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787 is unsafe!!! RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!

Discussion in 'Politics & World News' started by MMike, Sep 18, 2007.

  1. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/boeingaerospace/2003889663_boeing180.html

    Fired engineer calls 787's plastic fuselage unsafe
    By Dominic Gates
    Seattle Times aerospace reporter

    A former senior aerospace engineer at Boeing's Phantom Works research unit, fired last year under disputed circumstances, is going public with concerns that the new 787 Dreamliner is unsafe.
    Forty-six-year veteran Vince Weldon contends that in a crash landing that would be survivable in a metal airplane, the new jet's innovative composite plastic materials will shatter too easily and burn with toxic fumes. He backs up his views with e-mails from engineering colleagues at Boeing and claims the company isn't doing enough to test the plane's crashworthiness.
    Boeing vigorously denies Weldon's assertions, saying the questions he raised internally were addressed to the satisfaction of its technical experts.
    Weldon's allegations will be aired tonight by Dan Rather, the former CBS News anchor, on his weekly investigative show on cable channel HDNet.
    Weldon thinks that without years of further research, Boeing shouldn't build the Dreamliner and that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) shouldn't certify the jet to fly.
    Boeing's current compressed schedule calls for a six-month flight-test program and federal certification in time for delivery in May.
    Rather's show presents a letter Weldon wrote to the FAA in July detailing his view, as well as two e-mails to Weldon dated August 2005 and February 2006, expressing similar safety concerns, from unidentified senior Boeing engineers who are still at the company.
    Weldon worked at a Boeing facility in Kent. Within Boeing, he led structural design of a complex piece of the space shuttle and supervised several advance design groups. He has worked with composites since 1973.
    Weldon recently declined through an intermediary to speak with The Seattle Times.
    Boeing confirms he was a senior engineer, but spokeswoman Lori Gunter said he is not specifically a materials expert.
    He complains in his July 24 letter to the FAA that when he expressed his criticisms internally they were ignored and "well-covered up."
    Weldon was fired in July 2006. He alleged in a whistle-blower complaint with the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that the firing was "retaliation for raising concerns throughout the last two years of his employment about the crashworthiness of the 787."
    But according to a summary of OSHA's findings, Boeing told investigators Weldon was fired for threatening a supervisor, specifically for stating he wanted to hang the African-American executive "on a meat hook" and that he "wouldn't mind" seeing a noose around the executive's neck.
    Weldon denied to OSHA investigators that he had referred to a noose and said the "meat hook" reference had not been a threat.
    OSHA dismissed Weldon's claim, denying him whistle-blower status largely on the grounds that Boeing's 787 design does not violate any FAA regulations or standards.
    FAA spokesman Mike Fergus said Monday the 787 will not be certified unless it meets all the FAA's criteria, including a specific requirement that Boeing prove passengers will have at least as good a chance of surviving a crash landing as they would in current metal airliners.
    Rather said Weldon had spoken out publicly only with great reluctance.
    "We approached Weldon. In the beginning, it was not at all certain he would cooperate," Rather said in an interview.
    Rather said his show doesn't determine whether Boeing or Weldon is right. But referring to the e-mails from Weldon's peers, he said, "There are others who are still within the company who are concerned ... that Boeing could be destroyed by taking the 787 to market too soon and brushing aside these safety concerns too cavalierly."
    The Seattle Times reviewed the program transcript and also the letter to the FAA. In the letter, Weldon alleges:
    • The brittleness of the plastic material from which the 787 fuselage is built would create a more severe impact shock to passengers than an aluminum plane, which absorbs impact in a crash by crumpling. A crash also could shatter the plastic fuselage, creating a hole that would allow smoke and toxic fumes to fill the passenger cabin.
    • After such a crash landing, the composite plastic material burning in a jet-fuel fire would create "highly toxic smoke and tiny inhalable carbon slivers" that "would likely seriously incapacitate or kill passengers."
    Weldon also told the FAA this could also pose a major environmental hazard in the area around the crash site.
    • The recently conducted crashworthiness tests — in which Boeing dropped partial fuselage sections from a height of about 15 feet at a test site in Mesa, Ariz. — are inadequate and do not match the stringency of comparable tests done on a 737 fuselage section in 2000.
    • The conductive metal mesh embedded in the 787's fuselage surface to conduct away lightning is too light and vulnerable to hail damage, and is little better than a "Band-Aid."
    Though aluminum airplanes are safe to fly through lightning storms, Weldon wrote, "I do not have even close to the same level of confidence" for the 787.
    Boeing's Gunter denied the specifics in Weldon's Dreamliner critique.
    "We have to demonstrate [to the FAA] comparable crashworthiness to today's airplanes," she said. "We are doing that."
    The recently completed crash tests were successful but are only the beginning of a process that relies on computer modeling to cover every possible crash scenario, she said.
    Tests so far have shown that shards of composite material released in a crash are not a shape that is easily inhaled, Gunter said, and the smoke produced by composites in a jet-fuel fire is no more toxic than the smoke from the crash of an aluminum plane.
    The 787's lightning protection will meet FAA requirements, she said.
    Gunter expressed frustration at Weldon's portrayal of the plane maker as taking shortcuts for profit.
    "We wouldn't create a product that isn't safe for the flying public," Gunter said. "We fly on those airplanes. Our children fly on those airplanes."
     

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  2. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    So much for Rockwool's dream of a composite coke-and-weed fuselage for his "Dreamliner."
     
  3. ohio

    ohio The Fresno Kid

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    Oh yeah, no chance Weldon's just a disgruntled asshole...
     
  4. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    D00D, he totally saw a carbon bike DISINTEGRATE under a huggge huxxor...there's no way plastic parts can stand up to big Dreamliner-sized hux.
     
  5. gonefirefightin

    gonefirefightin free wieners

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    so dont crash.......
     
  6. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    Gee, ya think?
     
  7. ohio

    ohio The Fresno Kid

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    Well to be fair, I've used that same "meat hook" phrase to describe someone I want to ****.
     
  8. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    Oh, so that's what they call it in the Castro...?
     
  9. reflux

    reflux Turbo Monkey

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    Ohh, nice one.
     
  10. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    They say that in the Castro, too. Or so I'm told, I mean.
     
  11. H8R

    H8R Cranky Pants

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    I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that most if not all planes are unsafe while crashing.
     
  12. MikeD

    MikeD Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists

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    Cancer is NOT an acceptable aftereffect to being decapitated, then impaled on a beverage cart before burning to death.
     
  13. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    You should work for the NTSB!
     
  14. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Looks like Boeing hired the same brilliant people from MS that integrated the browser with the OS, nice job :bonk:

    The only solution would be to redesign the systems :p

     
  15. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    Just out of curiosity, what's the survival rates for crashes, ones with jet fuel fires?

    BTW, I am watching the interview now. http://www.hd.net/drr231.html
     
  16. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    I learned a couple of things:

    Aluminum bends before breaking, but "Plastic" just breaks.
    People will survive plane crashes.
    Dan Rather is an idiot.
     
  17. sanjuro

    sanjuro Tube Smuggler

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    One thing about the interview is that Vince Weldon says right off the bat that composites are heavily used in the military, particularly the B2 Stealth bomber, but you have to discount that because military demands are different than passengers planes.

    While crash survivability concerns might be different, I bet military planes get hit by lightning all the time.
     
  18. Westy

    Westy the teste

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    I'm not afraid as long as I am on a domestic flight. The 3000lbs of soft corpulence that surrounds me every time I get on an airplane will soften even the hardest impacts.
     
  19. ohio

    ohio The Fresno Kid

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    wrong on both accounts and for many reasons.
    \
    people survive emergency landings. no one survives crashes
    possibly
     
  20. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Where do get that claim from, there are plenty of cases of survivors of crashes?

    Some of the famous Uruguayan soccer team survived both a crash and cannibalism:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/december/22/newsid_3717000/3717502.stm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uruguayan_Air_Force_Flight_571

     
  21. FriedRys

    FriedRys Monkey

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    And that is why drops to transitions are WAY better than drops to flat.
     
  22. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Flat works too...

     
  23. CrabJoe StretchPants

    CrabJoe StretchPants Reincarnated Crab Walking Head Spinning Bruce Dick

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    I bet there was some massive Canadian uber headbang action for that.
     
  24. Changleen

    Changleen Paranoid Member

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    Mr. Storm, meet Mr. Teacup.
     
  25. ohio

    ohio The Fresno Kid

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    Yes, I too have seen Alive. Pretty common occurence that, huh? Justify "plenty."

    You think it would have made any difference in that story if the plane was made from CF?

    Here's a thought: get on a plane. Rap your knuckle against the inner walls, the cargo bins, your armrests. Tell me what they're made of... I bet it's plastic. Assuming you actually survive a burning crash, do you really think you're going to be worried about the carbon fuselage when you're sucking down the fumes of burning plastic while it drips onto your face? I didn't think so.
     
  26. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    The soccer team is just the extreme example. My uncle and cousin are both flight instructors and I've heard plenty of stories from them. Also a family friend I know has crashed and survived in both military (broke his back) and civilian aircraft (burned him and his wife badly). Its not too uncommon to find airliner crashes with some survivors.

    As far as the CF vs. Al, I doubt thats an issue but it makes for some good news. The only thing that seems screwy to me is their various computer systems being all connected. Their explanations of how its secure and yet still connected using software firewalls etc doesn't hold a lot of water in the security community.
     
  27. ohio

    ohio The Fresno Kid

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    So you're introducing a completely irrelevant argument. Thanks for that.

    The point is, in commercial (I don't give a **** about military or 4 seater) aircraft, the occurence of an emergency landing that is both survivable and engulfed in flames is rare. Do you disagree?
     
  28. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    787 safety issues raised by the FAA are more relevant than issues raised by the media.

    I agree, the survival rate is lower.
     
  29. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    Pfffft....like anyone would want to take over an airplane for the purposes of doing evil.....worry warts
     
  30. ohio

    ohio The Fresno Kid

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    I hate to belabor the point (actually I love to) but you just said you don't think the CF vs AL is an issue. Aside from the SW issue which I never mentioned, that is the only thing the FAA is concerned with right now, and if you don't think it's an issue then what the **** are you posting for?

    The irrelevant argument is over the semantics of a crash (my point is if the crash is remotely survivable [an emergency landing], the CF is unlikely to be an issue, and if it's not very survivable [a crash] who the **** cares]. If you disagree with the semantics fine, but that military and small aircraft can survive crashes with some frequency has, uh, zero to do with this discussion. Like saying the driver of a passenger car can survive a 200mph crash because a NASCAR driver can.
     
  31. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    I posted in this thread because I saw an article regarding its safety and didn't feel like starting another thread about its safety. My first post was not about the Dan Rather piece I've never seen/read, it was about the 787 computer systems design. I was just noted I didn't think it was accurate to say all crashes are not survivable.

    Example: United Airlines Flight 232: no. 2 engine fails, crashes on the runway at 6 times landing speed(cartwheels on the runway, breaks up into three main parts and explodes into a fireball), and over 60% survive the crash.
     
  32. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    I'm no composites expert, but the way it's been explained to me is that the real issue is detecting damage. With aluminum, it's pretty easy to know if something is cracked/bent/dinged or otherwise bad.

    With CF, it can look prefectly fine, but you pretty much need to xray it to detect potential disaster looming below the surface. If the aircraft gets bumped on the ramp by baggage handlers, it could look fine. However some of the lower layers could have been compromised.

    The ground crew is going to have to be very diligent both with not bumping the aircraft, and actually REPORTING it when they do.....
     
  33. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Don't they currently use CT/xray equipment to inspect airliners? Makes sense that maintenance routines would differ depending on material.

     
  34. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    Well sure. But AFAIK only during maintenance checks. It's the quick turn-around flights where they barely shut the engines off between flights that might give one pause.

    You bump the skin of an aluminum fuselage, you pretty much know it's been hit. Not necessarily so with a CF.

    Again.....that's how it's been explained to me....
     
  35. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    I suppose it would be good to have paint or resin that discolors with stress. Like how some kinds of plastic cloud up when you stress them.
     
  36. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    Sure. I'm pretty certain that the good folks at the Lazy B have put a little bit of thought into these things.........
     
  37. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    And its not the first application of composites in aerospace either.
     
  38. valve bouncer

    valve bouncer Master Dildoist

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    There was also the Air France crash in Toronto a year or two ago, where all survived despite the total destruction by fire of the aircraft. Christ, 4 even survived the JAL 747 that crashed into the mountain 20 years ago when the tail fell off. (MMikes fault that fo sho)
     
  39. syadasti

    syadasti i heart mac

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    Crash expert engineer says in airliner crashes survival is likely...

     
  40. MMike

    MMike A fowl peckerwood.

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    There ya go....