The US National Transportation Safety Board has told a media conference call that it is still trying to understand exactly what happened to cause two serious incidents involving Boeing 787 Dreamliners which have lead to the new design airliner being grounded.
These are the main points as made by Deborah Hersman, the chair of the NTSB:
· Expectation in aviation is never experience a fire on an aircraft. · There were two battery events in a short period causing the groundings. · Significance of these events can’t be understated. · The NTSB has been working since 7 January to understand what happened · Lithium ion batteries had thermal runaway, short circuits and a fire. · Repeats, emphasises, Still trying to find out why.
Which in total means there is no sign of an end to the grounding, nor what steps or changes will have to be taken in order to get the Dreamliners back in service.
The good and bad of this for 787 users is that the battery problems will become fully understand and they will be overcome, but no one knows when.
The implications of this include making significant changes in delivered and partially built and undelivered 787s, and raise the necessity of further design or system changes in the already much delayed 787-9 version of the Dreamliner which is yet to be assembled, checked out and flown.
Ben Sandilands has reported and analysed the mechanical mobility of humanity since late 1960 - the end of the age of great scheduled ocean liners and coastal steamers and the start of the jet age. He’s worked in newspapers, radio and TV in a wide range of roles as a journalist at home and abroad for 56 years, the last 18 freelance.