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Boeing 787 Dreamliner Grounding and Updates and Opinions

As we now know, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner entire in-service fleet is grounded for full NTSB inspection, an action pretty much unexpected, given that every new airplane takes years and years and years to perfect. Speculation abounds, perhaps with the problematic lithium batteries in the lead of the airplane’s “teething problems,” a term which, some shareholder dentists came up with. Or, better yet, “glitches,” those short-term, transient problems in products. Marketers prefer ‘glitches’ because it is comforting to a passing traveler to say to another, regarding the plane engulfed in flames on the tarmac, “Oh. That’s just a glitch.” The term “teething problems” is now called “real concern” (see video). It is not a cracked engine. It is a glitch. Those are not flames. Those are teething problems.Lithium battery fires? Glitch-teething problems.

This is by no means the first of the list of problems for the 787 Dreamliner. In 2009, regarding multiple production delays, the following problems were reported:

“Out of screws”

“Drink cart didn’t have enough room for Sprite”

“Fired the guy who knew how to make the engines” (note: There is always some bit of truth in satire)

“Seats weren’t that comfortable”

“Lost keys to room that has all the wings”

“Had to start over from scratch when someone noticed that all the stenciling read “Boring 787″”

Safety inspectors were able to see the strings”

In a more recent Onion article titled, American Voices, what do you think (about the Dreamliner), random statements include:

“What a piece of shit.”

Sherryl Parmelee –

“It’s a shame they don’t get that the so-called defects are Boeing’s deeper statement about the fragile nature of dreams and aircraft.”

Clayton Sanchez –
Rug Designer

“Why are they doing this? If they just let Sully fly those planes everything would be fine.”

Carlos Dixon –
Pearl Stringer

To be fair, here is the text of Boeing’s official statement on the current status and FAA investigation of the 787 Dreamliner:

BOEING SEATTLE, Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Boeing (NYSE: BA) welcomes the progress being made in the 787 investigation discussed today by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in Washington, D.C. The regulatory and investigative agencies in the U.S. and Japan have dedicated substantial resources to these investigations, and we appreciate their effort and leadership.

Boeing continues to assist the NTSB and the other government agencies in the U.S. and Japan responsible for investigating two recent 787 incidents. The company has formed teams consisting of hundreds of engineering and technical experts who are working around the clock with the sole focus of resolving the issue and returning the 787 fleet to flight status. We are working this issue tirelessly in cooperation with our customers and the appropriate regulatory and investigative authorities. The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.

In order to ensure the integrity of the process and in adherence to international protocols that govern safety investigations, we are not permitted to comment directly on the ongoing investigations. Boeing is eager to see both investigative groups continue their work and determine the cause of these events, and we support their thorough resolution.
Boeing deeply regrets the impact that recent events have had on the operating schedules of our customers and their passengers.
Marc Birtel
Boeing Commercial Airplanes
+1 425-266-5822

Christian Science Monitor:

Boeing 787 batteries seemed to clear a hurdle this week as US and Japanese officials came up with few answers in their initial probes into the Boeing 787’s battery fires. Some blame the company’s outsourcing strategy and a weak permitting process for the Boeing 787’s woes.


Dreamliner Flew Thanks To Lowered Safety Standards

Air India puts Boeing’s Dreamliner planes up for sale, leaseback

JAL 787 caught fire in Boston just 18 days after delivery from Boeing

The Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787 that caught fire Jan. 7 in Boston had been in the airline’s possession for just 18 days.

More details about the fire and the aircraft are emerging as the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) provides further updates, but finding a cause for the blaze continues to be elusive for investigators.

The Science Behind Dreamliner’s Batteries
Jet’s Power Units Store a Lot of Energy in Small Package; Risks of Fire During Recharging

When I last posted about the 787 Dreamliner, I posed the hypothetical “Would the rich stockholders fly on a Dreamliner today?” Well, now, for the moment any way, the question is moot. Again, my opinion about this is the outsourcing. I believe in the 787, I really do. I see it as a ‘green,’ light and fuel efficient plane with great potential. But, quality control simply cannot hail from so many different sources, factories, and countries, because the regulations all vary, so no, I do not believe that selling work product to the lowest bidder to turn a huge profit for a very few is viable or ethical. We need the jobs to remain here.

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