Entries in 787 (3)


Cause of Fire Aboard Boeing's 787 Dreamliner Still Unknown

Duncan Chard/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Firefighters experienced "heavy smoke conditions" when they responded to a fire aboard a Boeing 787 Dreamliner two months ago in Boston, portraying the incident as more serious than previously described, according to newly released documents from the National Transportation Safety Board.

A firefighter reported seeing "a white glow with radiant heat waves," but no flames out of the battery pack that caught fire on Jan. 7 at Logan International Airport, according to an interim report by the NTSB released on Thursday.

The NTSB has yet to figure out exactly what caused the shoe-boxed sized battery to overheat.  The lithium-ion battery is a much larger version of the battery that powers a laptop or cellphone.

Dreamliners worldwide have been grounded since a second battery incident led to an emergency landing in Japan nine days after the Boston fire.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in January he won't let the Dreamliners fly again until he's "1,000 percent sure" it's safe.

Boeing has been consulting with Ford Motor Co., General Motors Co., General Electric Co., United Technologies Corp. and others for battery solutions that will get its plane back in the air, Bloomberg News reported, citing five people with knowledge of the matter who are not authorized to speak publicly.  

Boeing wants to insulate the battery and build a better box to contain any fire, according to published reports.  Federal Aviation Administration officials are expected to make a decision soon on whether to approve a plan by Boeing to revamp the 787's lithium-ion batteries to prevent or contain future fires.

Donald Sadoway, John F. Elliott Professor of Materials Chemistry at MIT, thinks that won't be enough to get the Dreamliner back in the sky.

"How do we insure that we don't get into a fire condition in the first place?  And I haven't heard enough to give me comfort on that one," Sadoway said.

The fire that broke out in Boston was on an empty Japan Airlines Dreamliner after a nonstop flight from Tokyo, carrying 184 passengers.

The first firefighter to enter the plane reported seeing "a white glow about the size of a softball" through the smoke using his hand-held heat-imaging camera.

One of the firefighters responding to the fire reported that the "battery was hissing loudly and that liquid was flowing down the sides of the battery case," according to the NTSB report.

Another firefighter reported that he heard a "pop" sound and that smoke began "pouring out of" the electronic equipment bay, the NTSB said in the report.

In all, it took an hour and 40 minutes to extinguish the fire.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boeing 787 Dreamliner Catches Fire After Landing in Boston

ABC News(BOSTON) -- A fire broke out on an empty Boeing 787 Dreamliner jet in Boston's Logan Airport after a non-stop flight from Tokyo, prompting more safety concerns about the new plane since its 2011 release.

The incident occurred Monday morning when an electrical fire broke out on board the Japan Airlines jet 30 minutes after 173 passengers and 11 crew members exited the plane.  The Massachusetts Port Authority's fire chief, Bob Donahue, said the fire 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 had skin irritation after contact with a chemical used to douse the fire, Donahue said.

The flight landed incident-free around 10:15 a.m., but a mechanic working in the cockpit was confronted minutes later by smoke billowing from electrical systems in the belly of the plane.

"We observed a heavy smoke condition throughout the entire cabin," Donahue said.

Fire crews using infrared equipment found flames in a small compartment in the plane's belly and had the fire out in about 20 minutes, he said.  There was a flare-up later when a battery exploded, he added.

Japan Airlines said in a statement, "Safety is the foundation of JAL's operations and while no passengers were injured in this incident, we deeply apologize for causing our customers concern and inconvenience.  We are now working closely with NTSB and Boeing in determining the cause of this incident."

The National Transportation Safety Board said it's sending an investigator to Boston.

"We're aware of the situation and are working with our customer," Boeing said in a statement.

Boeing has sold more than 800 of the planes around the world with only six flying domestically.  The plane, mostly made of carbon fiber, was first released in 2011.

The Federal Aviation Administration last month ordered inspections of potential fuel-line leaks on all 787s.  On the same day the inspection was ordered, a United Airlines 787 flight from Houston to Newark, N.J., was diverted to New Orleans because of a generator failure.  A similar fire broke out during the 787's testing phase in 2010.

"This event occurred in the same avionics bay where they had problems before," said John Hansman, MIT professor of aeronautics and astronautics.  "So it raises a lot of questions that will be looked at as quickly as possible."

But Hansman believes this is just a new plane built differently with new systems and materials.

"I wouldn't be concerned as a passenger.  This is a very good airplane, but it's very advanced.  It's pushing the envelope," he said.

Airlines are buying the new planes because they're cheaper to fly and more efficient, but they're going to sell would-be passengers on feature comforts such as the air itself.

Because the plane is made of plastic, it is more flexible so air pressure inside the plane can be kept higher.  The maker says the improvement in air pressure leads to less jet lag, as well as less dry mouth and skin for passengers.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Boeing Halts Dreamliner Tests After Cabin Fire

Photo Courtesy - PR NewsFoto/Continental(DALLAS) -- Boeing has halted tests of its massive new commercial jet, the 787 Dreamliner.  During a test flight over Texas, a cabin fire forced the crew to make an emergency landing in Laredo. The runway was then evacuated. 

Boeing stocks tumbled Wednesday after word of the latest Dreamliner test.  It's not the first time the company has had trouble with the aircraft meant to challenge the Airbus A380.  The A380 is having its own troubles, with the latest being an engine explosion that forced a Qantas flight to make an emergency landing just days ago.

The lightweight, fuel-efficient Dreamliner has prompted interest from airlines all over the world.  The delay in testing could hold up delivery of the first 787's, ordered by a Japanese airline.  The plane is already way behind schedule. 

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio