Reports: Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounding Could Last ‘Weeks If Not Months’

by Categorized: Aerospace Date:

Inquiries into the battery systems of the grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner could take a long time, and the fix could be expensive, according to news reports citing experts and investigators.

The Japanese agency investigating a badly damaged lithium-ion battery that caused an emergency landing earlier this week are focusing on possible overheating from excessive electricity, Reuters reports. That could be similar to the cause of a battery fire in a 787 in Boston a week earlier.

There have been no reported direct links to United Technologies Corp. components, including the auxiliary power unit, made by Pratt & Whitney, and electrical systems made by UTC Aerospace Systems, formerly Hamilton Sundstrand.

“UTC Aerospace Systems will fully support Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration on the review of the 787 in-service issues. Our systems are designed with several redundancies to ensure safety and we look forward to assist in any effort to resolve in-service issues,” UTC Aerospace spokesman Dan Coulom said Friday.

In an interview with Bloomberg TV Friday, Robert Crandall, the retired CEO of American Airlines, said the the cost to Boeing could be significant. “This is probably larger in scale for both Boeing and for the airlines because of the cost of the airplane,” he said. “This is Boeing’s largest and most important product probably for the next 15 years.”

The Dreamliner, with a base price of more than $200 million, is the first plane made almost entirely of composite materials. There are 50 in service but Boeing has orders for 850, Reuters reported.  The aircraft’s development was delayed for more than a year due to various operational problems.

Industry consultant Gerhard Fasol told Forbes that a return to flight could take a long time because the FAA is requiring that Boeing and airlines “must demonstrate…that the batteries are safe,” and the battery, made by a Japanese firm, has never been used on commercial aircraft before.  “It could be weeks, if not months, before they get to the bottom of this,” Fasol told Forbes.



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3 thoughts on “Reports: Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounding Could Last ‘Weeks If Not Months’

  1. old capitalist

    OK, but I rather read and discuss how the tax incentives given to a few select companies, keeping all those state employees and imposing a large increase in our taxes are all contributing to the booming economy in Connecticut.

    I wonder where we rank nationally in terms of GDP growth, real employment gains, tax burdens on our
    citizens and other economic data.

    It’s not that there isn’t a FOOT LONG list of state issues that we be interested in discussing now that we are not able to dream on the Dreamliner.

  2. Professor Poop

    The new name is: The Nightmare Air Liner. As the plane takes off, a voice comes on the intercom and asks who wants to be some booze. The voice explains that the plane will probably not land in one piece so drink up. The airline sells out the booze supplies thereb making the flight profitable for the airlines co.

  3. mike

    The dreamliner, if viewed from its inception, demonstrated a liteny of bad decisions based on over optomistic sales pitches that reflect a traditional inability for the USA very advances aeronautical concepts to be applied by commercial aircraft builders. Two recent examples are the supersonic passenger aircraft and VTOL aircraft.

    This would suggest that once USA aircraft builders mover outside of the evolutionery development of an aircraft to revolutionary concepts they tend to come unstuck.

    Not only were the composit materials so complex and difficult to control quality but also the philosophy of outsourcing was flawed because of the quality and accuracy could not be guaranteed.

    Boeing has a magnificent record of building aircraft until now. However, this 787 is turning out to be a real dog’s breakfast. The mass of errors from the inception are compounding into one heck of a messy miasma of aircraft.
    From composit carbon fibre quality control issues, fasteners, batteries, electical circuitry, to outsourcing quality control and even to the engineers computer plan access times hours of delays. Then to misunderstandings between outsourced manufacturers and language problems.

    It’s going to take a lot of courage and honesty for the leaders of Boeing to solve whole problem holistically. To be able to step back from all the sales hype and promises, compensation concerns and to achieve a solution that will allow Boeing to get back to building good reliable aircraft through evolutionary methods.

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