Discussion in 'Jet Aviation Discussion' started by aviator4512, Jan 8, 2013.
Inside Boeing's 787 Operations Control Center. How they track Dreamliners in flight.
One of All Nippon Airways' 787 Dreamliners had a cockpit message saying that the aircraft might not be able to supply power for its air-conditioning system, the Japanese airline said on Thursday. The issue was not related to the lithium-ion battery problems that caused the grounding of the jets for three months from mid-January, Ryosei Nomura, an ANA spokesman, said.
All 787s are under the microscope after Boeing installed a re-designed battery system and they resumed flying. Last week, two United Airlines Dreamliners were diverted due to separate oil-related problems. More than 100 passengers who were supposed to fly on the ANA jet from Tokyo to Frankfurt on Thursday ended up taking a different plane that departed nearly eight hours later than originally scheduled, Nomura said. ANA fixed the problem by exchanging components of a computer that controls electricity supply to the air-conditioning system, said Shinsuke Satake, another company spokesman.
Oh well, looks to be another 787 APU battery fire ... not a good look.
Ethiopian Airlines...at Heathrow in the UK. As you would expect Boeing share dropped today at that news.
An update on the latest incident...
Perhaps the scrutiny will ease off the 787-8.
I suspect not.
From what I've read the aircraft had no apu running, nor gpu connected, and all the systems were shutdown, for about 8 hours prior to the fire.
So if the issue were due batteries inside an ELT, this would indicate it was drawing power from transmitting. But how could an ELT signal go unnoticed for eight hours? And how/when did it become active, and who monitors for the ELT signal, and did they see one from this jet?
If there was a signal the battery was being used.
But if the ELT was not active, then what is the nature of an electrical "short", that created a fire in and around the ELT, in which no apu or gpu power can be involved?
In which case, power has to have come from a battery, presumably due to some system drawing on it. What, if not the transmitter?
So it doesn't add up, it raises questions.
But besides all of that, what are the chances a one-off ELT malfunction the like never seen before on an aircraft, just happens to take place on a 787 that has experienced anomalous rare power-related battery fires recently? Yes, it could be a pure coincidence, but let's face it, who isn't left thinking it may not be?
Thanks for your contribution, raises alot more questions that would be interesting to be answered.
Canada's air transport regulator is drawing up a safety directive concerning the emergency beacons being looked at in the investigation into a fire on a parked Boeing 787 Dreamliner last month. The directive - which would list action that airlines or manufacturers must take - will take into account inspections done by manufacturer Honeywell and its Canadian sub-contractor Instrumar, Transport Canada said in a statement. "Transport Canada is developing an airworthiness directive in consultation with the FAA (US Federal Aviation Administration) and EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency)," the statement said.
"The airworthiness directive would be based on the information collected from the equipment inspections mandated by the FAA, information already provided by Honeywell, and the results of (Transport Canada's) inspections of Honeywell and Instrumar." Emergency Locator Transmitters - designed to help locate an aircraft in the event of a crash - marketed by Honeywell have emerged as a key focus of the investigation into a fire which caused serious damage to a parked 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines at London's Heathrow airport on July 12.
The FAA has ordered inspections on the beacons in 787s, and Boeing last week expanded the inspections to cover more than 1,000 aircraft of all types that are fitted with the devices. The Wall Street Journal reported that the Canadian directive would expand inspections to cover all types of planes that use the suspect emergency transmitters, including jets from Boeing, Airbus and Dassault Aviation. Although the 787 is designed and manufactured in the United States, Transport Canada is the lead safety agency on the beacons, which are manufactured in Newfoundland. An earlier model of Honeywell beacon faced scrutiny from Canada's regulator in a previous airworthiness directive in 2009. It called for suspect parts to be modified or replaced after tests found that two units were unable to broadcast the emergency homing signal on the right frequency.
Poland's flagship carrier LOT cancelled two Boeing 787 Dreamliner flights to Beijing and back after it was forced to reset an onboard computer, the airline said on Wednesday. "We had to restart an onboard computer, which takes several hours," said LOT spokeswoman Barbara Pijanowska-Kuras. "The same plane will fly to Chicago later today."
LOT, the first European airline to add 787s to its fleet, currently has four of Boeing's flagship planes that were grounded for months earlier this year over concerns with overheating batteries. Technical glitches unrelated to the batteries forced LOT to cancel several 787 flights last month. The Polish carrier restarted a service to Beijing earlier this month using the 787.
All Nippon Airways said it had found an electrical wiring problem in the fire extinguishers of the engines of three of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets. The problem was first discovered during pre-flight maintenance of a 787 at Tokyo airport, an ANA spokeswoman said. The airline, which operates the largest fleet of 787s, is investigating whether the faulty wiring would have caused the extinguisher to malfunction in case of an engine fire.
ANA operates 20 Dreamliners.
After ANA reported the fault, Japan Airlines turned back a 787 en route to Helsinki to check the fire extinguisher wiring. JAL is now conducting checks on all ten of its 787s, a spokesman for the airline said. The 787, Boeing's newest and most advanced aircraft, has suffered a spate of problems since its first flight in December 2009. In the latest incident, fire broke out on an Ethiopian Airlines 787 at London's Heathrow airport on July 12, triggering inspections of beacons used to locate aircraft in the event of a crash.
Boeing has traced the incorrectly assembled engine fire extinguishers on 787 Dreamliners to the manufacturing of bottles at a supplier's facility while saying there were no risks to flight safety, the Wall Street Journal reported. On Wednesday, Japanese airline ANA said it had found an electrical wiring problem in the fire extinguishers of the engines of three of its Boeing 787s. The problem was first discovered during pre-flight maintenance of a jet at Tokyo airport.
Boeing said in a written statement to the Wall Street Journal that the improper assembly, which has been confirmed to have been found on three ANA jets in Japan, "does not present a safety of flight issue because the bottles are not the only means of fire extinguishing for engines and there are multiple redundancies within the fire extinguishing system." A Boeing spokeswoman told the newspaper that activating the 787's engine fire extinguishing system "does not disable or impact performance."
"Regardless, improperly configured components are not acceptable and this issue is being addressed promptly. Boeing will follow standard disciplined procedures to understand how this discrepancy occurred and ensure it is not repeated," the WSJ reported, citing Boeing statement.
Aeromexico has reaffirmed its faith in the Boeing 787 at the unveiling of its first of the type, despite several high profile incidents involving the 787 so far this year. The SkyTeam carrier took delivery of the first of up to 19 787s on 15 August, and showed off the aircraft in a ceremony at its facilities since then.
Norwegian Air not satisfied with its few 787s...
Scandinavian budget carrier Norwegian is to be assisted by a quick-response team tasked with smoothing the carrier's troubled Boeing 787 operations. Chief executive Bjørn Kjos has disclosed that Boeing is to "put together a team" to address "immediately" any technical issues on the type.
Low-cost carrier Norwegian is wet-leasing an Airbus A340 after deciding to take its second Boeing 787 out of service to settle recent operational difficulties.
Full story on the latest troubles...
The brochure for Boeing's aircraft repair service makes a simple assertion: "No one knows Boeing airplanes better than Boeing." Now that claim is being put to a visible test as Norwegian Air Shuttle grounded a 787 Dreamliner over the weekend. The airline demanded Boeing fix the state-of-the-art jet, saying it needs repairs after less than 30 days in service. Investment analysts say the problem involving a hydraulic pump is minor and isolated, and it is unlikely to affect Boeing's stock price, which is towering at record levels.
But Norwegian Air's vocal airing of its complaints is another black eye for the troubled 787. It follows a string of electrical and other safety problems that included battery meltdowns so severe they prompted regulators to ban the long-haul airliner from flight for more than three months this year. On Sunday, a LOT 787 flying from Toronto to Warsaw was forced to land at Iceland's Keflavik airport after problems with its air identification system. Norwegian Air's formal request on Saturday for Boeing to take charge of fixing the plane throw a spotlight on an often overlooked facet of the 787's performance: reliability. And it shows how quickly a plane that cannot fly can hit a carrier's bottom line. Like other airlines with small long-haul fleets, Norwegian Air does not have a spare plane it can use if a jet breaks down. The carrier said it had to rent planes and cancel tickets when it could not use its 787s.
"Reliability is a big deal, especially for low-cost carriers such as Norwegian," said Russell Solomon, an analyst at Moody's Investors Service in New York.
But since the problem appeared to be a "one-off" and part of the normal growing pains for a new plane, he added, it probably would not unsettle Boeing investors.
HALF A DOZEN BREAKDOWNS
When Norwegian Air began long-haul operations this year, it aimed to capitalise on the Dreamliner's lower operating cost and the jet's promised 20 percent savings on fuel burn. But the first two 787s, delivered in recent weeks as part of a planned fleet of eight, broke down more than half a dozen times in September, forcing Norwegian to lease back-up planes on short notice or cancel flights. Norwegian Air grounded its 787s several times, citing problems with brakes, hydraulic pumps and power. On September 23, the carrier said one Dreamliner was beset with problems in the oxygen supply to the cockpit. A problem with a valve on the airline's second 787 was repaired around the same time, but only after delaying a flight from Oslo to New York.
Boeing said the repairs of the latest problem, to be carried out in Stockholm where the aircraft is parked, would take a matter of days. That is much better than with the 787's volatile battery system, which grounded the worldwide fleet of Dreamliners from mid-January until late April. "Norwegian has contracted with Boeing to provide engineering, spare parts and maintenance services for its 787s," Boeing said in a statement.
"We regret the inconvenience and disruption caused to the airline and its passengers as a result of this process." Norwegian Air was the first to sign up for Boeing's GoldCare maintenance contract for its 787s, and is still the sole 787 customer for the plan. The brochure says GoldCare "significantly reduces the risk of new airplane introduction surprises" and helps airlines keep the plane in service. But the grounded aircraft have prompted Norwegian to voice its dissatisfaction with the aircraft.
"The aircraft's reliability is simply not acceptable," Norwegian Air spokesman Lasse Sandaker-Nielsen said on Saturday. "Our passengers cannot live with this kind of performance."
Saturday's announcement capped a tough week for Boeing in which its commercial planes chief executive Ray Conner flew to Oslo to face Norwegian Air bosses over the earlier 787 mishaps. Boeing maintains a formidable global workforce to support aircraft, and tracks the status of out-of-order jets in real time at an operations centre in Seattle. But even so, it appeared unprepared for the storm of negative publicity Norwegian Air stirred. "They didn't do themselves any favours at all when Ray Conner went to Norway and did not talk publicly," said Richard Aboulafia, an analyst at the Teal Group.
"There was no better signal for the airline to aggressively go public" with its complaints, he added. The public relations furore appeared to ease after Conner met Norwegian Air management on Wednesday. Boeing promised to locate spare parts centres at all of the airline's long-haul destinations and send a team of engineers to Oslo to monitor the planes. Said Norwegian Air chief executive Bjorn Kos after the meeting: "It was a positive discussion."
SERVICE BUSINESS TEST
All new aircraft have teething problems when first entering service, and most are forgotten when the issues are ironed out. The Airbus A380 superjumbo had wing cracks that required reworking by the manufacturer, but that crisis faded from the headlines. Boeing faces an additional test with the 787 and Norwegian Air because Boeing had claimed that the jet's advanced electrical systems and computerised fault-tracking would be both easier and cheaper to repair.
Boeing and rival Airbus also face a test of efforts to build lucrative after-sales service businesses to boost profit margins. Even as Boeing touts the reliability of its service, other airlines have been raising concerns about 787s. A 787 operated by Poland's LOT had to land unexpectedly in Iceland on Sunday due to a fault in its air identification system, a spokeswoman for the airline said on Sunday. Like Norwegian, LOT has had a list of problems with its 787s, including last week delaying flights after check-ups showed two planes lacked fuel filters.
LOT also said last week that Boeing had until the end of the year to agree on compensation for the three-month grounding of the 787 because of the battery issues, or it would take the matter to court. Norwegian Air's GoldCare maintenance contract has served only to deepen Boeing's PR troubles by giving the company direct responsibility for sorting problems out. Still, Solomon at Moody's said it would take significantly more than Norwegian Air and LOT's problems to dent investor confidence in Boeing as an investment, or a credit risk.
It would have to be "something that called into question the viability of the programme," hurting Boeing's reputation and finances, he said. Instead, Boeing is "performing quite well in these two important regards," and still has strong growth prospects for its commercial plane business.
Boeing responds to 787 reliability problems...
For five decades Boeing has awarded bigger and bigger shares of its supply contracts to Japanese firms, but that could change after Japan Airlines' shock defection to Airbus and as Boeing seeks to win orders in China. Boeing's carbon composite 787 is 35 percent made in Japan - as big a share as it builds in-house - but Japanese aviation insiders fear the Dreamliner could be the high water mark of the industry's partnership with the US company.
The close co-operation has not only benefitted Japan's industrial giants Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Kawasaki Heavy Industries and Fuji Heavy Industries - it has also enabled Boeing to dominate one of the world's biggest aviation markets with a share of more than 80 percent. That status quo crumbled on Monday, when JAL signed a deal to buy 31 Airbus A350s, its first purchase of European jets. In rejecting the rival Boeing 777X, JAL can only have increased the likelihood that the US company's next project will be less Japanese.
"Negotiations for the 777X work share are ongoing, and that may be influenced by the JAL decision," a government official who helps oversee Japan's aerospace industry told Reuters news agency. Tokyo, he added, was looking to win a work share for Japanese suppliers greater than the 21 percent that Mitsubishi Heavy, Kawasaki Heavy and others build of the current 777. The fear in Japan is that Boeing, which says the business it gives Japan adds up to 22,000 jobs accounting for around 40 percent of the nation's aerospace workforce, may be tempted to shift more production to China, South Korea or elsewhere.
"If I was Boeing, I would hold their feet to the fire," said Lance Gatling, founder of aerospace and defence consultancy Nexial Research in Tokyo. "International competition for what they build can only increase." Spokesmen for the Japanese suppliers involved and for Boeing in Japan declined to comment on the share out of work for the 777X, which Boeing has said it plans to officially launch later this year.
LURE OF CHINA
JAL's defection to Airbus stacks on top of other reasons why Japan may find it harder to win bigger chunks of business from their US partner. Boeing, having faced criticism it overextended itself on the delayed 787 with an ambitious global supply chain, has said it will take a more conventional approach to the 777X, a re-engined more fuel efficient upgrade of its long-range, wide-body 777. That, industry watchers say, could mean it builds the aircraft wings at home, after the 787's wings were made overseas - in Japan - for the first time.
A longer-term worry for Japan is that their country, once Asia's biggest aircraft market, is no longer the goldmine that first drew Boeing to seek panel suppliers for its 747 there. Both Boeing and Airbus are now more focused on vying for business in China. The entry price often imposed by the Chinese government is a share of the build. Boeing, in its most recent 20-year market forecast that runs to 2032, predicts China will buy 6,000 new aircraft while the market in Northeast Asia, which includes Japan, North and South Korea and Taiwan, will be 1,360.
"If the Japanese could put the arm on Boeing the Chinese have got the ability to put the arm on Boeing," said Nexial Research's Gatling. "The Chinese have cheap labour and a huge market." He added that the Japanese were also looking over their shoulders at upcoming South Korean firms such as Korean Aerospace Industries, which Boeing in 2011 named supplier of the year. Part of Japan's response to that challenge is the 70-90 seat Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), its first commercial aircraft since it lashed itself to Boeing.
Apart from being a bid to claim a share of the expanding market for smaller passenger jets, it is both an opportunity to showcase its skills to Boeing and provide a hedge against a fall in orders from Western manufacturers. One lure that could keep Boeing heavily involved in Japan is government financial support for R&D that could end up in its jets. According to the European Union, which is locked in an aircraft subsidy dispute with the United States, Boeing benefits from support from the Japanese government for development of the 787, including financing of up to 70 percent of development costs incurred by Japanese suppliers.
NEW BATTLE LOOMS
Attention in Japan has now turned to Boeing's battle with Airbus to supply JAL's rival ANA. Boeing is widely seen as the favourite in that tussle, although some analysts think ANA will buy Airbus wide-body planes to hedge against delay and avoid getting left with older fleets while competitors fly new jets that consume less fuel.
Like JAL, ANA is looking to buy around 30 jets to retire its older 777s and is considering the carbon composite A350 and the 777X as replacements. A win for Boeing would offer a keen incentive for the US company to stay deeply rooted in Japan, and industry sources expect a lobbying backlash as pressure from the aerospace industry's political backers comes to bear. And at ANA, political pressure may bear more fruit. In a reversal of roles, ANA now enjoys a closer relationship with the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, a position once enjoyed by flag carrier JAL before its bankruptcy and bailout in 2010.
ANA this month won double the number of new landing slots at Tokyo's Haneda airport, prompting a rare public complaint by JAL that it had been unfairly treated. The question remains whether ANA is willing to do something for Team Japan in return. "Obviously it (JAL's decision) is a setback, but Boeing has been investing in Japan for decades and is not going to suddenly say from now on we don't like you," said Adam Pilarski, senior vice-president at aviation consultancy Avitas.