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Did somebody drop the ball at Boeing?

Randy

Super Moderator
#11
If I remember correctly. Were they not way behind on their delivery schedule?
Sure were, because of QUALITY issues and a couple other things. It's an ambitious program, with ton's of new technology.

Everything complex starts with a burp, stumble, fumble and fart.
 
#13
"Did the employees who work directly for Boeing and members of their supply chain actually perform what the quality documents call for or was the performance riddled with lapses and shortcuts?"
A bit of an inflammatory question in my view. A bit early looking to blame somebody even though we all like to blame the supplier or someone on the other shift.

[snip]
Since in my personal view the key item that drove the FAA to ground the fleet is the Batteries.
I would like to see the investigation address why the issues with the Lithium battery was not seen till just this point in time. No reports during the years of pre type certificate testing or during the 50,000 flight hrs till this point in time.
My point about " lapses and shortcuts." Several years ago, I wrote about a titanium tubing manufacture that got criminally charged because the managers decided to save money on quality inspection by merely duplicating the original inspection report from Lot 1 for all subsequent lots and submitting it with each shipment instead of actually performing inspections. Thousands of feet of tubing were fine, but some weren't, causing problems on military rotary wing aircraft. Were those just farts? Apparently the U.S. government didn't think so. I suspect some similar lapse along Boeing's supply chain by a "lowest bidder." So, in my opinion, not inflammatory, but justifiable concern. Apparently FAA echoes my concern, despite Boeing's claims of safety.
Why now? What is different in the conditions to this point and the test parameters checked to this point in item and system qualification that is causing the batteries to fail?
Over charging by ground crews? Defective battery lot produced by the supplier (if so why did ATP test not find the issue)? Throw you own guess in with lots of questions that I am sure everyone possible is chasing to the ground with 50 180 mil dollar aircraft sitting on the ground.

As in the fuel used to run the engines these batteries store energy at high densities. When any high energy density system storage container or distribution system fails to manage the energy storage or transfer properly bad things will happen.

Bottom line I like Boeing and the FAA to be cautious and follow the proper analysis that we as QA professionals like to harp about and not jump to conclusions or preconceived paths. Keep everything on the table as a possibility and properly check each item out. Till then act on the side of caution and ground the fleet since any ignition source in an aircraft including bic lighters is something to avoid.

Anyone who travels a lot who thinks that the number of issues with the 787 aircraft is out of the ordinary just think back on the number of flights you were scheduled on have been delayed or canceled to a mechanical issue (yea I know we think that the airlines do this to avoid flying a less than full flight). Not a month goes by that I am not subject to one.
Just do what it takes to keep me safe since I am on these flying tubes way to much of the time.
:2cents:
The question of safety regarding the batteries is compounded by the fact it is most likely a design or construction flaw, NOT a ground crew maintenance "error."

Many years ago, I wrote and made presentations on the Challenger disaster
[FONT=verdana, helvetica, arial][SIZE=-1][SIZE=-1]The main cause of the explosion was the failure of the aft joint seal in the right SRB due to the cold weather. A combustion gas leak through the right Solid Rocket Motor aft field joint initiated at or shortly after ignition eventually weakened and/or penetrated the External Tank initiating vehicle structural break-up and loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger during STS Mission 51-L.[/SIZE][/SIZE][/FONT]
I also recall, but can't give an exact citation, that "some" problems with space shuttle ceramic heat shields coming off in flight were traced to workers at the plant making the shields cleaning them with the wrong grade of "scotch pad" leaving a residue which conflicted with the adhesive used to attach heat shields to the skin of the craft.

Part of the cause (not the sole cause) of the Columbia shuttle disaster included missing heat shields.
 

Jim Wynne

Super Moderator
#14
Many years ago, I wrote and made presentations on the Challenger disaster
The main cause of the explosion was the failure of the aft joint seal in the right SRB due to the cold weather. A combustion gas leak through the right Solid Rocket Motor aft field joint initiated at or shortly after ignition eventually weakened and/or penetrated the External Tank initiating vehicle structural break-up and loss of the Space Shuttle Challenger during STS Mission 51-L.
An oversight on your part I'm sure, but it's good to provide a link for material quoted from other sources.
 
#15
An oversight on your part I'm sure, but it's good to provide a link for material quoted from other sources.
You are right, of course. My quote was from my own notes, compiled from various sources, including the Rogers Commission report (a copy of which can be found here) and from the Committee on Science & Technology (part of which can be found here.)

My notes back then (handwritten) were made while reading these reports and others in hard paper copies at the Chicago library since the internet was still a dream in most of our minds. (no "cut and paste" without incurring the wrath of stern librarians;)) I didn't have PowerPoint, either, back then.

Frankly, I wasn't very meticulous in citing sources (government documents have no copyright), since these were not scholarly presentations, more like cautionary tales in inculcating an understanding of the need for "preventive" quality thinking we "enlightened" quality folk were preaching versus "detection" or "fix it later" mentality so prevalent in industry at the time.

There were many eye opening disclosures in those reports. To my recollection (without rereading), one that struck me most was the almost idiotic way NASA folk were making up definitions of things like "safety factor" which were debunked by Richard Feynman, a Nobel Prize winner in physics.
 

kgott

Quite Involved in Discussions
#16
Having dealt with Boeing as a customer on occasion in the past for parts to go into the 777, I recognize that the execution of their quality plan is often at odds with the content and intent of the plan.

Even so, I was more than mildly surprised when the FAA grounded ALL 787 Dreamliners this week.
A year or so ago now an Australian TV channel run a documentary on Boeing and how the fabrication of the joins in the sections of the planes was not done to spec and analysis of plane crashes showed in too many crashes they broke open at the joins in the fuselage.

The doco stated that the matching holes where the sections were bolted together did not match up so they were simply reamed out to make them match and in some cases additional holes were drilled with a portable drill when the holes were supposed to be drilled by machine to very strict tolerances.

Seems they haven't learn't much. Perhaps the industry needs to be audited by groups of independent skilled auditors drawn by a transparent and public ballot.
 

Randy

Super Moderator
#17
A year or so ago now an Australian TV channel run a documentary on Boeing and how the fabrication of the joins in the sections of the planes was not done to spec and analysis of plane crashes showed in too many crashes they broke open at the joins in the fuselage.

The doco stated that the matching holes where the sections were bolted together did not match up so they were simply reamed out to make them match and in some cases additional holes were drilled with a portable drill when the holes were supposed to be drilled by machine to very strict tolerances.

Seems they haven't learn't much. Perhaps the industry needs to be audited by groups of independent skilled auditors drawn by a transparent and public ballot.
You might be on to something, it would actually be better if the auditors now doing the work had actually installed rivets, worked metal and done real hands on stuff instead of the majority having been some kind of quality puke or having worked in a single area or department. I know of very few AS auditors that have worked an airframe up from nothing to it's final acceptance flight or built aircraft structural components from scratch. I'd almost bet my A&P that I have more hands on time (hours) on Bell 204 rotor systems alone than many current aerospace auditors have doing real hands on aviation stuff in their work career. Am I an aerospace auditor? Nope, according to the "requirements" I'm not qualified to audit, but according to the FAA I am qualified to do actual work on them, rotary or fixed wing (or no wings at all), turbine or internal combustion (or unpowered)...and my A&P is just as valid today as it was 20+ years ago and will be tomorrow, none of this X number years within 10 years dribble..............But, I do know a couple folks that audit who also hold an A&P so at least they know the difference between a rivet and a Huck-bolt....I could probably get them on dissemetry of lift though:lol:
 
#18
A year or so ago now an Australian TV channel run a documentary on Boeing and how the fabrication of the joins in the sections of the planes was not done to spec and analysis of plane crashes showed in too many crashes they broke open at the joins in the fuselage.

The doco stated that the matching holes where the sections were bolted together did not match up so they were simply reamed out to make them match and in some cases additional holes were drilled with a portable drill when the holes were supposed to be drilled by machine to very strict tolerances.

Seems they haven't learn't much. Perhaps the industry needs to be audited by groups of independent skilled auditors drawn by a transparent and public ballot.
The concept of "on-site alterations" by assemblers and repair mechanics is a pretty standard one with both commercial and general aviation aircraft. When working with aluminum skins, the procedure is so common that almost every repair shop carries "doublers" (pieces of aircraft grade aluminum used to "double"or reinforce the metal of a bulkhead or fuselage where holes are reamed or additional holes drilled to attach something or make something fit.) That works fine for aluminum and I would expect lots of commercial and general aviation aircraft of any age might have doublers. What works for aluminum, though, probably is NOT good practice for the composites that make up the majority of 787 aircraft. Frankly, it was a practice that hinked me, but dozens of engineers from Boeing to Lockheed to Embraer besides the ones in my own firm continually assured me the practice ameliorated the possibility/probability of cracks in the metal which might originate from such holes. Every one of them, though, had an overriding fear of being the guy who kept an aircraft out of service for one minute longer than necessary - they all used the abbreviation "AOG" (aircraft on ground) at some point during the conversation as the overriding consideration of a "shortcut." These were the engineers licensed by FAA as in-house certifiers of airworthiness.

You might be on to something, it would actually be better if the auditors now doing the work had actually installed rivets, worked metal and done real hands on stuff instead of the majority having been some kind of quality puke or having worked in a single area or department. I know of very few AS auditors that have worked an airframe up from nothing to it's final acceptance flight or built aircraft structural components from scratch. I'd almost bet my A&P that I have more hands on time (hours) on Bell 204 rotor systems alone than many current aerospace auditors have doing real hands on aviation stuff in their work career. Am I an aerospace auditor? Nope, according to the "requirements" I'm not qualified to audit, but according to the FAA I am qualified to do actual work on them, rotary or fixed wing (or no wings at all), turbine or internal combustion (or unpowered)...and my A&P is just as valid today as it was 20+ years ago and will be tomorrow, none of this X number years within 10 years dribble..............But, I do know a couple folks that audit who also hold an A&P so at least they know the difference between a rivet and a Huck-bolt....I could probably get them on dissemetry of lift though:lol:
Even I was aware of "Dissymmetry of lift" even though I never actually spun a wrench on an aircraft. As for huck bolt, Ive seen one on a table, but never paid attention to installation. As I recall, the thread is more like an Acme thread - squared off crests and valleys.
 
B

Boingo-boingo

#19
A year or so ago now an Australian TV channel run a documentary on Boeing and how the fabrication of the joins in the sections of the planes was not done to spec and analysis of plane crashes showed in too many crashes they broke open at the joins in the fuselage.

The doco stated that the matching holes where the sections were bolted together did not match up so they were simply reamed out to make them match and in some cases additional holes were drilled with a portable drill when the holes were supposed to be drilled by machine to very strict tolerances.
Some of us remember:http://elsmar.com/Forums/showpost.php?p=438183&postcount=13
 
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