Not on GE. Even if it's an engine flaw. GE will be putting out other jet engines over all the years it takes Boeing to crawl their way out of bankruptcy over the Dreamliner. If there are problems with any part on those planes, Boeing needs to be pointing fingers NOW, not after one fall out of the sky. Supposedly, they have that capability. We ain't seen it in action yet.
First consumer products start seeing lower production quality and now aircraft? Its one thing for a computer to fail because of low production quality its an entirely different level for an airplane to fail because of low production quality, especially from one of the biggest aircraft companies who also makes the worlds most used mid-sized jet.
As of last night, Boeing shares had dropped 2.60 per; with the sell-off continuing in off hours trading.
While the shareholders may not like it if they can't deliver as many planes per month, they'll like it less than they do today if they can't deliver quality planes, every time, every month.
If the engineers or the line workers know things that aren't being addressed comprehensively, now is the time, not later.
The problem is, instead of making everything in house, they are contracting out to many different areas. When things are assembled, they are not done in the proper order either. Part A will need put in. Part B next but, part B isn't in. So, they put in Part C. Part B comes in, then they have to take apart part C to put in part B. This has been not only the problem, but the delays in delivery as well.
On top of that, there is the looming possibility of a strike in the Seattle Boeing plant. That has everyone on edge as well. It has been looming for a few months now.
Furthermore, det1mrh is correct in saying that ANY new aircraft is going to have problems that are going to need ironed out. This is going to take years to find all the problems that are going to show up. Some of those problems are going to require thousands of airframe hours to find. Lets not jump in to burn down Boeing now.