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-   -   ET / Ethiopian 787 "Dreamliner" catches fire at LHR [12 Jul 2013] (https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/other-middle-eastern-african-airlines/1484336-et-ethiopian-787-dreamliner-catches-fire-lhr-12-jul-2013-a.html)

Dan1113 Jul 12, 13 10:20 am

ET / Ethiopian 787 "Dreamliner" catches fire at LHR [12 Jul 2013]
 
Reports of this just now - plane at gate, both runways shut.

Snacky Jul 12, 13 10:28 am

I can confirm. It is an Ethiopian B787, standing a little away from Terminal 3 at LHR. When we taxed past the aircraft they were spraying water on it, but there were no visible signs of a fire. Probably put out already. I wonder what caused it. Boeing sure won't be happy about this ...

Snacky

zigzagg900 Jul 12, 13 10:36 am

ET / Ethiopian 787 fire at Heathrow [12 Jul 2013]
 
Developing story:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23294760

Dan1113 Jul 12, 13 10:48 am

Got this one from twitter:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BO_OULGCcAAEgfE.jpg:large

LAChargers Jul 12, 13 10:52 am

Where are the batteries on these planes?

Cassie55 Jul 12, 13 10:56 am

The aircraft is at a remote stand so why close the whole airport?

Ambraciot Jul 12, 13 10:56 am


Originally Posted by LAChargers (Post 21085476)
Where are the batteries on these planes?

...and where does the new battery ventilation pipe come out? I'm guessing it's the scorched area.

kkjay77 Jul 12, 13 10:58 am


Originally Posted by Cassie55 (Post 21085504)
The aircraft is at a remote stand so why close the whole airport?

Because emergency response crew is attending the 787.
What would happen if, god forbid, another aircraft crash?

us2 Jul 12, 13 11:03 am

Breaking: Ethiopian 787 catches fire at Heathrow (7/12/13)
 
Few details on this item just picked up via the NY Times/Reuters.

Article quoted below in full due to its brevity:

"LONDON A Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by Ethiopian Airlines caught fire at Britain's Heathrow airport on Friday, forcing the closure of both of its runways.

Shares in Boeing fell over 5 percent in New York. Television footage showed the Dreamliner surrounded by foam used by firefighters.

A Heathrow spokeswoman said fire services were attending the incident. There were no passengers aboard the plane.

The lightweight new plane suffered a series of battery fires earlier this year, causing it to be grounded until Boeing came up with a fix.

On April 27, Ethiopian Airlines was the first carrier to resume flights with Dreamliner passenger jets, three months after they were grounded over the battery meltdowns.

(Reporting by Rhys Jones; editing by Guy Faulconbridge Stephen Addison and Kate Holton)"

http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2013/...w.html?hp&_r=0

Obviously too early to comment on whether this was/is due to previous battery issues with the aircraft.

transportprof Jul 12, 13 11:05 am

It's very fortunate that this fire occurred on the ground.

Anyone know how long the plane was parket at the gate, and whether it was occupied?

Dan1113 Jul 12, 13 11:08 am

News reports says nobody was on board at that particular time, so unlikely for any injuries or anything of the sort at least!

MitchWainwright Jul 12, 13 11:10 am

Scorch marks
 
It's hard to tell from the photo but are those scorch marks just in front of the vertical stabilizer?

transportprof Jul 12, 13 11:11 am


Originally Posted by Dan1113 (Post 21085589)
News reports says nobody was on board at that particular time, so unlikely for any injuries or anything of the sort at least!

More good news!
Aviation Herald reports that the plane arrived LHR @06:30

Is there a pattern with (at least some) of the fires occurring after the plane lands, docks, and is powered down? I believe that is the same sequence as occurred with the JAL fire at Boston.

Emma65 Jul 12, 13 11:15 am

Let's see how long it takes before the 787 is grounded again.

Cassie55 Jul 12, 13 11:20 am


Originally Posted by kkjay77 (Post 21085518)
Because emergency response crew is attending the 787.
What would happen if, god forbid, another aircraft crash?

Of course, I'm not thinking.

SeriouslyLost Jul 12, 13 11:23 am

Time to short Boeing. :D

For more on it (which doesn't really add anyting new)

itsmeitisss Jul 12, 13 12:12 pm

Breaking: Ethiopian 787 catches fire at Heathrow (7/12/13)
 
In addition, a Dreamliner operated by UK tour operator from Manchester UK to Sanford Florida has turned back due to technical problems. Dreamliner could be said to be nightmareliner

SAWorldVoyager Jul 12, 13 12:12 pm

The batteries have all been switched, so that is not the case this time. In any case the batteries for the APU are stored just behind the wings in the belly, nowhere near the burn marks.

tlott Jul 12, 13 12:20 pm

The fire damage looks to be pretty far away from the batteries. The main battery is near the nose, and the APU battery is near the rear of the wing. Galley or some other electrical problem?? Rear crew rest is up there too.

Regardless of the cause, very fortunate this happened on the ground.

USA_flyer Jul 12, 13 12:20 pm

More bad news for Boeing.

tyberius Jul 12, 13 12:23 pm

"But the computer said it can't happen."

This is the generation that is growing up with computers.

I was just cringing waiting for this to happen when they couldn't figure out the cause of the first fires.

I know the problem from trying to fix what we call heisenbugs in software. Some of the stuff is a real pain to trace so you start kind of working with what you can reasonably work with and you hope it just goes away. Of course it never goes away until you really, truly, find out what's going on.

I hope this was just something stupid on this airplane and not the same problem again. If it's a repeat, these will not fly again until the cause is found and that could be a year.

obscure2k Jul 12, 13 12:30 pm

Moving this to Travel News forum where it will likely be merged with existing thread
Obscure2k
Travelbuzz Moderator

jsmeeker Jul 12, 13 12:35 pm

There were no passengers on the plane. Did it catch fire as the plane was undergoing maintenance? Being readied for it's next flight?

cblaisd Jul 12, 13 12:54 pm

Per http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/trave...elsewhere.html will move to the appropriate airline forum and leave a 30day redirect in Travel News

Cblaisd
Moderator, Travel News

pinniped Jul 12, 13 12:54 pm


Originally Posted by jsmeeker (Post 21086144)
Being readied for it's next flight?

Likely just being readied for its next flight. It was scheduled to return to Ethiopia today.

JDiver Jul 12, 13 1:10 pm

The 787 was parked in the remote area near two QF A380s, and had been there over 12 hours. The fuselage crown immediately forward of the empennage / tail section shows perhaps a meter or more of damage along the top centerline (the BBC article here has video).

A Thompson 787 just aborted a transatlanic flight and has returned to MAN - no connection we know of (Thompson announced the return was precautionary), but things are not looking up for Boeing today.

N830MH Jul 12, 13 5:32 pm

http://i955.photobucket.com/albums/a...psa31f233e.jpg

http://pbs.twimg.com/media/BPAOqdCCEAAf2Yy.jpg:large

DaviddesJ Jul 12, 13 6:02 pm


Originally Posted by kkjay77 (Post 21085518)
Because emergency response crew is attending the 787.
What would happen if, god forbid, another aircraft crash?

In that case, the crews, being already assembled and in their vehicles, could probably respond to the crash faster than they otherwise could, leaving this situation which is not life-threatening to anyone.

kkjay77 Jul 12, 13 8:56 pm


Originally Posted by DaviddesJ (Post 21087557)
In that case, the crews, being already assembled and in their vehicles, could probably respond to the crash faster than they otherwise could, leaving this situation which is not life-threatening to anyone.

Don't know how much form they've used, but I believe they must refill the tank before responding to another incident?

stablemate77 Jul 12, 13 9:29 pm

sounds like a lemon here
 
unfortunate of this as sounds like vary good plane....just need to work out a few problems....try to find out out why starts fires....glad usa cleared it to fly again.....at moment not really my goal to get on one of these....sorry:(

N830MH Jul 12, 13 10:58 pm


Originally Posted by stablemate77 (Post 21088348)
unfortunate of this as sounds like vary good plane....just need to work out a few problems....try to find out out why starts fires....glad usa cleared it to fly again.....at moment not really my goal to get on one of these....sorry:(

Yeah, they have to being fixed. They didn't do right. No one who responsible for this. They will have repair the entire aircraft in a few weeks or so. The plane will taken out of service.

Firewind Jul 13, 13 6:24 am

Awfully quiet for many hours. Do they not know point of origin, if not cause? Or is the UK taking a different tack than the U.S. NTSB w/r/t informing the public of what they know early and often?

*****************
The BBC's current update, which doesn't appear to add much...

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23298349

*****************
Reuters...

http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/0...96B0NS20130713

Maybe this is something...


Quoting Mark Mangooni, Ethiopian Airlines' senior manager in Britain, the Financial Times reported that airline staff had discovered a problem with the aircraft's air conditioning system during a routine inspection and had seen sparks but no flames.

The report did not make clear when this had happened. Reuters could not reach Mangooni for comment.

Braniff Jul 13, 13 8:06 am


Originally Posted by tlott (Post 21086035)
The fire damage looks to be pretty far away from the batteries. The main battery is near the nose, and the APU battery is near the rear of the wing. Galley or some other electrical problem?? Rear crew rest is up there too.

Regardless of the cause, very fortunate this happened on the ground.


Yes, this is nowhere near the batteries as far as I know.

Firewind Jul 13, 13 8:35 am

Would someone please explain why it is a relief if/that it's not the batteries? If it is a second flaw, why would that be better? And I know I'm in the dense minority who just don't get it because the huge swing (down then back up) in Boeing share value was attributed specifically to this by expert analysts.

Cards on the table, I'm tentatively thinking that the burn reflects a point of origin within the ceiling, that the Ethiopian official's initial comment sounds authentic, and that a "galley fire" capable of burning through the skin would have communicated further into the cabin as well.

some dude Jul 13, 13 9:45 am


Originally Posted by Firewind (Post 21089793)
Would someone please explain why it is a relief if/that it's not the batteries? If it is a second flaw, why would that be better? And I know I'm in the dense minority who just don't get it because the huge swing (down then back up) in Boeing share value was attributed specifically to this by expert analysts.

Cards on the table, I'm tentatively thinking that the burn reflects a point of origin within the ceiling, that the Ethiopian official's initial comment sounds authentic, and that a "galley fire" capable of burning through the skin would have communicated further into the cabin as well.

IMHO the three most major risks in the 787 design are:
1) Lithium Ion batteries may overheat/explode, especially if short circuited or overcharged. Thermal expansion has been a problem for laptop and cell phone lithium ion batteries for years, and there is no reason to believe it will be any better for airplanes.
2) Aluminum wiring instead of Copper wiring -- saves weight, but aluminum wires need to be handled in a very different way. With copper, you can just screw them in as tight as possible, and it will hold. With aluminum, if it's too tight, the aluminum becomes brittle and may snap, not tight enough, and it may just come loose.
3) Composite material will burn much much easier than aluminum fuselage.

If we can remove the likelihood of "1", we still have 2 and 3. "2" is another major problem that Boeing may have to refit all planes with improved connections for power cabling (major renovation).

If it turns out to be a lit cigarette or a left-on coffee maker, the only issue that remains is "3", which the powers that be seem to believe is a reasonable risk, and therefore makes this an isolated incident. There is still the risk of "2", however, which could be an even bigger challenge than the lithium ion batteries to fix.

Dan1113 Jul 13, 13 3:35 pm

Interesting. Regarding number three, do you reckon then that we would have seen a much bigger disaster in SFO had the plane been a 787 instead of a 777?

I heard that the 787 isn't as good at handling lightning strikes due to its materials - is that accurate?

And regarding number two, is that something that would happen right away, or is this going to be a case like those crashes where something that was done ages ago (ie the wire being screwed too tightly) is attributed to crashes years down the line?

some dude Jul 13, 13 4:10 pm


Originally Posted by Dan1113 (Post 21091498)
Interesting. Regarding number three, do you reckon then that we would have seen a much bigger disaster in SFO had the plane been a 787 instead of a 777?

I heard that the 787 isn't as good at handling lightning strikes due to its materials - is that accurate?

And regarding number two, is that something that would happen right away, or is this going to be a case like those crashes where something that was done ages ago (ie the wire being screwed too tightly) is attributed to crashes years down the line?

Regarding 2 - it's related to heat cycles. So, yeah, it may happen over time. Most electricians don't want to touch aluminum wires in a "critical" business installation, but in 787 it was an integral design choice to reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency. In the most extreme case, the lugs are copper and the wire aluminum. They have different rates of thermal expansion, so every time it heat cycles, it causes more stress. This failure can happen even when all components are aluminum, but differing metals increases the risk.

Regarding 3 - When carbon fiber fails, it tends to lose all strength instantly -- think of it like an egg shell -- can be quite strong (try breaking one by squeezing the top and bottom in your hand!), but as soon as a crack forms, it has nearly no strength at all. As far as how that would relate to the Asiana 777 crash @ SFO, it's tough to say, but the bigger risk is that one tiny imperfection while midair, and suddenly you effectively have zero structural integrity. I think @ SFO, most passengers were already off the plane by the time the fire became a serious problem, simply because the fire was clearly so hot that it melted aluminum (very hot!), and no human could survive that environment, and the injury count was too low for a fire like that to be in proximity to humans without injury.

On the flip side, something that will deform will absorb shock, so it's possible that there would be less injuries in a 787 crash.


I think the 787 is probably a wonderful plane as long as nothing is wrong, and probably on par with the 777 in the event of a major emergency (perhaps even safer due to the deformation absorbing shock), but the risk of a major emergency is probably much higher due to so many unreliable components.


I'd personally like to fly a 787 just once. Statistically a low chance that it will be "that" flight, but I think in the long run, they will be deemed unsafe, and scrapped.

LizzyDragon84 Jul 13, 13 5:05 pm


Originally Posted by Cassie55 (Post 21085504)
The aircraft is at a remote stand so why close the whole airport?

In the US, most commercial airports are required to have one or more emergency trucks on standby to respond to calls. If some or all of the trucks are on a call, the control tower has to shut some or all runways until the trucks are done. I assume the UK has similar rules.

BStrauss3 Jul 13, 13 8:08 pm

All that is said officially - although it's interesting to have even this so early in the investigation:

http://www.aaib.gov.uk/latest_news/b...ss_release.cfm

is:

"However, it is clear that this heat damage is remote from the area in which the aircraft main and APU (Auxiliary Power Unit) batteries are located, and, at this stage, there is not evidence of a direct causal relationship"

The NYTimes report says the plane "was connected to an external ground power source" (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/13/bu...-heathrow.html).

belize 1 Jul 13, 13 10:05 pm

787 availability zeroed out
 
Interesting that some of the 787 flights YYZ-ADD in July and August are showing ony full fare J an Y availabilty today, zeroed out in other classes.
On some dates, equipment swap with 777s on this route show all fare classes are available.

Is ET planning to ground their 787s again ? Why would they zero out availability when the seat maps are showing only 5 per cent seats are occupied ?


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