Japanese pilots tell Boeing to disclose more on Dreamliner cures

Kyodo

The Air Line Pilots’ Association of Japan on Monday urged Boeing Co. to disclose more information on how the U.S. aviation giant dealt with the 787 Dreamliner’s battery problems.

The association said that it has no access to detailed information on the remedies nor on the progress being made with the investigation into what caused the combustion problems. It said that the safety of the advanced aircraft should be examined more carefully.

“Frankly, we do not have enough information that enables us to declare whether we are for or against the resumption” of 787 flights, Hiroaki Tateno, president of the association and a captain at Japan Airlines Co., said at a press conference in Tokyo.

The association also expressed concern that Boeing may be trying to play down the importance of the batteries, made by Japan’s GS Yuasa, by emphasizing that they play a limited role and are not flight-critical.

Boeing’s approach seems to focus on containment. It said its comprehensive solution to the lithium-ion battery problem has eliminated all fire risks and will prevent a fire from spreading to any of the other cells in the battery should one occur. But no one has declared what caused the combustion incidents in the first place.

The association is “concerned about whether there will really be no adverse impact on other systems of the airplane if the battery goes wrong,” said Koichi Takamoto, the technical adviser of the group.

Given Boeing’s claims about the minor role played by the batteries, the association called on the plane maker to conduct test flights without the lithium-ion batteries to prove its solutions are effective.

Regulators worldwide grounded the 787 after one operated by All Nippon Airways Co. made an emergency landing Jan. 16 at an airport in Shikoku because the battery produced smoke.

On April 26, U.S. and Japanese aviation authorities gave the green light to resume 787 flights after Boeing modified the battery system. ANA completed its first commercial flight using the jet on Sunday, while Ethiopian Airlines and United Airlines have also resumed Dreamliner operations.

  • Joao Ponces

    Precisely! The battery problem was a CONSEQUENCE of something very wrong!
    What was it? Has it been fixed? How?
    Boeing is famous for keeping faults at secret, very often costing many lives, as the JAL famous 747 crash proves! and the many 737 Tail ones…
    Aviation should be clear and transparent, to ensure reliability and the safety of passengers!
    I am sure FAA would not ground all the B-787 fleet for an unprecedented amount of time, without a VERY serious reason!
    Surely not only dealt by minor, cosmetic fixes…
    TELL THE TRUTH!!! Or we, the passengers, will choose!

    • pmenadue

      Joao,

      Actually you’re wrong about the JAL 747 crash. The subsequent crash investigation uncovered the improper tail cone fix – and this was admitted by Boeing, not covered up or secret.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_Airlines_Flight_123

      If you’re going to be melodramatic at least have the facts to back it up.

      • Joao Ponces

        Melodramatic? Ok, here it goes: For how many years the JAL accident was attributed to JAL’s management? How many years did it take for Boeing to admit its guilt?
        Now, what about the problems on the 737 tail that cause over 3 accidents and 100′s of lives?
        And the problems on the locks of the cargo doors on the early B747?
        It goes on and on….
        Now, the 787, it looks a fantastic airplane, in theory! The idea of replacing the Bleed Air from the engines, for saving fuel and having better air quality was good.
        But the problem is it OVER stresses the electrical systems, to an extent it seems too much! Only the final report on the incidents, and the Future will tell if, in fact, the 787 is not flawed in design…
        I am very disappointed, as the plane seemed promising!
        And also, because many many passengers reports I red do NOT say it is a much better airplane… That, I don’t know, I’ve never flown it!
        The fact that a machine is more economical, does not make it a better one!
        Talk to the Pilots that still miss the Lockheed L-1011 Tristar, as the BEST airplane they flew…

      • pmenadue

        Most planes have flaws – the A330 has had problems with tails, the 737 with rudder actuators, etc. Unfortunate reality, but aircraft safety continues to be better. Look at the 777 – how many fatalities there?

        And by the way, with JAL flight 123 – Boeing found the issue two weeks after the crash if I recall – not years.
        As for the 787 – do some searching, many many passengers are extremely impressed.
        As for flawed design around “All Electric” – time will tell.

  • riman09

    Sounds like pilots with an axe to grind. Where they informed when thus aircraft was certified for flying?