Monday, January 21, 2013

Boeing 787 lithium-ion battery issues

"All 50 of the 787 Dreamliners that Boeing has delivered to airlines were grounded after an overheated battery forced the emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways 787 flight last week in western Japan." [Boeing 787 probe centers on lithium-ion battery maker].

Maybe it is clear to some, but what is the purpose of the battery in question. It is quaint how the report in the Christian Science Monitor assumes knowledge the reader is not likely to have. Without more - aircraft safety dependent on a battery is frightful to say the least. But read on.

Read the Boeing statement. Not much information there. But depending on the version - the Dreamliner might be carrying 290 passengers. Not much of a dream if it falls from the sky. So just how much of a safety threat is the battery issue? See this story Boeing 787 battery fires underscore complexity of energy storage technology.

Thankfully though commercial aircraft safety is paramount in the US? But see this from the Guardian UK: "Aviation debacle is a result of battery and outsourcing problems exacerbated by a relaxation of government oversight."

"Mann [Consultant and former airline executive Robert Mann] said the FAA's mandate changed under administrator Marion Blakey, appointed by president George W Bush in 2008 as Boeing was working on the Dreamliner. "Blakey saw the FAA as a 'customer services organisation. The FAA was working with the airlines to cut regulation, not to impose it.""

When it comes to profit - human life becomes a secondary concern.