Monday, April 29, 2013

Apology and Correction - Ethiopian IS Flying 787 Again

Readers, an apology is in order. Jon Ostrower of the Wall Street Journal informs me that Ethiopian Airlines is flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner on its Addis Ababa to Frankfurt route and my earlier post suggesting that the headline making Saturday re-inaugural flight of the troubled twin jet was a one-off is incorrect. 

Earlier in the day I was told by Ethiopian reservations agent that the 787 was not flying which I took as an acknowledgement by the airline that before it put the plane and its brand new fire and smoke containing battery box back on the line, it would do a little more flight testing.

That's what All Nippon Airways is doing. But it would seem that Ethiopian feels more confident in Boeing's assurances that all is well with the lithium ion batteries now that the insulation has been beefed up, the charging toned down and the box installed.

My thanks to Jon, an extraordinary aviation reporter and my apologies once again to my readers for leading you astray on this matter. 

Ethiopian's ET-AOP prepares for its post-grounding flight on April 27th
photo courtesy Boeing

Is Ethiopian's First Dreamliner Flight a Delusion?

Ethiopian's 787 ET-AOP on April 27th Boeing photo

Ethiopian Airlines loaded up Flight 801 from Addis Ababa to Nairobi on Saturday and literally lifted the Dreamliner from its three month grounding, the first Boeing 787 customer to resume service on the troubled jet or so the stories say. But wait, announcing a resumption of service may be a tad premature. A more careful reading of the Ethiopian and Boeing press releases seems to indicate that despite the fuss, the flight was a one-off.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

ETOPS Restrictions for the 787 - 2nd Biggest Nightmare

Presumptive much? In Tokyo on March 16, Boeing's Mike Sinnett made some very bold statements when asked if the Dreamliner's battery woes might result in the Federal Aviation Administration's restricting the airplane's ETOPS overwater capabilities.

Why should it? Mike Sinnett, suggested to a room full of journalists. "The certification plan is designed to lift the AD (airworthiness directive) to fully comply and there will be no additional limitations on the airplane following the lifting of the AD." 

That's not what I'm told, and replying to a question in a Senate hearing yesterday the Seattle Times Dominic Gates reports, FAA chief Michael Huerta made it clear the troubled jet's three-hour ETOPs is absolutely under review. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

A Crash Every Two Years, Who Is Worried About That?

When I'm hard at work, taking notes say, at a National Transportation Safety Board public forum, I will have my laptop open, my iTouch recording and (busted) be checking my email on my Samsung Galaxy Smartphone. All of these devices are powered by lithium ion batteries, and not just that, but cobalt oxide formulations, one of the more volatile chemistries.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Air Ambulance Pilot Demonstrates How Deadly Distraction Can Be

The pilot of an emergency medical helicopter was text messaging before and during the flight that ended in disaster near an airport in Mosby, Missouri in 2011. His actions and his distraction were cited as contributing factors in the crash that killed four people on board an Air Methods helicopter in August 2011, the National Transportation Safety Board said today. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

PR Can't Disguise United's Smelly Last Place Finish

I never thought I'd be writing these words, but here I go, United take a lesson from American Airlines and learn how to say "Sorry." 

Upon news that United was rock bottom last on the 2012 Airline Quality Rating, company spokesman Charlie Hobart told The Plain Dealer's Janet Cho"United's operations improved significantly in the fall of 2012 and we continue to meet or exceed our on-time standards and set new records for performance."