air safety

Mar 6, 2013

Boeing’s Mr Conner has some figuring out to explain

Did Boeing 787 chief Ray O'Conner commit the offence of paradox in his claims about the Super Box solution to its battery problems? Will he be eaten by a Temporal Reaper from Dr Who?

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

A temporal reaper looking for Mr Conner? Image courtesy Tardis Core.

Boeing’s CEO commercial airplanes Ray Conner certainly has some explaining to do.

In the midst of the evangelical crusade to have the super box solution to the Dreamliner grounding accepted he was widely reported on the quantum of engineering work done as follows :

Mr. Conner didn’t provide specifics regarding the planned modifications. He said Boeing has compiled 200,000 hours of analysis and testing on what might have gone wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.

The 787s were grounded on 16 January. Assuming his figure of 200,000 hours of engineering work on the issues went from that day to 5 March, that is 48 days of instantly dedicated and focused and task managed effort by Boeing engineers for an average of 4167 hours a day.

Assuming they all worked without any days off that is at least 416 engineers with the particular skills relevant to the electrical and battery design of the 787 Dreamliners  working 10 hours not including lunch breaks and so forth.

And that figure would have to be way too low, since it is apparent that the super box solution had been arrived at on 22 February according to US reports. Were these the same engineers who convinced the FAA that the lithium-ion battery failures in the 787s in January were impossible? One hopes not. But whether they are or not, we must be looking at 500 maybe even 600 engineers working 10 hours a day, having snapped into full action on day one, of course.

Furthermore there is a paradox in Mr Conner’s statement, in the bit that says “on what might have gone wrong and how to prevent it from happening again.”  If Boeing doesn’t know what went wrong it cannot logically prevent it happening again.

And as all Dr Who fans know, paradox comes with peril in the form of the temporal reapers who resolve such disruptions to the fabric of time as conflicting sequences of events by abruptly materialising and eating the perpetrators.

One of the reapers is shown at the top of the page, courtesy of the encyclopedic Dr Who site, Tardis Core.

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9 thoughts on “Boeing’s Mr Conner has some figuring out to explain

  1. comet

    It is no surprise Boeing is lying yet again.

    The 787 Dreamliner is an aircraft based on lies. The lies began from the beginning. The lies about its performance specs. The lies about its delivery date. The lies about its progress. The lies to the FAA about safety and fire risk. The lies this week that the Dreamliner will be back in the air “soon”.

    Even the Dreamliner’s world premiere on 07-08-2007 was a lie, as it was stitched together with fasteners from a hardware store. It wasn’t a real aircraft.

    It is immensely saddening that this once great company has now become a company that simply cannot be trusted. You cannot believe a word that comes out of Boeing any more. Should they change the name to Dreamliar ?

  2. ghostwhowalksnz

    Seems as though around 20,000 hrs was a good number to use, but then the PR flacks got involved and an extra 0 was added.
    Maybe some one remembered that was the manhours used for designing the electrical system, so they had to have a bigger number pronto. lets count all the office staff, including the cleaners, after they have a ‘part to play’

  3. Kapo

    From the horse’s mouth, the answer to how many engineers worked on this issue is “…about 200 of their very best..”.

    Check it out Ray Connor himself at

    It’s very apparent from listening to what their boss has to say, that Boeing still doesn’t get it.

    You’ll probably find that 200,000 hours of analysis and testing is just stretching all the hours including X number of computer simulations performed in parallel.

    Though the follow up question should be how do you reconcile and provide a conclusion on 200,000 hours of analysis and testing within the time of the incidents until Feb 22? (even turning a blind eye to the minor matter that no cause has been found yet.)

    … to be really mischievous, maybe asking whether those 200,000 hours include all the analysis and testing done on all batteries replaced on all in service 787 from their entry into commercial operation?

    Unfortunately, many more chapters remain to be written…

  4. keesje

    I’ve noticed earlier in their competitive comparisons the starting point has always been Boeings product is superior and they filled it in from there. It always amazed me how the audience let them get away with it when the opposite was written all over the wall. Maybe that made them feel the untouchables.

  5. ag0044

    I find it interesting that, while Boeing seems to be tying itself in Gordian knots, Airbus seems to be staying as quiet as possible.

    No big roll-out of the A350 on 5 March (although 3 May is still a possibility, of course). A few pictures here and there, but no big fanfares. Apparently, just getting on with the job. The PR people at Airbus must be feeling seriously under-employed.

    I wonder when/if we’ll start to see an influx of orders for the A350?

  6. keesje

    As Ben said a while ago, when your competitor makes all the wrong noises never interrupt them..

    And as we turn a page in the 787 book;

  7. Harry Rogers

    Its almost too despairing to comprehend. I almost feel sympathy for this Ray Conner, he operates in a corporate world environment where lying is not only accepted but seems to be now expected.

    Ben has for quite a while been complaining about Air safety in Australia to the point where he has proven many people lie in this critical area.

    QANTAS fudges figures and Im sure the culture of Virgin will learn but probably not as much as mining companies. Is the truth so unbearable!

    I’m not quite sure that people understand that when the society believes nobody and we dont trust any body viz East Germany we are viewing a society in decline. Read your history to see what follows.

  8. Mark Newton

    One other alternative is that Boeing was able to run 200,000 hours of modifications to prevent uncontrolled battery fires because they actually started a long, long time before January 16th without telling anybody.

    – mark

  9. LongTimeObserver

    “Don’t make me call the flying monkeys!”

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