Dreamliner uses Lithium Ion Batteries - These are unstable & can start fires
I can not believe that Boeing chose to use Lithium Ion batteries. I fly RC airplanes using Lithium Ion batteries and know for a fact that if these batteries get overcharged (from a generator or DC charger for example) that they will catch on fire. Also, if the charge rate is too high, they will swell up and can also start a fire.
The fire tends to be very hot and explosive in nature.
I will never fly on a Dreamliner - no matter what the experts say.
So you say that you "fly RC airplanes using Lithium Ion batteries", then go on to decry their inherent lack of safety, and THEN you say that you would NEVER fly on a dreamliner which uses Lithium Ion batteries. Li-Ion batteries are used EVERYWHERE. How's your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, Blackberry, Galaxy3, MP3 player, etc. doing? If Apple and Samsung can get the Li-Ion batteries working without significant issues, how much more an airplane which goes through rigorous design and testing. Sometimes, there are failures. For planes, that includes engines, wings, flaps, rudders, landing gear, what have you. Sometimes the failure results are catastrophic, often they are not. It is good that the U.S. FAA indicates that it will conduct a further review of safety. That is welcome, but probably will not unveil much related to Li-Ion batteries. This technology was first developed 40 years ago, with first commercial/consumer use in the early 1990's. To show their extent of use, they are included in commercial and government satellites which have no ability to be serviced (change them out) and are required to operate for 12 to 15 years.
Fair enough. However, the use of Li-ion batteries is sound. The implementation (design and manufacturing and/or battery/charger compatibility) may be at issue. Battery charge management of Li-ion batteries is less forgiving than for the older Ni-Cad or Ni-H batteries. The benefit of Li-ion is that it has double the density of storage. And weight is an issue on an airplane - just like on satellites. The 787 uses batteries made by GS Yuasa. Look up their website. They have a lot of experience and make such batteries for everything - including for electric trains (1800 kWh) (that is 1.8 Megawatt/hour!) and satellites (which use considerably less). The charge controller is either made by Thales Avionics Electrical Systems or Securaplane. This is what Securaplane says about the 787: "Securaplane is pioneering lithium battery technology on commercial aircraft, developing the charger for the lithium main ship batteries on the Boeing 787 through Thales". Gulfstream and Embraer are also going with Securaplane Li-ion systems.
Thales is the subsystem integrator for the battery + controller. This is what Thales says about their equipment: "Thales offers an innovative and highly secure Li-Ion emergency low voltage system for commercial aircraft. It is the first commercial application of Li-Ion technology anywhere in the world." Their website also indicates that they have experience with controlling Li-ion batteries for satellites. Thales indicates that their satellite controller experience is for 50V (up to 100V) and 18 kW. 18kW is still pretty substantial - more than the maximum power demand by the largest commercial satellite. Securaplane and GS Yuasa also indicate capabilities to provide battery charge management. The (internet available) photo of the "burned out" battery pack shows 8 LVP65 GS Yuasa cells in (what appears to be) a series configuration (8x3.7V) at 65/75 amp/hr or about 1.8 kWh, assuming one cell failure (one tenth of Thales largest battery charge management capability). Thus it is minor compared to Thales satellite experience and peanuts compared to what other battery configurations have been built by GS Yuasa.