Another Boeing 787 Dreamliner Has a Battery Problem

Japan Airlines grounded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft today “after detecting smoke or gases that may have come from faults with the main battery,” according to the BBC.

Last year, all 787s were grounded for three months, CBS reports, after a “fire in a lithium ion battery aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport. That was followed nine days later by another battery incident that forced an emergency landing in Japan by an All Nippon Airways 787.Today’s battery problem was noticed during scheduled maintenance. No passengers were on board the plane at the time.

According to the Los Angeles Times, “The lithium-ion battery system was found to ‘venting’ gas while the plane sat at Narita International Airport in Japan, Boeing said.”

First Public Commercial Flight Simulators To Open In London

The first public commercial flight simulators, including two Airbus 380s and two Boeing 777s, are the centerpiece of a new aviation-themed attraction by Dubai-based Emirates Airlines that will open in London this July.

The simulators will utilize full landscape visuals to allow visitors to test what it feels like to take off and land commercial jets. The technology is one part of what is called the Emirates Aviation Experience, an attraction situated at the south side of the Emirates Air Line, a cable car that stretches across the River Thames. The attraction will also give a nod to aviation history and achievements through interactive displays.

“The purpose of this centre is to provide a fun, yet educational, overview of just what it takes to successfully get a 560 tonne aircraft off the ground and 40,000 feet into the sky. Our aim is to explain the intricate science of modern aviation, in a hands-on, entertaining and instructive environment,” said Emirates Airline President Tim Clark in a press release.

Emirates has been investing heavily in the United Kingdom since the company first began operating services there in 1987. The airline is the first sponsor to feature a company logo on the London Tube map, and this new attraction will further broaden their presence and increase their visibility in the U.K. But for travelers, it’s just another fun thing to do in London.

United Relaunches 787 Today With Houston To Chicago Service

After four months of testing, the Boeing 787 “Dreamliner” will once again take to the skies in North America today. United Airlines is the first to kick off service, sending the Dreamliner skyward on a flight from Houston to Chicago scheduled for 11 a.m. this morning.

Earlier this year, the federal government grounded all 787 flights due to overheating concerns on the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries. The grounding hit both Boeing and the airlines hard, causing snags in proposed routes and forcing some airlines to lease planes. According to Associated Press, the grounding hurt United’s first-quarter earnings by as much as $11 million – which is why we questioned whether or not the 787 is ready for flight, or whether the billions of dollars that have already been invested in the planes have caused things to be pushed along a little too quickly.

But according to several sources, passengers don’t seem too worried. United spokeswoman Christen David told Associated Press the company “saw strong demand for the flight from the first weekend it opened for sale.” United is starting slowly with domestic flights, and will then move into international flights in June with a new Denver-to-Tokyo service.

An Airplane Is Born: Airbus A350 Shows Off Paint Job, Ready For Test Flights

The first flyable Airbus A350 emerged from a hangar in southwestern France earlier today, showing off a freshly painted livery stamped with the Airbus logo. But the significance of this morning’s roll out goes beyond just a few layers of paint; according to Airbus, the plane has passed a number of milestones, including flight-test-instrument (FTI) verification, and should be ready for its maiden flight this summer.

According to Bloomberg Businessweek, the manufacturer hopes to bring the wide-body aircraft into commercial service by the end of 2014. The model has been built to rival Boeing’s popular 777 model as well as the 787 “Dreamliner,” which has come under fire recently due to overheating concerns on the aircraft’s lithium-ion batteries.

[Photo credit: P. Pigeyre (Courtesy Airbus)]

Flight Turbulence: Just How Dangerous Is It Anyway?

The jury is still out on a recent study that says a result of climate change could take fliers on a bumpy ride. Scientists think passengers on transatlantic vectors could experience more unexpected ups and downs, the leading cause of in-flight injury, but agree that more study is needed. But just how dangerous is flight turbulence anyway?

Unexpected turbulence, called “clear air turbulence,” can be surprising when it hits an aircraft before the “fasten seat belt” sign lights up. But aircraft are built to take it and some even know what to do with it.

“Aircraft are built to withstand a 2.5g force load without even any minor damage and, as it is rare for a storm to generate a force that exceeds 1g load on an aircraft, there is no risk,” write the editors of TravelMole pulling from interviews they had with Boeing and the British Airline Pilots Association.

Still, whether caused by invisible air currents that flow over mountains or a natural part of the jet stream, experts agree that the particular aircraft flown can make a big difference when turbulence strikes.

“To ensure the most comfortable ride, it’s best to fly on the largest, most modern aircraft as these are designed to lessen the impact of turbulence on passengers,” concluded TravelMole.When Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner gets back in the air, it may be the aircraft to be on. Like other new aircraft, the 787 is equipped with a system to read the air in front of it, compensating for anticipated turbulence for a smoother ride.

Want to know more about that study? This video breaks it down:

[Photo credit – Flickr user mstephens7]