Boeing 787, lightning, and kneejerk-chicken

Boeing 787.jpg

Fascinating piece by Dominic Gates in the Seattle Times over the weekend, telling the story of how the FAA is having to relax its own rules in order that the 787 can comply with lightning-protection requirements. This is effectively a TW800-kneejerk chicken coming homing to roost.This man appears to be claiming to be the source of the story. He has a past, which doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a point of course.

Butwhat we have is that rare occasion when you write a rule to preventsomething (TW800) ever happening again, and then it turns out thatnobody (apparently) can comply with the rule. Clearly the only thingyou can possibly do is change the rule, but that does give you a slightpresentational difficulty.

Worse still, we are talking about a composite aircraft. Good luck to the spinners handling this one!

Sois the 787 unsafe then? Hardly. This will be the first productionairliner that actually has inert-gas protection in the fuel-tanks – areally remarkable step forward. As Dominic points out, some people saythat’s still not good enough because it seems the FAA plans to allowdefects in the inerting system to be carried for 10 days withoutgrounding the aircraft.

I’m going to suggest, and it’s just me,that when you’re down to the stage of regarding that as unacceptablethen you probably shouldn’t be flying in aircraft. For your own peaceof mind.

(This is not the first 787 certification controversy though.)

Scott Hamilton at Leeham has another view on the lightning question.

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4 Responses to Boeing 787, lightning, and kneejerk-chicken

  1. Addison Schonland February 11, 2009 at 10:20 pm #

    Listen to him tell the story here.

  2. Gerald Eastman February 16, 2009 at 8:15 pm #

    Thanks Kieran, for not dismissing my comments out of hand.

    As you know (but others may not), I am “The Last Inspector.”

    You can read the comments I submitted to the FAA on the proposed policy change on my blog. In my usual style, I offered my candid thoughts on the proposed policy change. The disposition of my comments should be interesting. For some reason, people like me don’t usually comment on such changes.

    My interest has always been to protect public safety from Boeing fraud I witnessed, which I began doing years before Boeing fired me and had me prosecuted.

    Boeing is still one of the most corrupt companies on the planet, and the FAA is just as corrupt if not more so. That is why FAA management overulled the judgement of their technical experts in this matter. While that may be good for the job prospects of FAA management with Boeing and Boeing supported associations and Boeing profitability and 787 schedule concerns, it is not good for anything else, least of all 787 passenger and crew safety.

    To clarify, I was prosecuted for being the source of the first 787 lightning story by Dominic Gates. I had nothing to do with the second story, but I’m glad he followed up on the first story of critical public interest.

    In fact, reading and comparing the two stories, you can easily pick out several lies by Boeing as I noted in my comments on the second story. Unforunately, those Boeing lies are by far as not as rare as they should be. Now, it seems, Boeing telling the truth to the press and the public is the rarity.

    You are free to jump to your own assumptions as to whether this is an important issue or not. However, I prefer to operate more myself on facts and data and not just “it’s all good,” and, “if you think there is a problem do not fly.” While that is the best thing for people to do in the face of the massive fraud negating required levels of quaility, safety, and reliability of Boeing commercial and military aircraft as noted in my website and blog, we do live in the 21st century and people should be able to fly on aircraft that have not had their quality, safety, and reliability intentionally compromised by manufacturer and FAA management greed.

  3. Kieran Daly February 17, 2009 at 10:52 am #

    For the record, the characterisation of Boeing in the comments above is not one I recognise.

  4. JIM HELMS May 13, 2009 at 7:58 pm #

    Unfortunately Gerry appears to be correct.


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