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Bad News for Boeing: The Dreamliner’s Battery Is a Nightmare

Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner just returned to the skies after a four-month grounding, but already there’s trouble. The director of the Airline Pilots’ Association of Japan, Toshikazu Nagasawa, said that pilots weren’t satisfied with the changes Boeing made to it’s lithium-ion battery and are concerned that they won’t receive appropriate in-flight warnings if there’s an issue. Some scientists and battery experts are also expressing concern about the safety of Boeing’s battery.

Officials at All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines said they’re satisfied with Boeing’s changes and have resumed flights, but investors may have cause for concern knowing that that the pilots — the people whose lives depend on the safety of Boeing’s battery — aren’t satisfied. Here’s what you need to know.

Source: H. Michael Miley, Wikimedia Commons.

Are the issues in the past?
In March, Japanese pilots raised 30 safety concerns about the Dreamliner. One of their major concerns was that they didn’t think Boeing had provided enough proof that the 787 would be safe to fly if the batteries failed. They also expressed concern that the warning indicator for a battery malfunction didn’t indicate the severity of the problem.

More recently, the pilots’ group expressed concern that Boeing didn’t figure out what caused the problems with the batteries in the first place and is now downplaying the battery’s necessity for flight. Consequently, the group challenged Boeing to conduct flight tests without the lithium-ion battery to prove its safety.
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