Totally agree with you Robert. For the 1st time in my life, I'm fielding questions from family members wondering if this airplane is safe. When the general public starts asking questions, Boeing better have a better answer than just call the situation unfair.
For better o for worse, modern batteries are more about battery management software than specific chemistry. Tesla Motors for example has spent many years concentrating on its battery management system to optimize for range and safety. The 6000+ battery cells are isolated in modules. If a thermal event occurs in one module, it it cut off from the rest of the pack and is not allowed to overheat. The result is that so far not a single Tesla car has had battery fire incident, despite several cars having been rear ended in traffic.
If I were Boeing, I would give a call to Tesla and inquire about the cost of certifying their US-made battery packs for aviation purposes.
Grounding of the 787 is the proper decision.
The safe thing to do for reasons obvious.
I recall in the early days of the DC-10 production into service, cargo doors opened in flight for a reason of design failure and oversight, to then cause the cabin floor to buckle downward as cabin pressure escaping at different rates upper and lower to the flooring assembly.
Simple venting doors throughout the fuselage subsequently on all jumbo jets and perhaps other smaller airliners of size, prevented uneven pressures incurred wit rapid decompression at high altitudes.
Both these deadly, catastrophic issues were passed via FAA allowing Douglas Aircraft Co. to perform their own certification and testing on many systems; these two mentioned, doors and pressure equalizing panels.
Further, the DC-10 following two door openings in flight and complete failures to affected aircraft crashing to the ground, and one where the skill and resourcefulness of the pilots using auto pilot servo power to move flight controls arresting an uncontrollable downward plummeting aircraft to save the day and a landing.
The FAA was reticent to take the DC-10's within its authority, out of service pending design and repair of the cargo doors systems failing in flight.
Three years were given for the airlines to implement design retrofits to the doors.
Not sure the disposition of the pressure equalization panels regarding the FAA or Douglas Aircraft Co.
So, for three years, the flying public were traveling on DC-10's not safe.
This done, the planes allowed to remain in service pending retrofit, solely due to the immense cost of ground the fleet of planes.
That the 787 was pulled out of service until engineering can resolve the battery overheat to burn avionics issue, this is progress.
What is not progress is pallets of Lithium Ion Battery's are being shipped on cargo planes, banned on passenger planes due to battery instability.
2011 Dubai and a UPS 747-400 freighter crashed due to a pallet of LI batteries spontaneously ignited causing the plane to quickly become unflyable due to villainous smoke in the cockpit and cabin, and to crash, completely destroyed.
The FAA continues to allow as Class 9 HAZMAT, Lithium Ion Battery's be palatalized and shipped on cargo planes, in spite of knowledge of the record of an unsafe condition being allowed shipped.
The FAA is getting some courage. Some.
The FAA should not serve the industry business economic issues, but should serve as a safety and regulatory agency for the aviation industry. The dichotomy of mandates reduces tough choices being made.
The 787 will be back in the air shortly. The battery source will be rectified and safety will be restored. Just the way the regulatory agency should function. With authority and conviction to safety.
I am totally ignorant about jetliners and how they work, after all, I am not a pilot myself. But I agree with you that the safety of the people is the first priority above all. It should not be compromised. There's a lot more than just trying to judge whether a particular risk is big or small. - Scott Sohr