Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All Battery Hands On Deck For The 787

It is not often you see corporations joining hands to save another brother in the Techno Wars.  That is what is happening to the Boeing 787 program as the players line up and form a bucket brigade to save the Boeing 787 much troubled electrical system.  The line starts with the:

  •  FAA  who is caught between the rock and hard spot of both oversight and approval of the battery system
  • Boeing who bought the farm with the Lithium-Ion Concept.
  • Multiples of supporting cast in the Epic Cecil B D Mille Moving Diorama (slide show) of The Plane That Should Of, Could Of, Would Of .
  • Now Telsa weighs in to the aid of Boeing with its offering of: 
  • Tesla CEO Elon Musk offers Boeing help with Dreamliner battery issue
There is some speculation that Boeing bought a ginormous Red Herring at the Aviation Fish Market near Pike's Place market in Seattle, (bean Counters were walking the street near the market) when it acquired a basket load at McDonald Douglas stinking fish.

Under the Boeing Red Herring Fish Basket Called:

Boeing's troubles could be traced to McDonnell Douglas purchase

However or Whatever, that scenario remains to have some digestion before the day is out.
The claim here is that some bad bean counter in charge of engineering has caused a lot of gas over the Boeing programs. Stock-holders, bean counters and engineers should not be served together at a gathering when it tries for a revolutionary idea.  They should come up with a plea to the engineers to build something revolutionary and then back off to avoid any embarrassment, as that crowd does not mix well.  if you catch my drift.

"Aboulafia says, "After the merger, there was a real battle over the future of the company, between the engineers and the finance and sales guys." The nerds may have been running the show in Silicon Valley, but at Boeing they were increasingly marginalized by the bean counters." (from article link)

Bad Burrito in the break room.

So is the battery, that problem of cost savings mixing with unlimited thinking during a revolution?  If so,
then Allan Mullally should comeback from Ford and run the engineers, enabling bean counters more time at Pikes Place Market  for buying some more Red Herring at the market.

If that can't be done then someone must swallow a Poison Pill to get over the discomfort.

Enough of my accounting/finance class days and more on to the D Mille Epic movie chapter II:

"Entitled So Little Money Spent On So Much Battery":  More Movie credits are coming just waiting for tomorrows headlines.

Chapter 3: "So Much Money Spent On So Little Results"

This chapter is dedicated to those who could not make up their collective minds in the Boeing Beanery.

The joint U.S. and Japanese investigation into the Boeing 787's battery problems has moved from the battery-maker to the manufacturer of a monitoring system.
Transport ministry official Shigeru Takano says the probe into battery-maker GS Yuasa was over for now as no evidence was found it was the source of the problem.
Ministry officials said they are inspecting Kanto Aircraft Instrument Co. later in the day as part of the ongoing investigation.
It makes a system that monitors voltage, charging and temperature of the lithium-ion batteries.
All Boeing 787s are grounded after one of the jets made an emergency landing in Japan earlier this month when its main battery overheated.
Earlier a battery in another 787 caught fire while parked at Boston's Logan International Airport."
"A Very reliable Source Says This: "

Tokyo eased safety standards ahead of Boeing 787's fast-tracked rollout ( China Post)

"Its A Small World After All"

"TOKYO -- Japan's government stepped in to give Boeing Co.'s now-grounded 787 Dreamliner and its made-in-Japan technology a boost in 2008 by easing safety regulations, fast-tracking the rollout of the groundbreaking jet for Japan's biggest airlines, according to records and participants in the process.
The concessions by an advisory panel to Japan's transport ministry reflected pressure from All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Japan Airlines (JAL) and a push to support Japanese firms that supply 35 percent of the 787 from the carbon-fiber in its wings to sophisticated electrical systems and batteries used to save fuel, people involved in the deliberations told Reuters."

This is a Smattering Simple Sample of today's news putting it to a Parodic Episode of The 787 Saga called Chapter 4: "Writers Have To Write"

Boeing Fans (I'm one)  Cheers

Thursday, January 24, 2013

How Lithium-ion Batteries Work or Not

How Lithium-ion Batteries Work

The ever popular Lithium-ion battery has made its entrance as an upscale debutante for the 787 Ball, and she has fallen down the stairs, before the end of the first dance with her dress on fire. So goes the 787 Ball.

The Lithium-Ion Battery Inverted Pyramidal Blue Print 

The US Congress asks how could the FAA  pass this dangerous battery?
The FAA Who Signed off is now looking for help from Boeing.
Customers just say I bought it and are assured of a fix.
The banker lends the capital for the project, Okay?
Stock-holders are moving money to and fro!
Manufacturer Says Oh My Grape-nuts!
Boeing's electrical  head  jolt  fails:(
Somebody forgot the battery :)
No problem

The before and after picture for your viewing astonishment

After studying this picture for hours of detailed analysis. I have concluded that the battery on the left in the photo got hotter than the battery on the right.  Now for the Wikipedia analysis in detail so people who want to know why the  US Congress said, "you signed off on this!"

"Lithium-ion batteries are incredibly popular these days. You can find them in laptopsPDAscell phones and iPods. They're so common because, pound for pound, they're some of the most energetic rechargeable batteries available.
Lithium-ion batteries have also been in the news lately. That’s because these batteries have the ability to burst into flames occasionally. It's not very common -- just two or three battery packs per million have a problem -- but when it happens, it's extreme. In some situations, the failure rate can rise, and when that happens you end up with a worldwide battery recall that can cost manufacturers millions of dollars.
So the question is, what makes these batteries so energetic and so popular? How do they burst into flame? And is there anything you can do to prevent the problem or help your batteries last longer? In this article, we'll answer these questions and more.
Lithium-ion batteries are popular because they have a number of important advantages over competing technologies:
  • They're generally much lighter than other types of rechargeable batteries of the same size. The electrodes of a lithium-ion battery are made of lightweight lithium and carbon. Lithium is also a highly reactive element, meaning that a lot of energy can be stored in its atomic bonds. This translates into a very highenergy density for lithium-ion batteries. Here is a way to get a perspective on the energy density. A typical lithium-ion battery can store 150 watt-hours of electricity in 1 kilogram of battery. A NiMH (nickel-metal hydride) battery pack can store perhaps 100 watt-hours per kilogram, although 60 to 70 watt-hours might be more typical. A lead-acid battery can store only 25 watt-hours per kilogram. Using lead-acid technology, it takes 6 kilograms to store the same amount of energy that a 1 kilogram lithium-ion battery can handle. That's a huge difference [Source: Everything2.com].
  • They hold their charge. A lithium-ion battery pack loses only about 5 percent of its charge per month, compared to a 20 percent loss per month for NiMH batteries.
  • They have no memory effect, which means that you do not have to completely discharge them before recharging, as with some other battery chemistries.
  • Lithium-ion batteries can handle hundreds of charge/discharge cycles.
That is not to say that lithium-ion batteries are flawless. They have a few disadvantages as well:
  • They start degrading as soon as they leave the factory. They will only last two or three years from the date of manufacture whether you use them or not.
  • They are extremely sensitive to high temperatures. Heat causes lithium-ion battery packs to degrade much faster than they normally would.
  • If you completely discharge a lithium-ion battery, it is ruined.
  • A lithium-ion battery pack must have an on-board computer to manage the battery. This makes them even more expensive than they already are.
  • There is a small chance that, if a lithium-ion battery pack fails, it will burst into flame.
Many of these characteristics can be understood by looking at the chemistry inside a lithium-ion cell. We'll look at this next. ­"
This is the same article the US Congressional committee read, before asking the FAA, if they signed off on this?! "The small chance of it happening", has happened multiple times in a short space of time.  Something was badly mis-calculated. 
Blogger Q&A
Is it fixable? Yes, and possibly is the answer. 
But how soon? Don't know, but customers, FAA and Boeing are hoping right away for a change and a fix.  
How safe is the 787?  It is really safe (since it isn't flying)!
Whats the stock value of Hope and Change? My Pooka Stock Broker, Told Me   ( to put all my money on Disney, its the best fantasy stock on the market, shh). I have no idea what the value of hope and change is on today's market.

What does this all mean for Boeing? Everybody on the top floor gets toupees for next year and the women get hair coloring to hide the grey.

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Boeing Fix, That It Is In, Is In A Boeing (Update) Fix

The press has started to think out loud, "what Boeing should do with its 787 dilemma"?  This is the aircraft that continues to have faults in an accelerating pace, like a crumbling house of cards. There are two schools of thought now in play. First, from Boeing, is now defining this crises with total confidence. The second line of thought, are found in the pictures and reports from the press of smoke, fire and faults. The customers are left to choose between the two worlds, mean while the oversight and safety people shut down the 787 operations until an answer is found.  The Washington Herald  weighs in with an article on what posture Boeing is taking to mitigate the current failures found in the program.

There are three conditions I see occurring:
  • One, Plausible Confidence in the Aircraft, (The Boeing Stand).
  • Two, The Elimination of Good Intent, By Identifying and problem solving (The FAA Stand).
  • Three, report everything that happens, whether it is germane or not causing a lack of confidence (The Newspaper Stand).

Update Boeing confident it will soon fix 787 Dreamliner problems 

The Guardian:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/dominic-rushe

Boeing Update Fixes The 787 Problem:   This just out on 1-22-2013

"Boeing has told Norwegian Air Shuttle, a budget carrier, to expect its first 787 Dreamliner in April in line with the latest delivery schedule, chief executive Bjorn Kjos told Reuters. "They will definitely fix the battery problems long before then," he said. "They say it is going to be fixed soon; they have a plan. They say it will be delivered according to the schedule," he told reporters at the Airline Economics conference in Dublin."

Boeing's high standard bearer is to continue waving its flag with total confidence for this aircraft. The 787 is a metaphor, representing the survival of the Boeing Corporation as we now see it today. As it is an extension of the Corporation Heart.  They must make this aircraft work, and fly safely, as the 787 is the book mark for Boeing's follow-on aircraft  coming and the future of the company. The core technology found in the 787, the area which now experiencing electrical mishaps and failure is the life blood of that architecture, it also represents the core of the corporation.  Reflecting the stockholders pulse in capital for Boeing's drive.

However, that pulse from stockholders, is matched by the 787's all-electric system found on the Dreamliner.  The 787 electrical pulse has been short circuited by battery fires, control panel fires, and generator shut down or failures.  At this point, these failures represent the future of both the airplane and Boeing's future economic direction.  I don't believe, the 787 in its current condition, is going to change that direction towards failure.  A solution will come out of all this. This will bring me to my second point.

The FAA is on the spot too, it has signed off on an aircraft that never showed these types of problems, during its development years, or first year of service.  One big question that needs an answer is what "Changed", since the two years of testing, and one additional year of service?  The second part is co-shared with Boeing with a two part Q&A.  

1.  Does your specifications protect the aircraft and can it be brought up-to-date if is not protecting the 787 safety?  

2.  Can suppliers maintain absolute control over the parts that protect the electrical integrity of its systems and parts?  

Those types of questions cannot be answered until quantified information is gathered about the electrical problems under real world conditions.

Real world conditions are how production copies are made when compared to test copies that evolve out of that world.  Production copies are "massed" produced, while test copies may receive extraordinary attention, and detail with supportive testing and validation, before each part is shipped.  Hence more questions:

  • Does the production article have that same Quality control and final assurance of the test article before it is shipped?  

  • Does that part receive a Boeing internal review before it is installed on the Aircraft?  

This sounds like over-kill on safety, but the alternative is extinction for Boeing.  I am not talking about nuts and bolts, I am talking about those systems and parts that directly keep the 787 flying safe and are shielded from catastrophic issues such as fires and system failures, or compromised structures necessary to flying.  Most of those areas are covered already, so the focus is where the smoke came from in the first place.

The third point is about how the observer gets its information (press), and then turning around offering a sound opinion to a person's listeners.  It is unfortunate that fans and researchers depend on contaminated sources such as the press.  They report on anything and everything associated with a Company, and then report on the airplane, and then anything in that airplane as if increasing the hyperbole and stories will sell more copy and gain a following.  Watch the press report all kinds of quotes, analyze all kinds of pictures, and seek all kinds of uncovered tidbits.  I want to discuss from logical points of view of What Boeing may do, Where Boeing may go and when they may do it.

The press weigh-in by pointing fingers at the FAA and Others

Larsen, Cantwell don’t question FAA grounding of Boeing 787

So the "What", as in what-in the-flying- flock is going on?  Should be reflected in its press releases.  They should come out in real world-realities, and get out of theory mode of everything is fine and we have confidence.  They should publicize the partnership with the FAA, because it’s important, and that will get the 787 flying again. The FAA completes Boeing.  So does Boeing's customers complete them?  Yes we know about that perfection, effort, and innovation that went into the 787. What is lost is confidence and actual assurance of what is lost and then what is found, "as in having indisputable evidence to fix the problem(s), and now we can fly the 787 in safest possible way".  Boeing is really thankful for the help and assistance from the FAA in discovering how to correct any unforeseen issues in this fantastic aircraft (marketing gets to kick in here). The "What factor" is found and corrected.  The Congress is now wondering where that lithium-ion battery came from and who's idea was it anyways? The FAA is on the spot as well as Boeing.

The "Where Factor", is the 200 million dollar question???  Where is the cause of these problems?  If I knew I would tell, and so would the press tell, but what we are stuck with is, "The Corporate Press Releases", of bullet number one about how fine the 787 is and how confident is Boeing about the future. Also we are stuck with bullet number two awaiting the FAA. Now "Where" is on the horizon, not even on final approach until some quantified discoveries are reveled.  Meanwhile at back the flight-line the 787 sits.  The "where" could be in one spot, the battery, or a combinations of spots that leads to an all too frequent "The Perfect Electrical Storm II " sequel!  This is where we find the lurking public now, having to read, those "we made you look" headlines that lead everyone to nowhere.  My next feature will be back on track talking about "what’s-up-with-that" in aviation.

The March 20th, The 60 Day Self Imposed Deadline, For The Fix and Fly
"The When" is now until the next 60 57 days?  Boeing will start flying the 787 within sixty  fifty-seven days.  All hands are on deck with Boeing and its suppliers.  Money and time make a bad partner when the clock starts losing money. Suppliers have been served and Boeing engineering is reallocating to deal with this problem, not just over the week-end, but in a 24/7 manner.  Buy stock in Starbucks until this problem is solved. Next year’s Christmas bonuses are being earned at this time.

The press will report how the battery maker in Japan had an in-line production fault.  The people who knew how to put the battery together was on vacation and the replacement crew, who said they knew, hadn't put one together in a while. Where they used old procedures, and did not employ the new procedures, therefore caused the battery to have inherent faults resulting in fire.  That's my report before the findings come out from FAA.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Boeing's Blight Bottoms With FAA

The FAA has been supportive of the 787, and is left with no choice but to ground the aircraft as it tries to sort out what the final answer is for the aircraft.  At this stage of, "no one’s knows the answer", but many have a good idea what may be involved with a failed system, concept or design.  This has entered the insanity stage of any investigation.  Definition of "insanity" goes by the rule of thumb, “You do the same thing over, and over again, expecting a different result," becomes a form of insanity in its purist form.     

Now we have the FAA shutdown of the 787. The flow chart of problem solving has just started.

Glossary of terms used in the investigation.

  • Risk
  • Inconsistent
  • Anomaly
  • Retired
  • Assumption
  • Pass/Fail
  • Theory
  • Tests
  • Positive (is a negative result and something must change)
  • Negative (is a positive result and Boeing does nothing)
  • Lithium-Ion  
  • And so forth.....

Back To Basics:

1. The Boeing Company, has a Theory that you could build an all-electric airplane and dispense of substantial weight, through the elimination of hydraulics systems that make a plane fly heavier.

 2. It has a second theory of building an all plastic airplane eliminating additional weight because plastic is lighter, stronger and more corrosion resistant than aluminum and other metals found in older aircraft.

3. It has a third theory of wrapping all its systems up into a core technology which runs the aircraft through a central process corridor and manages its systems without unnecessary duplication or wasted weight and space.  The savings on weight makes way for necessary duplication of systems. These three theories alone save the aircraft immense weight and improves fuel burn and saves lots of money to operate the aircraft over its competitors.

In the theory stage, each layer of theory is separated with assumptions that gives life support to that theory during its gestation period. Each assumption has legs until tests are complete. Then all assumptions are pulled completely out of the structure, and replaced by real live tests affirming that everything is Okay.  Live test are done over, and over again, until the Company and Governing Bodies are convinced the 787 is air-worthy. Then the Governing Body issues an airworthiness certificate to fly.

Now, the Governing Body is going back on the same ground worked-up in the test phase prior its airworthiness certification, because batteries exploded, generators stopped and electrical panels failed!  The 787 will sit until there is answer.

It is good to remember that the Boeing tests models did not exhibit a propensity of smoking, burning and exploding batteries.  It is important to note it had a fire in an electric control panel on a test 787, during the last stages of test that caused a six month delay until a redesign of that panel.  Even with all the testing changing and adjusting, Boeing had an extra three years to get it right. Those test aircraft did not have electrical failures, and were pushed to the extreme in speed, height and slowness.  They turned, dived and shut off engines.  Boeing overloaded systems and then overloaded systems again, but no failures like the airlines have just now experience, all at once. Even though they were flying standard milk runs, and not using the aircraft under extreme flight conditions.  The faulting aircraft are new and have not flown 4,700 hours like the test copies. So its not a duration problem, its an upfront problem for new production aircraft.  The FAA doesn't have answer neither does Boeing. So the Airplane referee has blown its whistle and called a time out for Boeing.  This is not "group hug time, for team building", it is group therapy time, until the insanity stops.

Here is a second list called the "Usual Suspects".

  • Are there some remaining assumptions not retired, that should not be still alive supporting supporting theory?
  • Are there changes in electrical components from manufacturers not accounted for?
  • Is there a flaw not considered by anybody that has not had its day in court?
  • Are Manufacturers inconsistent with key components?
  • What is the fly in the Theory ointment?
The above are are brief points to look at for a big problem! 

The below are,
FAA Advantages:
  • However, dare I mention the investigation teams have complete air-crafts to inspect?
  • They are not wasting time to reconstruct.
  • They know what to look at from day one; the Lithium-Ion Battery and its complementing electrical systems.

Boeing has a plethora of data to examine systems, or better stated: people, places or things, in the Noun category.

The FAA has a multitude of to-do in the Verb category, burning, smoking and failing.

The Boeing's Board of Directors are tasked with Adverbs, efficiently, effectively and by all means quickly.

 The report writers are assigned Adjectives from the FAA findings.  Scorched, Swollen, and Seared.

This is what Boeing is up against where words become just as effective as an actual disaster when an actual disaster has just happened and now the words. Boeing is having another near miss on the same journey.  The FAA who is an objective organization is now subjecting Boeing to having its feet held to the fire, until a conclusive result is obtained.  It is good to have this shut down.  It is good that they know where to look, and it further good, all parties are extremely motivated to make it a totally safe airplane. 

Money movers who make their money, moving money from stock to stock are jumping out of Boeing's extra large aircraft windows.  People who are sane and wise hold the line, because this story is a long way from finishing.  They are not doing those same thing over and over again expecting a different result.  Boeing and the FAA will not look at the Same Stuff Different Day either.  They will have to look beyond that, to purrfect the 787.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More Fire And Smoke Strikes From ANA's 787(Latest News)

This is a quick Link to the lastest (1-15-13) Lithion-Ion Fire.  I will weigh in later once more information is available.  ANA has grounded its 787 fleet until cause is known.   This is not good news for the program.

Another Part...Of Boeing Comes Home and Other Bits and Pieces (((Updated)))

Updated information Link below related to this article

Boeing brings home the Horizontal stabilizer for the 787-9.  Early on in the Boeing program the theme was to out and out have everyone else build the assembly parts of this highly complex aircraft.  Now that fifty 787's are on revenue flights what has changed with Boeing's "Delusions of Grandeur" and having psychotic episodes of risks are for suckers, and designs fall into "Do What I Say, Don't Do What I Do".  Now the  Horizontal stabilizer  for the dash 9 moves to Salt Lake City and back into Boeing's fold as another lost sheep returns home.

Outsourcing frames is not always such a good idea when you are a World Leading Aircraft Manufacturer. The contract goes to those who earn its chops such, as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. Alenia Aeronautica could not cut it early on. 

The foreign foot print in Charleston was washed away in some regretful Boeing Storm years back.  Boeing has changed tack in the Americas Cup Race of airplane building.

The 787 Footprint gradually changes for the Horizontal Stabilizer

After examination of this chart, I came to the conclusion that Boeing may reel in a few sources that are under preforming partners as it surges forward with the -10 as well.  They are many prime examples of excellent partners in this venture.  It will always remain a World Aircraft.  

Boeing has to remain on top of those items, when it loses control,  even to the extent of bringing it home with a shorter leash. Like any major corporation it unloads under-performing divisions and builds new branches that will outperform the former divisions. 

This is an on-going process for any successful mega company, and true even down to the mom and pop affairs. As in, "Do we close that other restaurant across town and open up a new one next to interstate".  Boeing is now gleaning through the assets, like Mom and Pop did when it closes down one and builds another. Boeing has turned the corner on the 787 project.

Because it has to at this time, if wants to go through with a successful program.  The Captain says, "cut all boat anchors and full steam ahead". Boeing will continue to trim sails or throw out the spinnaker.  I am a more cautious sailor.  I don't like sailing close into the rocks and risk floundering. Boeing did that early on and came out with a few scrapped hulls. Fortunately nothing sank.  Like in the America's cup the Kiwi's came out with a superior hull and beat the Americans.  You don't hear much about that race anymore, since the down-under boys started beating everybody as well. America owned that race for decades.  Boeing is now getting back into its race. Now is time to move metaphorically on.

More Bits and Pieces:

In flight: ANA’s Boeing 787 from San Jose [PHOTOS]

I want to leave you all with these cheery thoughts of happy landings while  going to and from Japan and San Jose.  I can't wait for San Diego happy landings and post the 80's song "Sailing Away".
My apologies to the City of San Diego and Lindbergh Field for not doing this earlier, I Lived in San Diego in the early 80's and this song was played all the time.  It is so appropriate for JAL's new service coming to San Diego at this time.  Sit back and enjoy the flight with this song. By Christopher Cross "Sailing Away"

cc: memories anybody?

777X Wing Factory

Update: As Boeing builds plastic Wings at the Everett facility, near Paine field. Even though this is not part of the 787 project, it becomes a significant anchor for the 777X project for its composite wings as it will be made at the new 1.3 million sq ft center complex in Everett, which it just has broken ground this September 16, 2014. Below is the full detail for this update.

For your convenience the complete story linked below:

Boeing Breaks Ground On 777X Wing Factory

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Part III:... Is IT?:Core-Rectal(ional) Examination

The FAA, not to be confused with the Future Farmers Of America (FFA), is sending its most powerful examination tools towards the 787 aircraft and program. Boeing is going to wince with discomfort as the scopes, clamps, and magnifiers tries to recreate what went wrong, with the so called (by the FAA and its own standards) "A Safe Airplane", otherwise known as the 787.  Upfront, I want to remind all that I am a big fan of the 787 and its future follow-on siblings. I too, believe it is a miraculous aircraft, but I don't drink the Kool-Aid from Boeing, to make my day.

The NSTB Is Reaching Into Places with a Bright Light, where people shouldn't have to reach into, at this JAL's 787 young age.

The probe has just begun, even as bad as this may sound for Boeing, it’s part of the maturation process of validating something that is already off-the-scale of complexity, and now the FAA is reviewing what has not been done before, as the "World's Largest Aviation Giant, Boeing", winches in silence(I had to write that for Mr. Leahy :)). Even though the A-380 was off-the-scale as in Ginormous, it has had its day in aviation court with a blown (up and out) engine, cracked wings and other design issues. The most important thing is that, it made it through with the safe efforts of pilots, and design features playing up against possible catastrophic disasters.  

This is where the Boeing 787 now finds itself.  Treat the JAL 787 fire issue with urgency, as if it had actually crashed, when approaching these all the new and recent problems. So much study and rethinking has already gone into this model, that it is more than important to finish the journey. The "Journey" continues today, in the capacity of going through an examine, as  "Proof of Real World Operations" with the FAA. This is not a test sequence, it is the reality of what Boeing is experiencing with its customers during continuous operations.  Real mechanics, flight attendants and pilots, who ply the airline skies without engineering degrees, or computer simulations by their sides, discover abruptly when something goes sideways.  It's hard to build  computer models that will isolate problems in reality, the engineers only can deal in theory and give an optimal account of what should or could happen.  However, in the supplier and production world that the 787 now exists in, the 787 is no longer a child of an absolute controlled environment, when being assembled, and stuffed with parts from all over the world.  The FAA will compare theory with reality and try to find necessary steps to close that gap, so Boeing will have a sound supply chain and assembly process for all components going into the 787.

The FAA will hopefully feed off the following NTSB on three important talking points.

1. What went wrong in all cases?

2. What Went Right in all cases?

3. Or was it luck?

Nobody has been harmed at this point. All the incidences have been recoverable or occurred off-flight. That is a testament to its design and timing luck.  The timing luck comes from engine parts flying out before initial take-off during tests, before its scheduled delivery to Air India. Fire occurring long after plane has landed and passengers are gone from the JAL 787. Passengers have been spared any anxious moments as the aircraft courses its way to a safe haven when suffering another embarrassment, or a calamity and rests out of view from paying passengers.

So far, the design points recover the aircraft while in-flight when something bad happens.  A bad electrical control panel(United), or generator(United and Qatar), have back-ups installed (let us not forget the failed brake and non-electrical issues of a cracked cockpit window). Design backs-up the critical nature and dependency of electrical motors for flight surfaces, and also its electronic dependency for keeping the aircraft flying.  Add to that, the system tasks for in-cabin atmosphere and other fundamental life support systems, which rely on electrical power for those passengers on-board. Electricity then is the core component for flying and keeping its passenger going, during 41,000 feet high excursions.  A passenger shouldn't worry.  Passengers already rely on a bleed-air by-pass system on pre-787 passenger aircraft, where that feature is does not even into view of their (passengers)conscience state when flying on that type of system. But over time (the last 60 years) and millions of miles it does essentially does the same thing for the aircraft during its flight as the 787 aircraft does, where this older system imposes a greater fuel penalty during flight. In essence, Bleed-Air/By-Pass indirectly powers everything you need when flying. But with engines out, the plane is on limited power, allowing for a limited amount of time for control to glide it down.

The 787 has a longer flight control time with engines out, on its back-up power systems  with the higher price of greater reliance on electricity to fly the airplane. So if electricity fails with engines going, the flying equation becomes complicated.  But, a reserve PTO  would/could step in and assist aircraft electrical functions through back-up generators, control panels and systems.  This an important point to know when flying during ETOPs routes.

The FAA will seek a broader scope 787 examination and leave no stone unturned. Then they will narrow it down to route causes for Boeing to respond in final analysis. They will look at each process and system that goes into the airplane. They will examine Boeing's ISO procedures and Quality Management controls, tying them back to incidences that have already occurred   FAA will take the problem and expand it out to the source creators (suppliers) and then bring it back to installation on the aircraft. Then compare it with a sound and in service  787.
Boeing will chase the FAA around before both go to the principals office.  Many problems will solved and fixed before the final report from FAA. Boeing will build a big rubber stamp, for the final report that has lettering on it,  indicating "We Concur".  A smaller stamp saying "All issues addressed by FAA are now in compliance of the FAA Findings and Recommendations." I know this to be true, because many a time during my own reviews as an Internal Auditor, it was difficult for management to come to grasps with Findings or even the Recommendations, because of their denial for failure found within the program. A Manager has the responsibility for those things under their supervision.   This will be tough days for some careers.  The "right thing to do" is now upon Boeing, and changes will be made.

This is a vast generalization of the process, but everyone needs an understanding of the enormity of this undertaking with Boeing, and the time it will take to finish the FAA review project. The time period of study starts in 2003, and continues through to 2012. Many non-essential areas, already solid, will not receive a detail review, but will have a good cursory review non-the-less.  Affected critical systems, and prior testing documentations relating to those systems will occur in extreme detail. Suppliers relating to affected systems will have to bear the brunt of the attention from the FAA  during its conducting of reviews.

Here Are More bullet points shot from my imaginary To-Do FAA Cannon:

  • Incorporate NTSB Findings and Recommendations Into  General FAA Examinations
  • Core Technology Investigations on electrical systems
  • Electric systems, software, firmware Investigations
  • Work processes leaning towards  core technology examinations from supplier and assembly by Boeing.
  • Conduct A Source supplier examination, and documentation reviewing areas  deemed critical.
  • Test Boeing Assumptions related to critical areas as valid reliance on systems. In other-words does Boeing accept on face value and give trust towards its supplied parts from out of company sources without further validation tests?

The Hanging Chad Makes A Comeback With The FAA

What the FAA has tasked itself to do is look under every part, every shelf and every system to determine if any related functions/functionality contributes towards an established unsafe conditions that are found in recent 787 aircraft, or are there any other unseen airworthiness problems, not before determined or addressed.  They must check system assumptions to see if they are valid under the conditions that caused the JAL fire. They must go farther than Boeing did, to find out what happened, and correct it with Boeing's help in the problem solving tasks. While this going on, Boeing needs to keep flying safe with no problems.  The FAA Electron Microscope has wheeled itself into position, and will be looking at Boeing's DNA.

This brings us to the the 60 Billion dollar question:

  • Will the FAA findings lead to a major redesign of Boeing's dependency for an all electric system?
  • Or will it find minor tweaks that assures the system is fundamentally safe, and can be trusted if those following steps or changes are made?
I suspect the answer is found in the second option, additional safe guards built-in to the aircraft, and Quality Management steps installed to prevent any occurrence of electrical failures .  Had the systems and precautions prevented a failure of the Lithium Ion battery and fire in the first place, then Boeing wouldn't be faced with a very personal and private examination of its 787. 

In A Long While, FAA's, Mr Michael Huerta,Will Answer One Of Those Two Questions! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Part II: Is It Safe? The 787 Is Receiving An Endoscope From The FAA

A No Picture Blog This Time:

While the NTSB is going through charred remains of an Japan Airlines 787 electrical control systems, and its Lithium Ion Batteries in an effort to summarize, "what just happened here!" The FAA is going to conduct a comprehensive examination, and further testing of suspect parts, programs and processes found on the 787. The press would like to cry out in A# The Chicken Little Symphony in B-Flat. The first symphony of "So Many Faults In So Little Time", was received well in news outlets around the World.

However, back to the FAA.  Boeing is breathing a sigh collective relief because, Qatar's chief did not dog pile on the events.  The government expressed confidence in these 787's, as a safe airplanes.  Boeing is trying to keep quiet as much as possible and not say something stupid, like "it wasn't me"!  When all the Lithium Ions settle, I expect something beneficial for Boeing, Airlines, and the Flying public, will come out well from this episodic turn of events.  Boeing, please embrace the FAA like a proud father has for his son when he takes a drug test to play sports. Show off everything you have done to make sure nothing bad would happen. Find out what happened, kick the guy that said outsourcing is the only way to fly.  Boeing, you have a great airplane, but you don't own it.  Your subcontractors own it.  Too bad, had you owned more of it, less of that would have happened.  Do you really know what you are snapping into place each time a 787 is assembled, or are you relying on your family of contractors, to do it right as you had hoped?  That's what the FAA will find out, is how well did the world do, doing its job building the parts for your airplane.  Now you own it, where the  subcontractor's Mea culpa is a weak fall back point for a very proud company.

Take  a look at what's in play:  From the Kansas City Star

If it made the Star, then its already around the world more than twice.

"The Federal Aviation Administration is conducting a comprehensive review of the design, manufacture and assembly of the Boeing 787, but government officials declared the plane safe despite recent incidents, including a fire and a fuel leak earlier this week.
Michael Huerta, the FAA administrator, said at a news conference Friday that there is nothing in the data the agency has seen to suggest the plane isn’t safe, but the agency wants to figure out why the safety-related incidents are occurring."
Boeing just received the FAA "Big Duh".  Now they want to know whats going on with the 787.  I say great, because then Boeing will help out in a big way, with... "what's up with that", and FAA should find out how outsourcing so much was possible, in the movie, "A Bridge Too Far".

If I had answers I would certainly offer it as it would immensely increase the blog following.  It's my desire to come up with a plausible outcome for the 787.  So here comes my obligatory talking points on what the FAA will find and will recommend without knowing what is going on.  Top ten Findings  and recommendations as follows:


  • The company responsible for faulty systems, did not address any issues with Boeing during development
  • Boeing installed and tested systems to the best of its ability without having an over-all conceptual or origination knowledge at the level of the supplier systems when testing. Even though contractor worked along side with Boeing engineers, Boeing was not intimate with the functioning of each systems installed.
  • Boeing relied on the expertise of the contractor rather than assessing all designs with an internal 3rd party review. 
  • Faulty parts, systems and technology is passing through to assembly. ie (bad circuit boards)
  • Boeing's electrical systems in theory are safe, but in practice lack quality controls required for its sophistication.
Being an internal auditor in my prior life, these are some of the nose bleed statements that the FAA may make after its comprehensive review. I will go on with some mock recommendations which are forth coming from the Pretend FAA.

Possible Recommendations:

It is recommended,
  • Boeing should have assurance testing prior to installation of all foreign parts coming into its system.
  • Boeing must make additional safety containment from fires in battery area(s)
  • All incidence reports resulting in faulty parts, installation or applications on new aircraft in first year of service, must have a six month assurance testing validating the replacement parts, systems and installations replaced as a result of a fault.
  • Supply Chain Components must have validation and authentication from supplier of its compliant functions. In other words, the supplier proves it meets all standards with comprehensive testing before shipping.(Bad Circuit Boards were shipped)
  • Automatic fuel-line cutoff when a disconnect is detected

Even though this a is make-believe audit summary report, it shows what the FAA may do ad- nauseum. Even though Boeing is already doing more, however, the question still remains how did all these faults happen in the last three months?  The FAA is that extra set of eyes with a keen interest in the aircraft. They flew with it, accompanied its development, and is probably the worlds second most authority on the 787. So they need answers, and so does Boeing!  They will team-up and make all doubters go away at the end of the day.  All the press wants to do is sell copy, and Boeing is helping them do that.

I am hoping its a few sloppy items creeping through the new production and technology systems that need cleaning up. Even small items leave a big mark on a big airplane and they shouldn't be over-looked. 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Part I:Is It Teething Woes? (Updated (2) with Boeing Response)

Boeing and its customers are undergoing what Boeing has classified as "Teething Woes" or are these problems really "Root Canal" surgeries?  The 4,700 plus hours of test flights did not reveal repeated problems like the customer aircraft are now experiencing.

Remember publicized development curses, in general as follows:

Test Stage Short List.

  • Fastener Issues, because lacking supply chain quantities to assemble test aircraft.
  • Fastener Installation Issue of not properly installing correctly or using correct fastener in Charleston
  • Italy had incorrect tail area required extreme shimming remedy.
  • De-lamination issues and corrective shimming procedures
  • Wing Box Area Fixes 
  • Fire in the Electrical (G-spot) on late test flight. (Redesign, six month delay) 
G-spot defined as,  Electrical, Generator, and Battery systems

Customer Stage:

  • ANA and Japan Airline Engine Issues and other squawks
  • United Airlines Electrical Area G-spot(Generator) issues
  • Air India multiple squawks with several operational stand-downs
  • Air India, Parts-Departing From Engine Charleston Airport/grass fire 
  • Qatar G-spot (generator) issue 
  • Japan Airlines Fire in G-spot (battery) operational shut down on aircraft
  • Japan Airline Fuel leakage

Now that about 50 aircraft are delivered; suppliers, Boeing and assembly are into a routine of making the 787. No longer are six months used to push an aircraft out the door. The due diligence cannot convert to negligence.  However these issues, great and small are fixable, and have not yet caused a call-back to the drawing board in a whole-scale level. Engineering changes yes, but no concept changes, that would  be similar to  a major redesign and cause the customer fleet a redo as in the pre-delivery days.  Currently there are about 20 aircraft in change incorporation that are in the process of redo.  These are taking up to an additional two years.  Boeing would be extremely smart to come clean on its status of its early issues. They remain confident of the aircraft.  It is still a brilliant Idea, but I also wonder how many engineers are running down Boeing's hallways with there hair on fire, while "Baghdad Bob" explains, "we are slaughtering the competition in airplane wars." Are these really typical start-up squawks for an A-typical airplane?

Increased complexity increases the squawks, Airbus take note. These are just A-typical squawks for an A-typical airplane going through teething pains that are not routine issues for a new airplane.  An all electric architecture is not typical.  The good news is as follows.  Boeing overbuilt new systems never before employed.  They took the NASA route of multiples for everything until further notice. A test Airplane catches fire in electronics bay during flight over the Rocky Mountains, Boeing just landed later in Texas and found out what went wrong. Safety, redundancy and planning has kept this aircraft flying through the root-canals in its jaw bone.

What is amazing is the safety measures installed on this aircraft.  Bugs are still hitting the wind screen, yet it keeps its passengers safe.  The Dreamliner may be known as the airplane with an Indomitable Spirit.  Forging safely ahead with its all new advances, despite the set-backs.

Boeing top engineer says he's confident 787 is safe

Written by  Media Sources

  • Wednesday, 09 January 2013 17:34

(Reuters) - Boeing Co rolled out the Dreamliner's chief engineer to try to quell concerns about the new jet following three mishaps in as many days, including an electrical fire that caused severe damage to a plane.
At a news conference on Wednesday, the engineer, Mike Sinnett, defended the 787, the world's first plastic plane, and said its problem rates are at about the same level as Boeing's successful 777 jet.
Relatively few technical problems prevent 787s from leaving a gate within 15 minutes of scheduled departure time, he said. "We're in the high 90 percents," he said. "We're right where the 777 program was" at this stage.
The prevalence of more significant issues, such as a battery fire, is in the same order of magnitude as previous programs, he added. "There's no metrics that are screaming at me that we've got a problem."
Sinnett explained in detail how the lithium ion battery system that burned on Monday was designed by his team to be safe and prevent smoke getting into the cabin in the event of a fire during a flight. "I am 100 percent convinced that the airplane is safe to fly," he said.
Asked why smoke entered the cabin on Monday, Sinnett said the plane lacked cabin pressure to expel smoke because it was on the ground. In that scenario, "We expect that there would be sufficient time to evacuate the plane safely," Sinnett said.
The battery fire, on a 787 jet operated by Japan Airlines, occurred in Boston on Monday while the empty plane was parked at a gate after passengers had deplaned. That was followed by a fuel leak on another JAL 787 on Tuesday, and by brake problems on an All Nippon Airways 787 that forced the airline to cancel the flight on Wednesday.
These mishaps represent the most serious test of confidence in the Dreamliner since it began flying customers just over a year ago, following more than three years of delivery delays.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are looking into what caused the fire, which came just weeks after Boeing endured a string of other electrical problems that briefly grounded three of the planes. The new jet also has suffered an engine failure and fuel leaks in the 14 months it has been in service.
Sinnett said the electrical faults that occurred in rapid succession in December were traced to a single lot of circuit boards manufactured at one time. He didn't name the supplier.
Analysts said they did not think regulators would ground the 49 Dreamliner jets currently in service due to this week's incidents, but some expected days or weeks to pass before firm details about the mishaps emerge - making it difficult to assess the severity of the problem, and the cost to fix them.
"It's clear through the conversation (from Sinnett) that it appeared to be manufacturing as opposed to design issues," said Jason Gursky, an analyst at Citigroup in San Francisco. "The fact that we've seen a multitude of small issues crop up and are not seeing the same issue time and time again would support that view."
Further detail from regulators are likely to take more time. In July, regulators took three days to decide whether to launch an investigation of a General Electric engine that failed on a 787, and another week passed before they provided details.
"We'd expect a similar timeline here," said Deutsche Bank analysts Myles Walton and Amit Mehrotra, in a note to clients Wednesday.
Boeing declined to discuss any aspect of the investigation into the battery fire. Analysts said the company still faces an image problem over the build quality of its marquee plane.
"There's no doubt in my mind that on the engineering side they are doing the right thing as far as dealing with these issues," said John Goglia, a former National Transportation Safety Board member and mechanic.
"They need to really reach out strongly with information to the press corps to make sure they understand exactly what happened and exactly what they are doing about it."
Boeing shares closed up 3.5 percent Wednesday, after losing more than 5 percent earlier this week.
Of this week's incidents, the battery fire is of most concern. Lithium-ion batteries are heavily scrutinized by those who use them - not just airlines, but increasingly automakers as well.
"We cool our batteries. We put them through tests like you wouldn't believe," General Motors Chief Executive Dan Akerson said during a roundtable event Wednesday.
Shares of Japan's GS Yuasa Corp, which makes batteries for the 787, fell sharply for a second day on Wednesday.
Before Wednesday, Boeing had said little about the problems, though some of its most critical customers, like the CEO of Qatar Airways, have come to its defense.
Qatar Airways, the largest customer of the Dreamliner in the Middle East with an order for up to 60 of the aircraft, currently has five 787 jets. CEO Akbar al-Baker said the airline had no other issues since noting an electrical problem on one of its jets in December.
"Of course there will be teething problems from time to time, but this is foreseen with any new aircraft program," Al-Baker told reporters at an event in Doha on Wednesday.
Baker said he had no plans at the moment to cancel any plane orders with Boeing. "When we have to start grounding planes, then it becomes an issue and then they (Boeing) have to get their check book out," he said.
(Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York, Tim Hepher in Paris and Karen Jacobs in Atlanta; Additional reporting by Ben Klayman and Deepa Seetharaman in Detroit and Deborah Charles in Washington, D.C.; Writing by Alwyn Scott and Ben Berkowitz; Editing by Leslie Adler, Bernard Orr)
Randy's Journal (Randy Tinseth, VP Boeing)


Update on 787 event in Boston

The 787 has been in the headlines quite a bit this week, and I wanted to take this opportunity to address the incidents at Boston Logan Airport.
First, today’s issue with one of Japan Airlines’ 787s (a different airplane than the one involved in Monday’s incident) was resolved after a four hour delay and the airplane took off for Tokyo.
As for Monday’s incident involving another JAL 787, we’ve been working closely with the airline, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other government agencies. JAL tells us that after the airplane landed and all passengers had disembarked, smoke was detected. The smoke was later traced to the battery used to start the auxiliary power unit.
We can’t talk about any specific details while the investigation is ongoing. But I can tell you that nothing we’ve seen in this case indicates a relationship to any previous 787 power system events, which involved power panel faults elsewhere in the aft electrical equipment bay. We’ve shared the information about those prior events with the NTSB and they’re aware of the details. Since we want to deal in facts rather than speculation, we’re giving our technical teams time to look over everything. Our full statement is here.
In the meantime, 787s continue to fly all over the world. The airplanes are in service with eight customers— having logged more than 18,000 flight cycles and flown more than 50,000 hours. We have complete confidence in the 787 and vow to take care of any issues our customers are experiencing— day or night.