In 2013, the troubled Boeing 787 Dreamliner was grounded for nearly four months because the plane's lithium-ion batteries caught fire. It's had at least three more cell failures since the plane was allowed to resume flying. While the Federal Aviation Administration dismisses these new failures, the fact that these battery malfunctions continue to happen is a big deal.
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Wow. Watch the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner pull off an amazing aerial display in preparation for the 2015 Air Show. You can see the big bodied jet pretend it's like a stunt plane and basically do tricks in the air. The most impressive has to be the take off though, the jet almost immediately goes nearly perpendicular to the ground once it starts flying.
The Wall Street Journal reports that on Monday the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) officially released its report on the mysterious battery fires that grounded Boeing's 787 Dreamliner fleet last year. And while it didn't identify what caused the actual short circuit, the NTSB puts the blame on a series of failures by Boeing, Japan's GS Yuasa Corp. — who supplied the 787's batteries — and even the FAA.
As a result of the $252 million half-year loss that Qantas has reported today, Australia's national carrier is making some big cutbacks. 5000 staff across the entire company are being made redundant, a bunch of flight schedules are being reconfigured, and over 50 new plane orders are being deferred indefinitely.
If Boeing was looking to 2014 as a fresh start for its constantly malfunctioning Dreamliner, that particular dream is almost certainly crushed by now. In addition to one of the plane's batteries malfunctioning (again) just a few days ago, a Norweigan's Airlines flight was cancelled yesterday after a passenger noticed that fuel was pouring from a valve on the plane's wing.
Reuters reports that smoke was seen coming from a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner early Wednesday morning. You might remember that almost exactly a year ago, a Dreamliner caught on fire in Boston, grounding the plane worldwide for four months. The cause of that fire? The battery. Oof, Boeing can't catch a break.
This last year has not been kind to Boeing's fledgling 787 Dreamliner class aeroplanes, what with the repeated electrical fires, fleet groundings and bad publicity. But Boeing is confident that it's worked the kinks out in its newest Dreamliner iteration, the 787-9, which rolled out of the factory earlier today and is eagerly awaiting its first test flight.
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner continued the model's string of bad luck yesterday when it burst into flames on the tarmac at London Heathrow Airport yesterday. The good news was that it was unoccupied at the time. And now there's a little bit more: investigators say it wasn't the battery's fault.
Boeing has detailed its solution for the 787 Dreamliner's battery problems. It involves improving the battery itself, fixing the charging system and adding another layer of protection with an added enclosure. Boeing is still committed to lithium-ion batteries and this solution will allow Boeing to continue to use them in the 787.
No one wants to be on a plane with batteries that are liable to explode, and since Boeing grounded its 787 Dreamliners after such an incident, no one has had to be. Except for the test crew that took one into the yesterday. But don't worry, it all turned out just fine.