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Old 01-22-2013, 09:58 AM   #41
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Fine, but would you choose to fly on one for the next several months????
Yes, I would love to!
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:59 AM   #42
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Also... any weight in the design counts again MZFW (Max Zero Fuel Weight). Once it's been deducted, you're never gonna be allow to use that weight for revenue.

Planes aren't like boats. You can't just swap out your batteries for a different type and fly away. You'd be looking at months if not years of design and certification.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:50 AM   #43
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You are looking at this as an in-house design and systems engineer. In this instant (bad?) information age a very deep breath and coming out is required by Boeing. I'm not suggesting your CEO go on Oprah but something akin to that is appearing more likely.

From a non-Boeing business and safety standpoint I hope you in-house guys have a very quick fix other than a "bad batch" of batteries. Your customers are now positioning themselves for some serious money demands with ever increasing political posturing from the Japanese regulators. Now the spurned US unions are getting into it. This can be no fun within Boeing.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:00 AM   #44
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I certainly don't speak for Boeing, but I'm sure the world's best electrical engineers, software engineers and physicist are working on it. I don't think Oprah would be my first choice for fixing this.
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:15 PM   #45
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Greetings,
The plot thickens!!!
Dreamliner battery firm also provides lithium cells to the International Space Station as probe into troubled widens from Japan to the UK | Mail Online
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Old 01-22-2013, 02:50 PM   #46
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60 lbs, wow!

Many drivers will add a thousand+ pounds of fuel when flying into rotten weather with expected airborne holds "for the wife and kiddies".

I'm afraid aviation has moved far beyond what it might have been in your day. Nowadays the amount of fuel carried on any give flight is not "up to the whim of the pilot" but is carefully calculated by the airline's operations folks using weather data, the payload on the flight, etc., etc. etc. There are specific requirements for how much fuel a plane has to have in reserve, and believe me, nobody puts one more drop on over that amount "for the wife and kiddies."

Every aspect of a commercial flight is very carefully controlled and calculated.

One of the complaints operators (and passengers) had about the A340 is that on some routes--- Narita to London is the one I know about specifically--- if the headwinds are forecast to be strong, the airline has to make a choice. They can load enough fuel to make the flight nonstop plus the required reserve, but this means that they have to leave the passenger's checked luggage in Narita to catch another flight, because loading it would mean the plane would have to land in Russia to take on more fuel. And given the choice of leaving behind checked luggage or revenue cargo, guess which one doesn't make the flight?

And there are times when the winds are so strong that they have no choice but to land in Russia for more fuel, which can add several hours to the flight time although at least the passengers get their luggage when they arrive in London.

But all this is carefully calculated and decided upon by operations. It is not a "put another couple hundred gallons on" last minute decision by the flight crew.

Fuel doesn't pay its way onto an airplane so operators carry as little of it on every flight as they possibly can. So it is generally just enough to make the flight given the weather conditions plus the required reserve. Every pound of fuel a flight doesn't carry is a pound of payload that earns revenue for the operator.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:35 PM   #47
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You are looking at this as an in-house design and systems engineer. In this instant (bad?) information age a very deep breath and coming out is required by Boeing.
Tom-- I respectfully submit that in this case, you haven't a clue what you'r'e talking about. Making assumptions as an outsider about what's going on in an incredibly complex industry that you are not part of is natural, but totally irrelevant.

The network of suppliers and subcontractors and the incredibly complex relationship between us, our suppliers, and our customers is so far beyond people outside the companies and the industry itself to comprehend it's laughable.

Of course the battery thing is important. But it has been blown far, far out of proportion by the media, speculation by people like yourself, and basic ignorance.

Compared to things that have occurred on airplane programs since the Wright Brothers, the 787's battery issue is actually pretty minor in terms of the problem itself and fixing it. The A380 had exploding engines and cracking wings. The early 747s could barely get out of their own way their engines were so underpowered and unreliable. The 707 had potentially catastrophic flutter problems that were not discovered until the plane had gone into service.

The only difference between the 787 battery problem and earlier, much more severe and costly problems is the media hype.

We and Airbus have a customer base of about 130 airlines. It's probably a few more than that today with the recent low-cost startups, but nevertheless it is a very, very small customer base. And they are not stupid customers. We aren't selling iPads and refrigerators to an ignorant and gullible mass market here.

Our customers are very much aware of the realities of airplanes, the kind of things that can go wrong with them, and what it takes to fix them, because once they own them they have to do this themselves for the life of the airplane. We help them, of course, but they are not helpless soccer moms complaining about the "funny noises" in their minivans.

In the case of a new airplane program, our customers are involved all the way through concept, design, development, manufacturing, and testing phases. Some more than others, but the point is that this isn't a product that we developed in the back room, produced, put on the shelf, launched a big ad campaign, and said "here you are, come buy it." It would not surprise me to learn that at the point where the battery power for the 787 was being decided upon that there were some customer representatives involved in that decision. It was our customers, for example, who determined that the 777 would have control yokes instead of the sidestick controllers that were originally being planned for the plane.

I'm not trying to imply that our customers bear any of the responsibility for the current battery issue, only that our planes and the decisions about their design are not made in a vacuum with respect to our customers.

Of course our customers are not happy with having one of their tools taken out of action for awhile. But they have become very, very good at dealing with things like this by substituting planes, adjusting schedules, and so forth. The notion that the grounding of 60 planes is throwing the airline industry into chaos is just silly, at least it is to anyone who knows the realities of the industry.

The 787 battery issue is an important problem to get solved and a lot more people than you can even conceive of are working on it 24/7/365. Just as they worked on all the problems--- many of them far more serious than this--- that have cropped up with every other plane that has come before. This applies as much to Airbus as it does to us.

The frustrating thing about these problems is not the problem itself--- the industry will figure it out and fix it just as the industry has been finding and fixing problems from day one. The frustrating thing is having to listen to the incredible ignorance expressed by everyone outside the industry. I'm not going to claim that air transportation is the most misunderstood industry on the planet but if it's not it's running a close second. It's an easy target for speculation and incorrect assumptions like some of those that have been made here simply because most people--- including the media--- don't have a clue how the industry works or even how an airplane works.

I have no idea if our executive levels will give any sort of "explanation" to the public other then the "we have confidence" sort of statements which has already been made. But I will be quite surprised if they do. They never have-- to my knowledge--- in the past because doing this doesn't help solve the actual problem and there are no "See Spot Run" explanations that a largely ignorant audience would even begin to comprehend. So I suspect the course of events will be the same as it always has been--- the problem will get solved, the industry will move on to solving the next one, and that will be that.

The only thing that is important is to correct the problem so our customers can get back to using the planes. The fact that you even speculate that we are looking for a "quick fix" shows how little you-- and pretty much everyone else--- knows about this industry. That's not meant to be an insult, just an illustration. If I were to be speculating about the insurance industry or the shipping industry or Rick B's yachting industry--- things I know nothing about other than what I read or hear about in the media--- whatever I said would most likely be just as ignorant and wrong.
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:56 PM   #48
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Marin, in theory, you are correct. BUT, as a 737 captain, I add fuel regularly. Do I do it on a whim?...no. I do it if it makes sense. I do NOT like landing with min fuel(planned) on long flights. There is a lot that can happen on a long flight that can cost you fuel. Now I do call the dispatcher and we do discuss it and have to agree on it. But they ALWAYS are in agreement with me unless we are up against a weight limitation. And that limitation is usually a landing weight limitation on the 737-700. IAH-BOG is a perfect example. And if we don't agree, the airplane ain't going anywhere! And in fairness to the company, if I do something(add fuel in this case) that costs us revenue(ie bumping pax/bags/cargo for fuel), you bet I will have some 'splaining to do! But rarely does that happen and the company has always been VERY good about respecting the authority of the Captain.

We have a new program(new to CAL and I think it came from UAL) called ACF....and damned if I forgot what the "A" stood for but the others is Contingency Fuel. My biggest problem with this program is that it is inaccurate. The newer 737s have this retarded issue that Boeing denies where fuel mysteriously "goes away" during a portion of the flight and some of it is regained...but not all. It is strictly a computational deal in the flight management computer but it is irritating to look down and you are already landing with 1000lbs less than the flight plan said. You get about 500-700 of that back but then you mix in some headwinds or maybe a lower altitude due to ATC or turbulence and things start to get "interesting". Not to mention that it is not uncommon to use "paper alternates". A paper alternate would be using Elmendorf as an alternate to Anchorage(or BFI for SEA). Elmendorf is a whopping 5nm from ANC as the crow flies. Do you think if the weather at ANC tanks that it will tank at Elmendorf??? Quite likely...but perfectly legal as long as the forecast is legal. Take Elmedorf out of the equation and we are talking Fairbanks and some other place that escapes....neither of them close. In this case if you were at min fuel and unable to use Elmendorf, you will make FAI but you will have to have the seat cushion surgically removed from your rectum when you get there. Something interesting to note about the ACF program is that the cost of a divert is factored into it(ie versus the cost of carrying extra fuel). They have it down to a probability of the divert. It is hard for us pilots to swallow because we are mission oriented and we want to complete that mission...and not with a probability attached to it!!!!

One of the strategies we use for long haul flights like the one in your example(although we don't fly that particular route), is a "planned redispatch". FF might be familiar. Basically, you take off without enough "legal fuel" for the mission when all of the alternates are figured in(and ETOPS add fuel). You have a planned re-dispatch point. If you have a certain amount of fuel at that point, then they "redispatch" you to the planned destination. Usually, it is due to the pilots maybe "making fuel" by flying the airplane more efficiently and the big enabler is being able to drop an alternate once you get to your redispatch point because the forecast improved or you just no longer need it. Dropping an alternate could score you as much as 10,000 of fuel. Also, there is "ETOPS add fuel" which can be disregarded once the ETOPS segment is complete. Obviously, if you don't have the fuel at the redispatch point, you divert to the "legal destination"...which is something other than the marketed destination.

So in reality, FF is correct.

Coincidently, in our recent collective bargaining agreement, we are paid an extra hour of add pay if we divert!!! maybe it is something to make us feel good about flying around with minimum fuel????...hahaha....who knows but it is....uuuuhhhhh....an interesting addition to the contract.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:07 PM   #49
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Interesting, John, thanks for the explanation. Policies will probably vary from airline to airline. Most of my direct experience with airlines has been with overseas, longer-haul carriers like Emirates, BA, Qantas, Air France, Air China, China Southern, Air New Zealand, THY, etc. Some with regional carriers like Norwegian, Westjet, Copa, Gol, etc.

What I said in my previous post I gleaned from them over the years. But airlines are quick to adopt practices that work from other airlines so the strategies you outlined above may be more widespread than we've encountered to date.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:34 PM   #50
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Interesting, John, thanks for the explanation. Policies will probably vary from airline to airline. Most of my direct experience with airlines has been with overseas, longer-haul carriers like Emirates, BA, Qantas, Air France, Air China, China Southern, Air New Zealand, THY, etc. Some with regional carriers like Norwegian, Westjet, Copa, Gol, etc.

What I said in my previous post I gleaned from them over the years. But airlines are quick to adopt practices that work from other airlines so the strategies you outlined above may be more widespread than we've encountered to date.
Like I said, in theory, they want it exactly like you explained....down to the nutz!!! But pilots are realists....and very skeptical as you know. Anyway, the ACF program is really interesting....in theory. They attach different levels of probability on our release. You might see something like ACF90....which means that 90% of the time, the flight makes it to the destination with the ACF fuel without diverting!!!! It doesn't take a genius to realize that 10% of the time, it does not. And like I said, pilots have a hard time beginning a mission with only a 90% probability of completion!!!!....so we add fuel!!!!...:banghe ad:

Also, you may want to reread my above post...I did a lot of editing.

Some PhD level bean counting shit going on here!!!!
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Old 01-22-2013, 06:36 PM   #51
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I just inherited a project here about a new joint effort to address the issue of runway excursions which after CFIT is the greatest cause of accidents. I am meeting Thursday with the customers in our Flight Department who are honchoing this project but they have told me that one one of the causes of runway excursions is the reluctance to go around. Perhaps the pay thing you mentioned above is a way to help remove that reluctance.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:05 PM   #52
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Tom-- I respectfully submit that in this case, you haven't a clue what you'r'e talking about. .
You couldn't be more correct. But had Boeing and its suppliers not guessed wrong (so far anyway) on this battery and design application, we wouldn't be having this discussion. Boeing is a public company subject to investor scrutiny and criticism. Further, voluntarily supplying aircraft into a world wide regulated business subjects Boeing to comment and criticism from the clueless to the clued.

Two years ago I was equally clueless as you remember in my comments on the 787. My ignorance as to 787 Li problems and resolutions continues, I daresay shared by some very unhappy Board members.
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Old 01-22-2013, 07:18 PM   #53
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What you say is correct. Fortunately the company, its employees, its board of directors, and its customers learned decades ago to pay no attention whatosoever to the clueless.
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Old 01-22-2013, 08:02 PM   #54
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But had Boeing and its suppliers not guessed wrong (so far anyway) on this battery and design application, we wouldn't be having this discussion.
To be clear, no one "guessed" at anything regarding the decision to use this technology (or any other). Boeing leads the aviation world in innovation, and with that comes risk. Nothing was left to guesswork.

True innovation requires three components:

What is desired by the customer?
What is possible in technology?
What is viable in the market?

Answer those questions correctly and you win. You must also remember that much of the technology that was in the original design was not even invented at the time the project was given the go-ahead.

LithiumIon technology is sound, it's innovative and well proven, but it's not without risk. That risk got away from us at some point and everyone is anxiously awaiting a definitive answer on what may have led up to the runaway(s).
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Old 01-22-2013, 09:56 PM   #55
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Marin;I just inherited a project here about a new joint effort to address the issue of runway excursions which after CFIT is the greatest cause of accidents.

Fascinating thread, for the benifit of the great unwashed, what is CFIT
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:11 PM   #56
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Marin;I just inherited a project here about a new joint effort to address the issue of runway excursions which after CFIT is the greatest cause of accidents.

Fascinating thread, for the benifit of the great unwashed, what is CFIT
Controlled Flight Into Terrain....IOW....running a perfectly good aircraft into terrain on accident.
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Old 01-22-2013, 10:24 PM   #57
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I just inherited a project here about a new joint effort to address the issue of runway excursions which after CFIT is the greatest cause of accidents. I am meeting Thursday with the customers in our Flight Department who are honchoing this project but they have told me that one one of the causes of runway excursions is the reluctance to go around. Perhaps the pay thing you mentioned above is a way to help remove that reluctance.
Reluctance to go around is a factor of the "expectation" to land. You expect to land by golly. And that expectation is pretty powerful. Boaters should be VERY familiar with this "urge" as it plays a big part in forcing a bad "landing" in a docking situation. Also, the some of the recent runway excursions have involved SWA. It is a cultural issue with them. Their hurry hurry hurry mentality(along with that expectation to land). Not to mention that they do not get paid by the hour...so the hassle of diverting does not gain them 1 penny.... I realize that should not be an issue but it might somewhere in the back of their minds. It just might add a bit more pressure to that "mission completion" mentality.

Coincidently, I just read a company memo reminding us how important it is to use reverse thrust properly on slippery runways......I have not read anything but many times a memo like that is because of an incident. I hope that is not the case.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:09 AM   #58
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I just inherited a project here about a new joint effort to address the issue of runway excursions which after CFIT is the greatest cause of accidents.
Are you talking runway excursions... or incursions?

Both are big problems, but I thought incursions were a bigger problem.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:40 AM   #59
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No, according to the ICAO chart I'm looking at excursions are a much bigger problem than incursions. Actually the number one cause of fatal accidents is LOC-I (loss of control- icing). Number two is CFIT. Number three is runway excursions-landing. Runway excursions- takeoff is not far behind. But runway incursions are way down the chart.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:43 AM   #60
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The problem with the Columbia was it was sent aloft in conditions that it was not tested for.
With ice hanging out the seams a huge O ring was supposed to seal.

OOOPS!

The Hubbel was launched because there was no funds to test the mirror cold , so up it went,, flawed.

OOOPS!

Since the fluid in a LI battery is flammable ,and can vent , I wonder how much time a motorcycle battery maker spent putting the battset thru altitude changes?


OOOPS?

The LI batterys may be not yet ready for aircraft use for a few more years , hope the Boeing Volt doesn't have to wait that long because of the Watermelon lobby .
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