Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

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KriVa
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by KriVa » 17 Jul 2013, 21:10

I still don't get it...
The first two fire incidents in service were related, after which Boeing redesigned the battery, casing, wiring,...
We don't know what caused the ET fire. It might have been the ELT, it might have been a boiler, it might have been wiring, it might have been someone making pancakes in the galley. We don't know. Although it is rather obvious that the battery will probably not be the cause this time.
IF it was the battery, and that's a very big "if", it would make sense to ground the fleet.
Grounding the entire fleet for this would be, sorry for the term, insane.

Thankfully, some people with some more common sense and rationalization capabilities are at the helm of the regulators.
Will you put your children on a B787 today?
Yup, without a doubt.
Thomas

Flanker2
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Flanker2 » 17 Jul 2013, 22:03

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm the kind that would prefer to be safe than sorry, others would prefer to be sorry than be safe, for a little gain or a big loss of money. The first is the family father type, the second the Las Vegas addict type.

Ah what the heck, I don't care, keep them flying, until a few crash and burn (or is it the opposite, burn and crash :lol: ) and a lot of people die. Why would I care, I don't own Boeing shares.

Shuttie
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Shuttie » 18 Jul 2013, 06:25

Does anyone know where the plane is now ?
I am guessing they have moved it into a hanger somwehere.... they wouldnt want rain damage to add to the problems.....??

RTM
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by RTM » 18 Jul 2013, 07:01

Flanker2 wrote:Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I'm the kind that would prefer to be safe than sorry, others would prefer to be sorry than be safe, for a little gain or a big loss of money. The first is the family father type, the second the Las Vegas addict type.

Ah what the heck, I don't care, keep them flying, until a few crash and burn (or is it the opposite, burn and crash :lol: ) and a lot of people die. Why would I care, I don't own Boeing shares.
You're getting a bit lost now flanker. Sorry. On what basis would you ground a fleet, when you do not know the cause of a ground incident? Who is going to pay that bill...? Afterall, even after major accidents, there hardly ever is a fleet wide grounding. How many 737's went down due to inverted rudder problems before they figured it out. Years later... Should they have grounded all 737's for all those years...? And mind you, after all those years, they found the problem because they were flying...

Like I said, if the investigators come across something that would nesscitate a fleetwide grounding, they will do it. Till that time, they leave you to guess whatever you want.

@KriVa, checked up on the photoluminescent strips... I was wrong. They indeed need only a minimum of 10 minutes on full cabinlight brightness to charge to a acceptable level of operation. Afterall, in case of emergency evacuation, you only need about 90 seconds. So 5 minutes of emitting will do. The can however emit up to 8 hours when fully charged. I guess that will take a bit longer. Anyway, sorry for the confusion.

@Shuttie, Most probably the aircraft is parked in a corner of the airport that is more or less obscured, and close to maintanance facilities, with the possibility to enter a hangar if the investigation requires it. But normally it will be outside. The damaged area can be covered by a plastic tarp to prevent water ingress.

Bralo20
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Bralo20 » 18 Jul 2013, 08:25

RTM wrote: @Shuttie, Most probably the aircraft is parked in a corner of the airport that is more or less obscured, and close to maintanance facilities, with the possibility to enter a hangar if the investigation requires it. But normally it will be outside. The damaged area can be covered by a plastic tarp to prevent water ingress.
Actually it's in an hangar, behind closed doors, since the day after the incident when it was towed away.

bollox
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by bollox » 18 Jul 2013, 13:02

Where is Ro-Max? He seems to be a better informed person for Boeing. On a well deserved holiday, I hope. :D

RTM
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by RTM » 18 Jul 2013, 16:51

Whoops... wrong again... :oops:

It actually makes sense to have it inside right now. Probably the investigation is still going on, and the Boeing guys are probably eager to start assassing the damage. And, if possible, do the temp repair for the ferry flight. That all depends on the heat damage to the area. If it was burning too hot, the integrity of the entire circomferance is probably compromised. As stated earlier. If the heat was confined to the area visible from outside, I guess a temp fix is an option. But damage assessment will have to sort that out. Impossible for us to Judge.

Passenger
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Passenger » 18 Jul 2013, 18:06

Update AvHerald on the investigation:

"...On Jul 18th 2013 the AAIB reported in their special bulletin with respect to ET-AOP, that fire fighters encountered a fire above the ceiling panels close to the rear of the cabin, a halon extinguisher was not effective, only after a panel was moved and the fire was doused with water and foam the fire was extinguished. The origin of the fire coincided with the emergency locator transmitter (ELT), with no other systems in the vicinity storing sufficient energy to initiate a fire. The ELT is powered by a set of Lithium Manganese Dioxide Batteries, which showed disruptions of cells. It is unclear however whether the combustion started as result of energy release within the battery cells or by an outside event like a short circuit. Some 6000 units of this transmitter have been produced, ET-AOP is the only such incident so far. The AAIB recommended to the FAA to "inert" (deactivate) the ELTs in Boeing 787s until appropriate airworthiness actions can be taken and to conduct a safety review of all Lithium battery powered ELTs on all aircraft types..."

Source and link to the AAIB special bulletin: see "update 18th July 2013":
http://avherald.com/h?article=45c377c5&opt=0

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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by RTM » 18 Jul 2013, 18:19

According to some, we should now ground 6000 planes...

Just removing it, an temporarily install a portable unit will do just fine I think. ;)

Also, the fire seems to be isolated to a small area, which means that the structural damage is probably confined to that area, and a temp fix for a ferry flight is probably an option.

Streetstream
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Streetstream » 18 Jul 2013, 18:31

RTM wrote:According to some, we should now ground 6000 planes...

Just removing it, an temporarily install a portable unit will do just fine I think. ;)

Also, the fire seems to be isolated to a small area, which means that the structural damage is probably confined to that area, and a temp fix for a ferry flight is probably an option.
Do you think it is a coincidence that the fire happend on a 787. The same type of plane that has had a lot of electrical problems? And i'm not talking about just the batteries, it has had more electrical faults. Even the tompson one just recently. How do you explain a brand new jet, that has just been checked before delivery to fail like that? I'm affraid that Boeing is going to fast on the 787 to make up for lost time and that they are pushing their engineers to the edge.

Now i'm not saying that they should ground the 787 again, because than it would lose a lot of orders (no matter what you might believe), but a serious review of all it's electrical systems is in order if you ask me.

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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by RTM » 18 Jul 2013, 18:59

If it is in fact the elt, a model in use on 6000 aircraft, then yes it is a coincidence.
There is not much to an elt. Just a power to charge the battery, a few wires for remote control from the cockpit and a digital data input for position info. Hardly a complex system.

As for the electrical problems... boeing is definately performing poorly. Big chances for airbus, if they get the 350 right. But that is a different discussion.

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KriVa
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by KriVa » 18 Jul 2013, 19:28

It's even simpler than that. The batteries in an ELT are not designed to be recharged, so they are not connected to the aircraft's electrical system.
Unless Honeywell and/or Boeing changed the design significantly for the 787, it's just really really really bad luck this happened on a 787.

And how do you explain a brand new jet having these problems? Easy, the answer is in the question. The problems the 787 is having, are practically all connected -no pun intended- to the electrical system. Because it is a brand new jet, there are some teething problems(of which I don't consider this to be one, for the moment).
The electrical system sure can use some improving, but that's what you get when you implement new stuff: things break, and you get the chance to learn from it.
As I said before, would I put my children on a 787 right now? Yes, and the investigators seem to think the same. Heck, I'd put my entire family on one.
Last edited by KriVa on 18 Jul 2013, 19:33, edited 1 time in total.
Thomas

RTM
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by RTM » 18 Jul 2013, 19:32

True... not my day i guess... :shifty:

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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by RTM » 18 Jul 2013, 19:57

KriVa wrote:
And how do you explain a brand new jet having these problems? Easy, the answer is in the question. The problems the 787 is having, are practically all connected -no pun intended- to the electrical system. Because it is a brand new jet, there are some teething problems(of which I don't consider this to be one, for the moment).
The electrical system sure can use some improving, but that's what you get when you implement new stuff: things break, and you get the chance to learn from it.
As I said before, would I put my children on a 787 right now? Yes, and the investigators seem to think the same. Heck, I'd put my entire family on one.
May have something to do with the composite structure ... normally everything is electrically connected to the structure as this is the negatieve for the electrical system. In this case, the negative has to be supplied by other means. A new teritory on this scale. If you look at composite cars, a lot develop lighting problems due to this, so can be a thing on an aircraft as well. But of course, an aircraft will be put together bit better than a kit car... hopefully...

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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Bralo20 » 18 Jul 2013, 21:07

RTM wrote: Also, the fire seems to be isolated to a small area, which means that the structural damage is probably confined to that area, and a temp fix for a ferry flight is probably an option.
I'm totally not convinced that it was isolated to a small area, the images we've seen on TV are suggesting that the area affected by externial damage is quite significant. It's not a simple patch of 10x10 it's quite a large area that suffered damage enough to at least damage the paint and weaken the cfrp structure.

The fact that Boeings cfrp fuselage parts are moulded instead of traditionally bolted (like the "old" aluminium parts or even the cfrp panels of the A350) is a significant problem. You simply cannot "patch" a moulded fuselage like you would do with traditional fuselage. The fact that cfrp loses it's strenght when heated over 250°C is also something that you have to be considering, the large area seen on the tv images is an area that was heated well over 250°C and thus even without being burned through (although it's still not confirmed that the hull wasn't burned through, they specified "damaged composite structure" besides blackening and peeling paint. Damaged composite structure can mean everything, it can mean that it was burned through but at -least- it means that there is structural damage following a fire.) it still means that the structural integrity was breached due firedamage. Now you have a plane with a hull that has firedamage in an critical area of the plane where it will undergo a lot of stress during take off, landing and flight itself. But even then it doesn't stop... The fuselage was filled with smoke when the firedepartment entered the plane, smoke got denser when they got to the point where the fire was happening. This alone means that there is to be expected a significant amount of smokedamage, even soot damage... At this point the plane was also nicely covered with foam, I don't know which brand the LHR fire department uses but this can also cause significant damage though the modern types of foam are less damaging then the old ones which where really corrosive. So another point to take into account and then they started to tear up the interior of the plane to extinguish the fire in the crown of the plane, ok this probably won't have caused any extra damage but the fact they started to fight the fire with water (and maybe even used foam inside too, but this wasn't specified) meand that everything was covered nicely with water, all the electronics in that part of the plane (and especially below the floor) will have received a nice shower of water...

When you add everything it's not just a simple patch it's a lot more then most expect... Honnestly, I wouldn't be surprised for even a second if they announce that the plane is a write off... I actually expect it to be a write off and this mostly "thanks" to the Boeing design of using moulded fuselage parts... If the plane could have been repaired in a "normal way", thus by replacing panels, stringers, etc... I would say yes, they will repair it to have it back in service, but now? Maybe Boeing really wants to keep the 0 hull loss figure this early in the game and maybe they'll buy it from Wells Fargo to have it shipped to PAE to repair it there and keep it in the fleet as a testplane but I doubt it will fly with ET again...

I truly hope I will be wrong since it would be hard to see a hull loss that soon after EIS...

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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Bralo20 » 18 Jul 2013, 21:12

RTM wrote:If it is in fact the elt, a model in use on 6000 aircraft, then yes it is a coincidence.
There is not much to an elt. Just a power to charge the battery, a few wires for remote control from the cockpit and a digital data input for position info. Hardly a complex system.

As for the electrical problems... boeing is definately performing poorly. Big chances for airbus, if they get the 350 right. But that is a different discussion.
To be honnest, if the AAIB or whatever agency truly believes that the Honeywell ELT is the cause then they wouldn't restrict their recommending to the 787 alone, they would issue a broad statement with regard to every single type of plane using that particular ELT... Yet, only the 787 is involved even though they use the exact same ELT as the other 5950 planes that aren't 787's...

At this point it seems they haven't found the cause, they have located the origin of the fire in the vicinity of the ELT but that's about all they've found reading their report...

Bralo20
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Bralo20 » 18 Jul 2013, 21:17

KriVa wrote:It's even simpler than that. The batteries in an ELT are not designed to be recharged, so they are not connected to the aircraft's electrical system.
Unless Honeywell and/or Boeing changed the design significantly for the 787, it's just really really really bad luck this happened on a 787.
Well you are maybe wrong at one point, they are connected to the electrical system at one point through the switch in the cockpit. Yes, directly there isn't a connection but indirectly the system is connected... Will there be a charge to the ELT? Normally not but when a circuit breaker fails or any other part fails in the chain everything can happen...

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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Bralo20 » 18 Jul 2013, 21:24

KriVa wrote:
And how do you explain a brand new jet having these problems? Easy, the answer is in the question. The problems the 787 is having, are practically all connected -no pun intended- to the electrical system. Because it is a brand new jet, there are some teething problems(of which I don't consider this to be one, for the moment).
The electrical system sure can use some improving, but that's what you get when you implement new stuff: things break, and you get the chance to learn from it.
When the electrical system has issues that can potentially create a life threatning situation action needs to be taken, like you said, nearly every single problem that happens comes back to one single system, the electrical one... (except for the broken windshields)

When you want to make an electrical plane you have to be damn sure that everything works as it should be, if you cannot be sure then you should stick to proven methodes...

I love Boeing planes above all, I happily jump on a 707/727/737/747/757/767 and 777 any day of the week but at this point I rather avoid the 787 at any given cost... Not because I think the plane can crash, every plane can crash but just because i don't belief the plane was ready to be in service, there are just to many unknowns at this point and they should have been fixed before EIS not during service... Boeing wanted this plane in service at all cost after the substantial delays during design and testing, well, it has been the wrong decission, what had the purpose of saving their face will come back and bite them in the ass...


Just my 2 cents ;)

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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by Streetstream » 18 Jul 2013, 21:41

KriVa wrote:And how do you explain a brand new jet having these problems? Easy, the answer is in the question. The problems the 787 is having, are practically all connected -no pun intended- to the electrical system. Because it is a brand new jet, there are some teething problems(of which I don't consider this to be one, for the moment).
You say it yourself, all the problems are related to the electrical system and even after the grounding, which should be a real warning, they don't seem to have it under control. if it was just this fire, than yes, it could be bad luck. But the Tompson 787 having electrical problems as well so soon after delivery, well, it worries me. I admit, i'm an Airbus fan, but i respect Boeing greatly and seeing a 747 land still gives me goosebumps, so i'm not here to talk trash about Boeing. The 787 is a great plane, but i really fear Boeing is running with it when they need to learn how to walk. I hope for Boeing's sake that this fire was indeed a instance of bad luck, but all i'm seeing (and i'm trying not to be biased) is a plane with either a serious design error is its electrical system or the usage of subpar parts.

bollox
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Re: Ethiopian Boeing 787 on fire at gate in London Heathrow

Post by bollox » 18 Jul 2013, 22:17

Lets wait for the AAIB report! Tomorrow or a bit later. It will be a preliminary report. Hopefully the real source of the fire will be identified and the necessary corrective mesasures proposed (maybe including grounding).
We will see....................

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