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

MMike

A fowl peckerwood.
Sep 5, 2001
18,222
85
just sittin' here drinkin' scotch
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."
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,093
110
chez moi
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.
So much for Rockwool's dream of a composite coke-and-weed fuselage for his "Dreamliner."
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
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.
Oh yeah, no chance Weldon's just a disgruntled asshole...
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,093
110
chez moi
Oh yeah, no chance Weldon's just a disgruntled asshole...
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.
 

H8R

Cranky Pants
Nov 10, 2004
13,971
20
I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that most if not all planes are unsafe while crashing.
 

MikeD

Leader and Demogogue of the Ridemonkey Satinists
Oct 26, 2001
10,093
110
chez moi
I'm going to go out on a limb here and speculate that most if not all planes are unsafe while crashing.
Cancer is NOT an acceptable aftereffect to being decapitated, then impaled on a beverage cart before burning to death.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
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

Wired said:
FAA: Boeing's New 787 May Be Vulnerable to Hacker Attack

Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner passenger jet may have a serious security vulnerability in its onboard computer networks that could allow passengers to access the plane's control systems, according to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration.

The computer network in the Dreamliner's passenger compartment, designed to give passengers in-flight internet access, is connected to the plane's control, navigation and communication systems, an FAA report reveals.

The revelation is causing concern in security circles because the physical connection of the networks makes the plane's control systems vulnerable to hackers. A more secure design would physically separate the two computer networks. Boeing said it's aware of the issue and has designed a solution it will test shortly.

"This is serious," said Mark Loveless, a network security analyst with Autonomic Networks, a company in stealth mode, who presented a conference talk last year on Hacking the Friendly Skies (PowerPoint). "This isn’t a desktop computer. It's controlling the systems that are keeping people from plunging to their deaths. So I hope they are really thinking about how to get this right."

...

According to the FAA document published in the Federal Register (mirrored at Cryptome.org), the vulnerability exists because the plane's computer systems connect the passenger network with the flight-safety, control and navigation network. It also connects to the airline's business and administrative-support network, which communicates maintenance issues to ground crews.

More...
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,412
0
SF
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.
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
 

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,412
0
SF
I learned a couple of things:

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

sanjuro

Tube Smuggler
Sep 13, 2004
17,412
0
SF
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.
 

Westy

the teste
Nov 22, 2002
36,650
3,472
Sleazattle
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.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
people survive emergency landings. no one survives crashes
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

Dipping into the cloud cover while still over the mountains, the Fairchild soon crashed on an unnamed peak (later called Cerro Seler, also known as Glaciar de las Lágrimas or Glacier of Tears), located between Cerro Sosneado and Volcán Tinguiririca, straddling the remote mountainous border between Chile and Argentina. The plane clipped the peak at 4200 m, neatly severing the right wing, which was thrown back with such a force that it cut off the vertical stabilizer, leaving a gaping hole in the rear of the fuselage. The plane then clipped a second peak which severed the left wing and left the plane as just a fuselage flying through the air. The fuselage hit the ground and slid down a steep mountain slope before finally coming to rest in a snow bank.
 

FriedRys

Monkey
May 21, 2007
185
0
On the losing end of a wishbone
The plane clipped the peak at 4200 m, neatly severing the right wing, which was thrown back with such a force that it cut off the vertical stabilizer, leaving a gaping hole in the rear of the fuselage. The plane then clipped a second peak which severed the left wing and left the plane as just a fuselage flying through the air. The fuselage hit the ground and slid down a steep mountain slope before finally coming to rest in a snow bank.
And that is why drops to transitions are WAY better than drops to flat.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
And that is why drops to transitions are WAY better than drops to flat.
Flat works too...

Highest fall survived without parachute

Who: Vesna Vulovic
When: January 26th, 1972
Where: Somewhere over the Czech Republic
What: 33,330 ft.

Vesna Vulovic, a flight attendant from Yugoslavia, survived a fall from 10,160 m. (33,330 ft.) when the DC-9 in which she was traveling blew up over Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic), on January 26, 1972. No other passengers survived. It is believed the plane crashed after the detonation of a bomb planted by Croatian terrorists in the forward cargo hold. Vesna Vulovic fell 10,160 m. (33,330 ft.) - breaking both legs and becoming paralyzed from the waist down.

"I was so lucky to have survived! I hit the earth – not the trees, not the snow, but the frozen ground." Strangely, the first words she uttered, "Can I have a cigarette," were in English!
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
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
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.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
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?
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.
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
As far as the CF vs. Al, I doubt thats an issue
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?
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
So you're introducing a completely irrelevant argument. Thanks for that.
787 safety issues raised by the FAA are more relevant than issues raised by the media.

the occurence of an emergency landing that is both survivable and engulfed in flames is rare. Do you disagree?
I agree, the survival rate is lower.
 

ohio

The Fresno Kid
Nov 26, 2001
6,640
4
SF, CA
787 safety issues raised by the FAA are more relevant than issues raised by the media.
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.
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
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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?
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.
 

MMike

A fowl peckerwood.
Sep 5, 2001
18,222
85
just sittin' here drinkin' scotch
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.....
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
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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.....
Don't they currently use CT/xray equipment to inspect airliners? Makes sense that maintenance routines would differ depending on material.

Typical aerospace applications include non-destructive evaluation of

* corrosion
* impact damage
* water entrapment in both aluminum and
* composite structures
 

MMike

A fowl peckerwood.
Sep 5, 2001
18,222
85
just sittin' here drinkin' scotch
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....
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
290
VT
You bump the skin of an aluminum fuselage, you pretty much know it's been hit. Not necessarily so with a CF.
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.
 

valve bouncer

Master Dildoist
Feb 11, 2002
7,791
35
Japan
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.
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)
 

syadasti

i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
12,721
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Crash expert engineer says in airliner crashes survival is likely...

The New York Times said:
Listen Up and Fly Right
By GEORGE BIBEL
Published: January 26, 2008
Grand Forks, N.D.

WHAT’S the point of listening to the safety instructions given by flight attendants? If there’s a crash, everybody dies, right? Most airline passengers apparently feel this way. More than half of passengers in a large study by the National Transportation Safety Board admitted to routinely ignoring the flight attendants, heeding no more than half of their little spiel. But what the flight attendants say can very well save lives, because in any airplane accident, passengers are five times more likely to survive than to die.

Look at what happened at Heathrow Airport in London last week. A Boeing 777 crash-landed, tearing off the landing gear and damaging the airplane beyond repair. Yet there were only 13 minor injuries among the 152 passengers.

In 23 of the 27 DC-10 airplanes destroyed in accidents, 90 percent of the passengers have survived. In one 1989 crash in Sioux City, Iowa — a crash so violent that the plane broke into multiple sections and a fireball erupted — 185 of the 296 passengers and crew members survived, including a baby placed on the floor (as instructed).

The flight attendants have reason to tell you, first of all, to keep your seat belt fastened. People have broken their necks bouncing off the ceiling when a plane suddenly drops a few hundred feet in severe turbulence. But for anyone buckled in, a sudden drop, however stomach-churning, poses no danger.

Passengers are often disturbed when they look out the window in mild turbulence and see the wings flapping like a bird’s. But the wings of a large commercial jet have never flapped so violently as to fall off. During certification, the wings of 777 are bent upward 24 feet — the flexibility required to pull out of an emergency dive.

Modern aircraft are built sturdily enough to hold together even with blast damage. In 1986, a Trans World Airlines jet flying over Greece withstood the explosion of a bomb in a piece of luggage. Four passengers were killed, but the plane landed safely, and the other 117 people on board survived. In 1988, after an explosive decompression caused by metal fatigue ripped an 18-by-14-foot hole in the top of the first-class section of a 737 flying over Hawaii, one flight attendant standing nearby was lost. But the passengers were protected by their seat belts.

Other perfectly survivable occurrences include violent engine shuddering, sputtering flames and engine shutdown. Even planes with only two engines are perfectly able to fly with just one. The likeliest outcome is a safe landing at the closest airstrip. In 1965, a 707 landed safely at a California air base after an engine fire had burned off 30 feet of one wing. (The engine fire suppression systems on today’s airplanes would probably have kept that from happening.) In February 2005, one of the four engines on a British Airlines 747 shut down shortly after takeoff from Los Angeles, yet the plane still flew safely to England — causing only a little controversy over the British pilots’ interpretation of American flight safety rules.

After an emergency landing or a crash during takeoff, it’s important to get out of the plane as soon as possible. Fuel can easily leak and ignite, so a post-crash fire is a real danger. But evacuating a plane full of people is surprisingly easy, as long as passengers don’t panic. When certifying the design of a new aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration requires that it be possible to evacuate the plane within 90 seconds even with unrehearsed passengers and half the exits blocked.

This is exactly what happened in 2005 when an Airbus landing in Toronto overran the runway and crashed. The flight attendants escorted out 309 passengers and crew members in less than two minutes, even though four of the eight exits were unusable and many passengers paused on the way out to pick up carry-on bags and aim cellphone cameras. The plane then exploded in flames, burning the top half away and leaving the hull looking like a filleted fish.

It was not surprising, after the recent crash landing in London, how easily the flight attendants directed passengers and crew onto the emergency exit slides. Fortunately, few of us ever have the opportunity to witness how well trained the flight attendants are. But we should still pay attention to what they say.

George Bibel, a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of North Dakota, is the author of “Beyond the Black Box: The Forensics of Airplane Crashes” and is at work on a book about train wrecks.