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YOWVIEWER
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Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:02 pm

I searched through the database and can't find anything on this topic I stumbled on during the night. Business Insider report about Boeing removing a layer of lightning strike protection on their Dreamliners without reviewing the safety, or having the FAA in full agreement. Very interested if those "in the know" regarding carbon fibre and lightning can comment on this, and maybe advise if this type of change is safe ? Maybe they have enough historical hits by now to know its safe to do ?

Thanks

https://www.businessinsider.com/boeing- ... rt-2019-12
 
Leej
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:18 pm

You beat me to it! Read that too on my news feed this morning.
I think regardless of the historical data they may have ( to make changes and improvements), it appears at least that they (Boeing) went ahead with the changes on 40 787's before the FAA rubber stamped the changes - even though they were turned down and it was only approved on appeal?
Who's running the shop at the moment?
 
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Revelation
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:24 pm

I brought up the Seattle Times report ( https://www.seattletimes.com/business/b ... -measures/ ) in our "safety culture" thread ( Ref: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1421869&p=21849209#p21849209 ).

I don't think anyone of us here can "advise if this type of change is safe", at best an opinion can be offered, but the FAA's technical people did express concerns.

To me the most troubling thing is that FAA's technical people were not supported by their management and the vendor's point of view was supported instead, and the given reason was not being able to meet the vendor's delivery schedule.

It's also troubling that FAA's technical people felt the vendor was miscalculating risk factors, something we've seen far too often in recent history.
Last edited by Revelation on Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
YOWVIEWER
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:38 pm

Agreed..... lightning brought down airliners many years ago, and the protection is there for a reason. Certainly not an area I would want to pick to reduce protection.
 
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Francoflier
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 2:53 pm

If we needed more proof that Boeing is doing as they please and get their lobbyists to make the government rubberstamp everything they want...

I'd be very curious to know how that appeal went exactly.
 
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Revelation
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:00 pm

Francoflier wrote:
If we needed more proof that Boeing is doing as they please and get their lobbyists to make the government rubberstamp everything they want...

I'd be very curious to know how that appeal went exactly.

It seems the matter is not settled:

As a result, eight years after the FAA gave its original approval to the 787, and months after approving the removal of the foil from the wing, it finally asked Boeing to conduct a formal re-assessment of the risk of a fuel tank explosion in the 787 wing.
...
Boeing is currently conducting the new risk assessment ordered by the FAA in October.

Ref: ST link above.

It'll be interesting to see how that assessment gets evaluated by FAA now that the spotlight is on them.
 
YOWVIEWER
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:16 pm

That was a great read in Seattle Times, thanks for that. Explains well the foil layer and subsequent removal. Curious how this compares to other carbon fibre wings manufactured for other aircraft and how they compare for lightning protection ? I assume Boeing's take on this is that they were over-protecting with that particular design, and that millions of flight hours have proven its not required. This should be interesting as to how the FAA come out of this one. I, for one, would prefer the extra protection. What's a guaranteed safe diversion distance around a supercell ?
 
cschleic
Posts: 1929
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 3:32 pm

Since Boeing's position is based on the likelihood that various parts of the plane will be struck by lightning, it would be interesting to see statistics on other types of planes regardless of construction material.
 
Agrajag
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 10:40 pm

What happens if the Nitrogen system isnt working?
 
justloveplanes
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sat Dec 14, 2019 11:53 pm

Agrajag wrote:
What happens if the Nitrogen system isnt working?


Thats the biggest risk now per the article. The N2 suppression system needs to be redundant (who knows now) and treated like an engine out on failure. If the primary or backup fails, back to base immediately.

The added foil protection IMHO was the biggest surprise and hit to the Dreamliner during initial production. My recollection is the A/C was originally designed without the foil anywhere. The addition is part of the reason the plane was originally overweight. Maybe the removal on the 78x accounts for some of that planes unexpected range.

The hope is, Boeing was right with their original approach (no foil), and that the foil added in final design proved to be an overabundance of caution. Noteworthy is they are keeping the foil on the fueselage.

777x has the metal fuselage, so thinking the preferred strike path on that plane will be less still for the carbon fiber wings (I hope)!
 
RawSushi
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Re: Boeing Dreamliner Removal of Lightning Protection

Sun Dec 15, 2019 7:42 am

"Cost-cutting" was cited as a reason. More of Mullenberg's relentless cost-cutting campaign coming back to bite them now? Who knows what other skeletons they have in that closet?

I'm wondering, if indeed the investigation found this improper and that these layers of protection should not have been removed, what remedial measures are possible? Can these be easily added back to already completed wings and aircraft already flying?

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