Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bankruptcy Judge OK's AMR's Purchase of 787

A Federal Bankruptcy judge approved of AMR's revised contracts for aircraft purchases today.  This now clears the way for the airline to finalize the 787 contract with Boeing.  The revised contract now pushes deliveries of the first 787s to November of 2014 and splits to order of 42 aircraft roughly in half: 20 787-8 and 22 787-9.  AMR also has 58 options on the 787 but there is no word on when those options expire.

In other news, the JTSB is now saying that the lithium-ion battery on the ANA 787 was not overcharged and had, in fact, seen its voltage drop to almost zero according to the flight data recorders.  This is similar to the JAL 787 incident except there wasn't a fire.  The JTSB is now going to be looking at other components that may have contributed to the incident similar to what the NTSB is doing.


TurtleLuv said...

the ntsb presser from today was not encouraging. basically sounded like "we still have no clue what happened, don't hold your breath". sadly i have a feeling 787's aren't going anywhere anytime soon.

if anything this just shows how worthless the FAA is. having certified this plane and then having to ground it like this shows they really have no idea what's going on.

Anonymous said...

The grounding shows that for the FAA it's all a game of politics. I could name at least ten problems different airliners have had during the last decade that were as serious as this one. The FAA did not order a grounding in any of those cases. So why did they order it this time? Because of all the mainstream coverage these problem has generated the FAA realized some political points were up for grabs.

Now they are in a bit of a pickle though since finding and fixing the problems will probably take more than one year. Grounding the plane for that long would hit both the US economy as well as the entire aviation world hard. Suddenly the table has turned and the FAA will look irresponsible in the eyes of the public if it would come to that.

Therefore i predict the 787 will be back in the air within the next week. When the FAA realizes that there is no easy explanation or easy fix to this problem they will be forced to let it fly if the operator implements preventative measurements.

thomas85225 said...

Jim Albaugh warn Boeing about all these new systems where unproven technology
The FAA require a 18 to 24 months flight test program
The All Electric Boeing 787

The FAA and Boeing may wanted to review requirement for Flammability and explosion proof LRU boxes

Boeing 787 Lessons The expansive 46-page document, obtained by FlightBlogger, titled Boeing 787 Lessons Learnt, was compiled by Airbus Head of Engineering Intelligence Burkhard Domke and was presented internally on 20 October 2008.

Andrew Munsell said...

More info from the NTSB here


Andrew Munsell said...

Also Boeing's response to the NTSB Investigative Update

thomas85225 said...

The never ending stories

The the follow stories is from Seattle times from 1995

Is The FAA Up To The Job? --
A Question Of Safety --
Do Airplane Makers Dominate Regulators? By Terry Mcdermott
Boeing has delivered again. When the 777 begins commercial service Wednesday, it will have met a customer deadline Boeing agreed to five years ago. Boeing's many admirers see another triumph for the company. But others - air-safety critics and experts in complex computer systems - wonder if five years meant [b]Boeing and federal safety regulators had to do too much, too quickly, for this highest of high-tech passenger jets-
Today: A examination of the Federal Aviation Administration, which critics say is more eager to help manufacturers meet their deadlines than be an independent safety watchdog. - Tomorrow in The Times: Did Boeing give itself enough time to develop and test the 777's ultracomplex computer systems and protect flights from software bugs? - Wednesday in The Times: Polly Lane reports from her airline seat on United Airlines' inaugural 777 flight from London to Chicago.
see for the rest of stories

Rick Lieberson said...

Just came across BBC.

Andrew Munsell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I know its early stages at the moment in the 787 battery investigation, but im thinking that Boeing will have to end up going to other batteries already in use and if not for the short term until they figure out these lithium ion batteries or it could well be a permanent fix. As I said its still early but they seem to have no idea and they are going to start searching/testing the whole plane. Perhaps that fire has burnt the evidence needed to find a solution, perhaps NTSB may point the finger at something when it was actually something else. The latest article out is saying ANA has replaced 10 batteries since operating the fleet...I wonder how many and if any problems happened on the 787 test fleet. Will the 787 have to be certified if they will a different battery in service and how will this be done, ie how many flight hours etc etc

graeme77 said...

Surely an interim quick fix could be an explosion and fire proof container for the batteries, perhaps with a feature enabling them to safely vent gases to the exterior of the airplane?
This until the batteries can be redesigned and recertified...

David Cotton said...

graeme77: such mitigation efforts could work, and may be acceptable to the FAA and customers.

However, if a battery goes pop, its function is gone. Boeing will have to answer what will happen if that function is needed afterwards.

Secondly, there is something going on that Boeing & co. do not understand. It may be (if unlikely) that the battery problem is a symptom of a bigger issue, not the cause. They really need to root-cause the problem.

Thirdly, such fires are fairly hot, and the chemicals nasty. Such a container may not fit in the cramped space, hinder maintenance, and weigh more than alternative batteries. They would also need to prove that such a system works reliably in all failure cases. Which is hard when you do not know the root cause.

Anonymous said...


1. Nothing happens. This is a backup battery for if the generators stops working so this is not a concern. (I'ts used to start up the APU to be specific).

Possibly another fix could be to disconnect the battery during flight so that it could be connected again with a switch in case of emergency. This battery is only used on the ground or in case of power loss from generator failure/loss of an engine.

2. It's a possibility but as long as battery fires are contained they can keep on flying until Boeing has fixed the issue which in that case would take more than one year.

3. The battery's container is already designed to contain a fire/explosion witch it did. The problem is that battery-fluid was able to escape and this needs to be fixed.

Anonymous said...

Heres a link which covers everything thats happened and a little more looking further ahead, says everything quite well. It makes me wonder if the boeing execs have their head stuck up somewhere and cant see whats going on or they know something but putting on a brave face as if theres nothing to worry about. Heres a question that I havnt seen asked or answered. It appears the 787 is going to bleed money for quite some time yet..everyone says boeing is rolling in it, but will this have any impact on the 787-10 and also 777 upgrade? will they be pushed further down the track?

David Cotton said...

kvde2: there are two batteries, and they have had problems with both. As you say, the aft unit does (mostly) control the APU, whilst the forward does several things, including powering the cockpit in an emergency until the RAT powers up.

True, the systems are redundant. But they are there for a reason. Boeing would have to persuade the FAA that the removal of those redundant systems in the case of failure will not be a problem.

And the damage was not contained within the battery container. To quote the article: "The thermal damage to the surrounding structure and components was “confined to the area immediately near the APU battery rack (within 20 in.) in the aft electronics bay.”"

So thermal damage up to 20 inches away from the battery; this means that heftier containers may be needed.

This thread on PPrune has a great deal of interesting discussion on the problems:

None of these issues are insurmountable if they do go down the mitigation route; but it may require time and engineering resource.

Anyway, let's hope Boeing gets the 787 in the air as soon - and as safely - as possible.

Anonymous said...

Yes of course they are there for a reason and removing the battery is not an alternative. However it might be possible to install a switch so that they are always disconnected in flight except for in emergencies.

And as i have understood it the "thermal damage" they are referring to was caused by leaking battery fluid and not fire or an explosion. You can see on the pictures that the container was buckled but intact.

Anonymous said...

heres two links below on a Boeing fix leak and also another similar story on a possible fix Boeing is working on..its not much but I havnt heard too much else on what they plan on doing

Andrew Munsell said...

Thomson is saying they expect their 1st 787 in May.

Norwegian is expecting their 1st in April.

Qantas is expecting their 1st in 2016.

AeroMexico does not have a date, nor does Royal Air Maroc, Hainan, and British Airlines

Anonymous said...

Matt Cawby has a Ethiopian 787 at the Fuel dock - is this LN39 out of rework?

Daetrin said...

Even though nothing is flying, I appreciate you keeping the list up to date. Thanks for all you do!

Andrew Munsell said...

Here is a quote from today - "LOT Polish Airlines SP-LRA has been stranded in Chicago since the 787 grounding on January 16. The FAA has approved a one-time permit to ferry a 787 from Fort Worth to Everett, maybe SP-LRA will return to the nest soon. Photo by Lee A. Karas."

Uresh said...

That is for LN 43 which has been stuck in Ft. Worth for over a month now. It was there ostensibly for re-paintng.

HK Expat said...

If LN85 is truly out of the Charleston hangar (not yet reported by Brendan), this would prove to be records for Charleston and a step up in production. It would mean that LN85 completed assembly in 129 days (a record) and that it took 22 days between roll outs (another record).

Great job to the Charleston team!


Uresh said...

Brendan confirmed it to me tonight

Andrew Munsell said...

The NTSB is almost there, today they identified the origins of the JAL battery fire and now they say the design, certification, and manufacturing processes are under scrutiny.

Andrew Munsell said...

Found this on the front page of FlightAware pertaining to the US Air - AA merger

Michael Lowrey said...

Matt Cawby's latest flight line shot no longer show's LN 19 (formerly for RAM) in position R9 on Runway 11/29. Wonder whether she might be over at the EMC now?

TravelingMan said...

Uresh, where is Boeing gonna store all these birds that they can't deliver? They're still kicking them out at a high rate, aren't they?

Are they still installing the lithium ion batteries? If so, how easy are they to replace with a different type battery, if need be?

Uresh said...

For now they're still doing full blown out production and I'm assuming they're still installing the lithium-ion batteries. There is still room at Everett but they can always fly out the 747s, 777s and 767s out of Everett on their B-1 flights to Boeing Field where they can finish flight testing and deliveryies of those airplanes thus opening up room on the flightline at Everett for storage.

thomas85225 said...

The FAA did not order a grounding in any of those cases.
the 747 has engine mounting pin problens and engine came off the 747 crash into apartment complex
cargo door the came open in flight united flight 811

prussure bulkhead repair on two 747 that kill everone board

the 737 rubber problem where several 737 crash