NTSB Releases Initial Report, Recommendations on Dreamliner Battery Fires

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

January 2013 was a time of great concern for operators of the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner.” On the 7th, an empty 787 operated by Japan Airlines experienced a fire in the main battery pack.  On the 16th, an All Nippon Airways 787 made an emergency landing and evacuated everyone on board on emergency slides after the flight crew responded to a computer warning of smoke inside one of the electrical compartments.  Other incidents pointed to issues in the use and transport of lithium-ion batteries such as those used in the big Boeing. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has directed several recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), derived from the agency’s ongoing investigation of the Japan Airlines incident only, at …

A Fix for Dreamliner Battery Woes?

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation 1 Comment

With Boeing facing financial doldrums because of its ongoing grounding and resulting slump in sales of the 787 Dreamliner, the stakes are high for the company.  That makes today’s Reuters’ report that the manufacturing giant may have found a “way to fix battery problems on its grounded 787 Dreamliner jets” good news for not only Boeing, but for electric aircraft in general.  Readers should read these findings with some caution, though, since another report from Japan gives a different possible cause for the problems.  That said, the two reports might not be mutually exclusive. Many electric light aircraft developers use spacing between cells and some method to circulate cooling air over them.  In Boeing’s two 787 lithium battery packs, eight …

Ken Goodrich, Stacking the Flight Deck for Safety

Dean Sigler Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

As we head toward this year’s Electric Aircraft Symposium, we look back again at last year’s outstanding array of speakers and presentations. Ken Goodrich, a senior research engineer for the Dynamic Systems and Controls Branch at NASA Langley Research Center, for the last several decades has been intent on creating improved human interfaces for airplane flight decks.  His presentation at EAS V last April was based on long-term research (and now available in the CAFE library) and took an approach that challenged the conventional notions of responsibility. What if we were to share responsibility for our safety and that of our passengers with the airplane?  What if we were to give over responsibility entirely to the craft itself?  How do we …