Sunday, June 2, 2013

"Vent" Holes of JAL's 787 Dreamliner Batter Case Were Taped Shut, JAL Blames Boeing's Shoddy Work

Or I would say "Japan special". Venting not working - where have I seen before?

As the result, the air pressure sensor showed abnormal readings, and JAL swapped the plane.

If you recall, the lithium-ion batteries on board JAL and ANA's 787 Dreamliners caught fire while in operation, and after lengthy investigation and grounding of the entire fleet of 787 around the world, the solution was to put the containment vessel around the battery and install a vent. The real cause of meltdown, I mean, battery fire, is still not known, but the prevailing sentiment among industry participants (particularly those numerous Japanese suppliers to Boeing) seems to be, "Who cares?"

From The Telegraph (6/2/2013; emphasis is mine):

Japan Airlines finds fault on modified Dreamliner

More battery-related problems aboard a Boeing Dreamliner forced Japan Airlines (JAL) to use an alternative aircraft on Sunday, just one day after it resumed full service of the troubled 787 fleet.

JAL found a fault in an air pressure sensor that detects overheating in the aircraft's modified battery container, according to Japanese media reports.

The problem was put down to Boeing's faulty maintenance as two small holes on the container - necessary for air ventilation to prevent overheating - were mistakenly sealed when it repaired the battery system, said broadcaster Kyodo, citing JAL.

Although the issue was not believed to pose a safety risk, the Dreamliner in question was replaced with a Boeing 767 for a scheduled flight between Tokyo and Beijing.

JAL and its rival All Nippon Airways (ANA) both blamed the grounding of their Dreamliner fleets for hitting revenues to the tune of $200m, prompting Boeing to print full-page apologies in major Japanese newspapers. Japan is the single-biggest market for Boeing's newest aircraft.

Airlines across the world grounded their Dreamliner fleets earlier this year while Boeing and national regulators investigated the causes of a series of problems aboard the aircraft, including a small fire aboard a JAL passenger jet parked at Boston's Logan airport.

The Telegraph is quoting Kyodo News (6/2/2013), but neither The Telegraph nor Kyodo mentions the "container" and the "holes" weren't in the original design, that the battery did not have a container with two holes.

Someone working for Boeing (or more likely, one of the subcontractors) seems to have forgotten to remove the tapes over the holes before he/she installed the container.

What is surprising to me is that both JAL and ANA don't seem to have done their own inspection to at least make sure the battery system has been "repaired" according to the spec. They relied on Boeing (and/or its subcontractors) to do everything for them perfectly, even though the repair was all done in Japan.

Where have I seen something like this before? (Turnkey nuclear reactors from GE, perhaps?)

On a separate 787 Dreamliner incident from ANA, part of the switchboard was damaged by heat during the test flight in May. The incident happened on May 4. The captain made his decision that it was no big deal, and continued the flight. And true to form, ANA didn't bother informing anyone about the incident until May 16.

After all, ANA didn't bother to report battery problems in 2012 to anyone until after the battery caught fire in January this year.

For JAL, it was only yesterday (June 1) when the stewardesses, pilots, ground crew donned new uniform and gave away "message cards" with candies to passengers to celebrate the re-introduction of Dreamliner 787.

(Photo from Jiji)


Anonymous said...

"Dreamliner"? More like "Nightmare Liner"! Long term radiation effects = brain damage & greed.

Vyse Legendaire said...

The tail is chasing the dog on this one it seems.

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