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air safety

Feb 20, 2013

Dreamliner: Signs of stress in 2nd ANA battery?

At this very frustrating stage of the 787 Dreamliner grounding every new clue will get jumped on, and this morning it is news that there were 'bumps' or deformations apparent in the sec

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At this very frustrating stage of the 787 Dreamliner grounding every new clue will get jumped on, and this morning it is news that there were ‘bumps’ or deformations apparent in the second and rear located heavy duty lithium-ion battery in the ANA flight that made an emergency landing in Japan in January after the first forward located battery under the cockpit malfunctioned.

This report plays a straight bat in Aviation Week.

This second battery is in the same location as the one that burned for at least 99 minutes on the ground at Boston Airport in a JAL 787 after it had arrived from Tokyo.

The temptation will be for observers to think that if both batteries in the ANA jet were affected on the same flight, one catastrophically and the other so subtly that it has only just been noticed, there may be a common initiator or other factor at play in the overall electrical system.

This is not a happy speculation, and it may well be wrong, like so many that have already been raised.  The positive side of the situation is that it could be a strong clue as to the full cause of the incident being understood, and thus solved.  There has to be some good news in this even if the immediate implications are unwelcome.

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

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.

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3 comments

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3 thoughts on “Dreamliner: Signs of stress in 2nd ANA battery?

  1. Alex

    Yes, a very straight bat. No hype, factual, balanced and dismissive of erroneous speculation, both past efforts and those that this news might generate. A good read!

  2. ggm

    Whats the marginal cost in lost-load for Boeing to re-engineer on different battery tech *now*. -an FCC certified battery combo, which can handle their required powerload for non-hydraulic actuators.

    How does this compare to the over-weight they got on the 787 re-engineering the dream? How does it compare to ge-nex engine performance improvements to come? How does it relate to airline yield calculations for the type of flight the current holders carry 787 pax on?

    Its clear that Boeing *want* the newer battery tech. Do they actually critically *need* it to even fly right now, in cash-positive terms?

  3. Uwe

    With the battery replacements having been deemed not safety relevant post mortem analysis/documentatation will not have been done / not stored / destroyed.
    With leaks stating that single cells oftentimes shew significant deviations (excessively low voltage ) my guess would be that a subgroup of cells would have shown external deterioration ( blow ups happen ;-).
    The whole battery thing has been shoved under the rug from before EIS.
    I could understand keeping this away from prying eyes.
    But why in gods name did they not kick of some careful investigations?
    More strange and potemkineske activities:

    United seems to have had 3+1 Dreamliners readied for their inaugural long range flight ( needing one despatchible airframe ).

    Delivered 787 on average seem to have flown ~4.5 hours per day.
    ( backtrack from advertised flighthours and checked with given numbers on battery cell “experience” hours )

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