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Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Battery chemistry long outmoded

Regarding the 787 Dreamliner battery:
1. The current battery chemistry is not "state of the art" and hasn't been for several years. Retail batteries sized for things like RV dry camping in the 100 AH range are not sold in this lithium-ion chemistry for safety reasons. The real lithium-ion batteries are made in China not Japan. Any thoughtful person can verify this opinion with a extensive Google search. It is amazing that Boeing hasn't already replaced these old batteries with the newer chemistry.
2. I have read that the FAA/NTSB grounding of the 787 has been criticized. This is just wrong. I have had the opportunity to participate in a minor crash safety investigation with NTSB personnel. I found the NTSB engineers/scientist that I worked with were technically competent, focused, well educated and in control. I personally wouldn't fly on a 787 until the NTSB gives the OK and the basic battery chemistry is updated.
3. The second basic problem that needs to be solved is the FAA certification process that makes change in aircraft configuration very unlikely, time consuming and extremely costly. This is the real reason that this problem has risen to crisis status. Engineering change at the Boeing Company is rare and career stifling for the individual technician.
David Salsman
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