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Airline Safety

“It’s not the batteries” is not good news for Boeing

This is supposed to be good news for Boeing? It simply means now there are at least two unknown root causes of fires on the 787, not just one.

Image of rear half of the Ethiopian 787 that caught fire at Heathrow

Note the burned out top of the fuselage just ahead of the vertical stabilizer. Photo from the linked New York Times article, originally from Reuters TV.

Remember, they didn’t “fix” the battery problem, because to this day they still don’t know what caused that either. They only enclosed and vented it, so that when if that catches fire, flames go shooting out a new vent on the underbelly. Yes, they threw some software and physical changes at it, to see if any might help, but without any proof of what actually failed in the first place.

In other words, they just spitballed it, hoping something might stick.

Now the same for a new cause of fire?


The latest reports since this article all clamor that it isn’t the battery. As if that were good news. Although Boeing didn’t find and fix the battery root cause, at least they did risk mitigation. If there were still battery problems (and there may well be, even if it turns out not in this case), at least that’s a problem they know something about, it’s the same general failure case. But if it doesn’t have anything to do with it, then now there are more reasons these aircraft just catch fire, sometimes after hours on the ground post-flight.

This is not a good thing.

Somebody’s got to channel Ed Koch going all “Grumman Bus” on these Fireliner lemons. (Search for NYC Grumman Buses).

About Mark Mercer

Expat aging sometime-ski-bum former corporate tool. Currently living in the beachside aging resort town of Atlántida in Uruguay. Sometimes skiing and teaching in Breckenridge, Colorado, USA. Location and velocity cannot be simultaneously observed.


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