Thursday, May 22, 2014

One More Time With The 787 Battery Is The NTSB Call

In 2013 the FAA and Boeing partnered together seeking solutions for its Lithium -Ion battery. However, the NTSB in now asking Boeing to back to the drawing table Because Testing:

  • Did not exceed harsh enough conditions to replicate a battery fire.
  • Did not put pre damaged cells into the test with flight/operational conditions
  • Did not find the limit where runaway battery would occur
However, Boeing and its battery maker could not find causal conditions where run-away battery meltdown would occur. They only addressed prevented catastrophic battery failure and the protection of the 787, where it could continue to fly safely any where in the world. Boeing and its mentors, partners and consultants made the 787 runaway battery risk adverse for the long haul, even if a battery fire did occur.

The NTSB would like causal testing on the battery. Back in 2013, it was stated that finding the problem would have infinite implications in recreating thermal runaway during operations. The NSTB would like this done by the manufacturers at this time as stated in a letter to sent to all parties including the FAA.

  • What causes the battery to runaway during operations.
  • Testing the battery components during operational conditions
  • Go beyond lad and bench testing to find the causal limits where battery fire occur.
  • Quantify and rectify the battery problems under robust testing.
In other words the NTSB wants to know from Boeing who could not find the causal problem in the first go around with runaway battery fires, Find and Fix it. This is like hunting for the Seven Cities of Gold in the Southwest. In Brigadoon once every 100 years a battery fire occurs, But the NTSB wants answers for this perplexing problem.

The only answer may be the new advances on the Lithium-Ion Battery that researchers are making towards completely stabilizing the battery matrix it has recently discovered in the lab. If they can demonstrate a commercial breakthrough with this New type of Li battery, it would be the best route for Boeing to take, installing an all new Li onto the 787, where it can't overheat or rupture as this new type was recently discovered in the the science world. The old Li battery is like chasing ghost, as Boeing had concluded where they moved in the direction of containment and safety in case of fire. The batteries are used only when the engines are not on. A scary thought if both engines quit mid air and the battery catches fire. There is still a third system in place during crises from ram air power on the electrical system. Then the airplane can be guided using a non battery source. 

The NTSB would like the battery problem to go away, since Boeing carries that battery. Even though the battery its not the way that the Boeing 787 does fly, because it does not necessarily use battery power for systems during flight. Its primarily used on the ground in stationary or static operations. Hence the battery fires while on the ground. NTSB is trying to make Boeing find and arrest battery pookas (ghost) at this time with real time testing under stress of operations. Find and Fix is the decal on the side of each battery pack just like a police badge motto.