Entries in Boeing (24)


FAA Proposes to Fine Boeing $2.75M For Quality Control Violations

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration has proposed fining Boeing Co. $2.75 for its failure to uphold its quality control system to FAA standards.

The civil penalty was prompted by Boeing’s discovery in September 2008 that it had been installing nonconforming fasteners on its model 777 airplanes. The FAA sent Boeing a letter of investigation a month later and requested a response within 20 working days. Two years later, the FAA said that Boeing had still failed to address the problem.

“Manufacturers must make it a priority to identify and correct quality problems in a timely manner,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta.

Boeing has since stopped using nonconforming fasteners, but the FAA says there are still problems with their manufacturing system and the way they address problems.

“Safety is our top priority and a robust quality control system is a vital part of maintaining the world’s safest air transportation system,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Airplane manufacturers must take prompt and thorough steps to correct safety and compliance problems once they become aware of them.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boeing 787 Dreamliner Flights to Resume in Weeks?

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Boeing's grounded fleet of 787 Dreamliners will resume flying within weeks, company executives said on Friday, after Boeing engineers developed layers of additional safety measures to eliminate the risk of fire from a faulty lithium-ion battery system.

Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Chief Engineer Michael Sinnett fiercely defended the Dreamliner, calling it "among the safest airplanes" in Boeing's history.  He said engineers had spent 200,000 hours analyzing what caused batteries on two of its flights to overheat in January.

In one incident, a lithium ion battery caught fire on a Japan Airlines flight parked at Boston's Logan Airport.  Smoke from a battery system on an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan forced an emergency landing and prompted U.S. and Japanese regulators to ground all 50 Dreamliners indefinitely.

"We may never get to the single root cause [of the problems]," Sinnett said.  "But the process we've applied to understand what improvements can be made is the most robust process we've ever followed in improving a part in history."

In Boeing's first detailed explanation of the proposed changes to the battery system, Sinnett said engineers had identified 80 potential problems that could lead to a battery fire and redesigned the system to eliminate any fire risk.  

Boeing plans to add a battery enclosure made of stainless steel, preventing any gas released from the batteries from spreading to the rest of the plane.  Engineers also plan to add heat-resistant sleeving, and extra insulation spacers.

Sinnett said he was "confident" a fire would not occur, but that he could not rule out battery failures in the future.

"Parts fail.  We know that some day a battery may fail," he said.  "We need to make sure that there is no significant impact at the airplane level when it does."

The new system has already gone through a third of the tests required for the certification process, and will likely be completed "within weeks," according to Boeing Executive Vice President Ray Conner, who also spoke in Tokyo.

But Japanese Transport Minister Akihiro Ota failed to provide a timeline of the Dreamliner's return, saying the Transport Ministry still had to conduct tests and analyses with the Federal Aviation Administration to confirm the safety of the aircraft.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boeing's 787 Dreamliners Had Battery Issues in the Past, Reports Say

Matt Hosford/ABC News(TOKYO) -- Lithium-ion batteries on board Boeing's 787 Dreamliners were plagued by problems long before battery failures grounded the planes earlier this month.

Published reports say All Nippon Airways replaced 10 of its batteries months ago because they failed to operate normally.  In one case, they showed an unexpectedly low charge.

ANA notified Boeing but wasn't required to report the problem to safety regulators because it wasn't considered a flight risk.

The National Transportation Safety Board says past problems will be included in a larger investigation that has grounded Dreamliners indefinitely around the world.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Initial Probe Finds ANA's Dreamliner Battery Was Not Overcharged

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(TOKYO) -- An initial investigation into one of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner incidents has answered at least one question.  

Japan’s Transport Safety Board says the lithium-ion battery that burned mid-flight aboard an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner, prompting an emergency landing last week, wasn't overcharged.

But the battery has not been ruled out as the cause of the fire.  It continues to be the main focus of the Transport Safety Board's investigation with the National Transportation Safety Board and Federal Aviation Administration.  

Officials have already conducted a CT scan in Japan and plan to disassemble the burned battery so they can analyze it piece by piece.

Meanwhile, the probe into the Japan Airlines Dreamliner that leaked fuel earlier this month has now shifted to the U.K., where Japanese inspectors are investigating the company that manufactures the valve actuator.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Probe into Boeing's 787 Dreamliners Grows

Matt Hosford/ABC News(TOKYO) -- The investigation into Boeing's troubled 787 Dreamliners now spans three countries.

Japan's transport ministry is investigating a British company that makes the plane's valve actuators.  The National Transportation Safety Board, meanwhile, is inspecting the Arizona-based manufacturer of the jet's lithium-ion battery chargers.

In Kyoto Tuesday, Federal Aviation Administration and Japanese officials continued their probe of the battery maker for a second day.

The NTSB has ruled out an overcharged battery as the cause of the fire on board a Japan Airlines Dreamliner this month.  But the battery remains the focus of a separate investigation into an All Nippon Airways flight that prompted an emergency landing last week.

The conflicting problems have prolonged flight cancellations and grounded dozens of Dreamliners around the world.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


FAA Coming Under Fire over Approval of Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Matt Hosford/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Federal Aviation Administration decided to halt U.S. flights on Boeing's new 787 Dreamliners to investigate problems with the jets' batteries.  Now, some are asking why the FAA didn't pay closer attention before the planes went into service.

The Wall Street Journal reports that when the FAA approved the Dreamliners' lithium-ion battery systems -- which had never been used before in big jets -- the agency "relied extensively" on data from Boeing, the planes' manufacturer. 

Boeing's information suggested that the batteries had "redundant safeguards," making them "essentially foolproof."

The FAA doesn't have the budget or staff to do its own testing but says it provided "rigorous oversight" during the certification process.  

After two major battery malfunctions, that process itself is coming under scrutiny.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Dow Snagged by Weak Boeing Stock

Stephen Morton/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A drop in a global aircraft manufacturer's stock kept the Dow from taking off Wednesday.
The Dow closed down 24 points at 13,511.23. However, the Nasdaq Composite gained seven points, helped by a rebound in Apple shares (up 4.15 percent on the session). The S&P was up a fraction of a point at 1,472.63.
Boeing dropped $2.60 to $74.34, a 3.4 percent loss.  Japan's two biggest airlines have grounded their new 787 Dreamliners for safety checks after one was forced to make an emergency landing Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Moody's is giving the higher-education sector a failing grade.  The ratings agency says even prestigious, top-tier research universities are under threat from dropping enrollment, government spending cuts, and growing public doubt about the value of a college degree.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boeing 787 Dreamliners Deemed Safe Despite Mishaps, Planned Review

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The flying public is safe on Boeing 787 Dreamliners, despite several mishaps including fuel leaks and an electrical fire, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said on Friday.

"I would fly on one today," LaHood said at a news conference in Washington, D.C., Friday morning.

The Dreamliner has come under fresh scrutiny in the wake of the incidents, with the Federal Aviation Administration's ordering of a comprehensive review of the plane's design.  FAA Administrator Michael Huerta on Friday said the agency intends to perform a special review of the carbon-fiber plane to ensure that it's safe to fly.

In a rare joint news conference with Boeing, government officials repeatedly assured the flying public of the 787's safety.

"Nothing suggests the airplane is not safe," Huerta said.  "We believe this is a safe aircraft.  To validate the work during the certification process, we'll work with Boeing to check on systems design and production."

"We want to make sure that the approved quality-control process is in place.  We want to see the entire picture and not focus on individual events, to determine the root causes of these events," he said.

The plane will not be grounded by the FAA and will continue to fly during the review.  Huerta said he cannot speculate on a timetable for the review, but it will proceed as expeditiously as possible

He said the review will focus on the Dreamliner's electrical system, including the battery and the power distribution panels, and how electrical and mechanical systems interact with one another.

The latest incident involving the 787 occurred overnight when a three-foot-long crack appeared in the cockpit window of an All Nippon Airlines 787 flying in Japan.

In addition to that incident, another Dreamliner's electrical power system caught fire earlier this week at Boston's Logan Airport.

Six 787s have been delivered domestically, all purchased by United, while there are 50 flying worldwide, including Poland and Chile.

United says it has no plans to take its Dreamliners out of service during the review.

"We continue to have complete confidence in the 787 and in the ability of Boeing, with the support of the FAA, to resolve these early operational issues," the carrier said in a statement.  "We will support Boeing and the FAA throughout their review."

Boeing says it has "extreme confidence in the 787," and that it is 100 percent "safe to fly."

Boeing President Ray Conner emphasized on Friday that the 787 has logged 50,000 flights, carrying more than a million passengers with no injuries, and its in-service reliability matches the record of its previous new plane roll-out, the 777.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Report: FAA to Review Boeing 787 Dreamliners After Fire

Matt Hosford/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- The Federal Aviation Administration will hold a news conference Friday morning to discuss the recent rash of problems with Boeing's new 787 Dreamliners.

Bloomberg reports the government will call for a review of the plane's newly-designed electrical power system, which caught fire this week in Boston's Logan Airport.

The fire broke out Monday morning on board an empty 787 that had flown in non-stop from Tokyo.  The Massachusetts Port Authority's fire chief, Bob Donahue, said the blaze began in a battery pack for the plane's auxiliary power unit, which runs the jet's electrical systems when it's not getting power from its engines.

No major injuries were reported and one firefighter experienced skin irritation after contact with a chemical used to douse the fire, Donahue said.

The FAA has not commented on Bloomberg's report.

Boeing issued a statement in response, saying, "We actively work with the FAA daily, across all of our product lines.  We do not publicly comment on the nature and content of those communications."

"We are absolutely confident in the reliability and performance of the 787.  We are working with the FAA and our customers to ensure we thoroughly understand any introductory issues that arise.  While we take each issue seriously, nothing we've seen in service causes us to doubt the capabilities of the airplane," Boeing's statement continued.

There are 50 Dreamliners flying worldwide, six in the United States alone.  United Airlines, which operates all the 787s in the U.S., says it has no plans to take the jets out of service.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Airplane Manufacturer Sees Passengers as Sacks of Potatoes

Matt Hosford/ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Passengers sometimes complain of being made to feel like cattle when traveling on various airlines, but sacks of potatoes are actually a more apt description for airplane manufacturer Boeing.

According to a press release, the engineers at the company needed to thoroughly test a revolutionary in-flight WiFi system, though doing so would require filling the plane to capacity and having passengers just sit there while engineers beamed content-streaming signals all over the cabin 24/7 for days on end to test signal strength and iron out technical glitches.

To avoid using people, Boeing scientists called in the SPUDS.  Specifically, Synthetic Personnel Using Dielectric Substitution, or in layman's terms, potatoes -- 20,000 pounds of them -- seated in each airline seat.

"The vegetables' interactions with radio-wave signals mimic those of the human body," a scientist noted in the study.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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