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.