The Boeing 787 Dreamliner Is Not So Dreamy
Wed. Jan. 30, 2013 -
In my humble opinion the problems with the now famous, or infamous, Lithium-ion batteries on Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliners are not just a matter of aircraft and passenger safety, they are also a matter of eroding Corporate Character. This sort of issue should have been fully resolved long before the first paying commercial passenger ever set foot on that airplane.
In 1977 I was a Camera Asst. working for a NY studio that was doing a lengthy, global-trotting project for Boeing about the 747 and 727. We flew on 747’s of Ward Air (Canadian charter company), Avianca, Pan Am, JAL, BOAC, Qantas, Air India, Lufthansa, United, SAS, TWA, Cathy-Pacific, and 727’s of Qantas, Avianca, Continental and Alaska Airlines. Destinations included Hawaii, Colombia SA, Antigua, Alaska, Denmark, Germany, England, Japan, Canary Islands, Madera, Singapore, Hong Kong, Australia, India and Kenya. Additional assignments for foreign carriers involving the Boeing 747 included Alia (now Royal Jordanian), Iran Air (1976), Garuda Indonesia and Royal Air Maroc (Morocco). I feel privileged to have flown around the world several times sitting up in the cockpits of 747’s and 727’s watching the pilots work. I felt safe and comfortable flying in those airplanes and logged 100’s of hours doing so.
With 44 years in the film industry under my belt, many of which involved loads of domestic and international flights, I’m now reticent to even think about boarding a commercial airplane, foreign or domestic. When it comes to aircraft manufacturing, design adjustments and general and detailed maintenance, it now seems like airlines and airplane companies are gambling with human life in order to improve their bottom lines. Federal safety regulators need to be infinitely more aggressive defining and enforcing prevent measures to avoid future catastrophes. The lackadaisical approach to fixing Boeing’s Dreamliner battery problem is a clear and present indication of the bourgeoning dangers threatening safety throughout the aviation transportation industry.
Air travel certainly isn’t what it used to be. My very first flight was in 1962 on a Boeing 707 heading for a year of study in France. I was 21. Back then passengers were escorted to airplanes by a Ground Hostess (there were no retractable Jet-Ways) and everyone was made to feel special when in-flight, regardless of where you were seated – First Class or Tourist. When I first started working in the Film Industry in 1968 film crews were required by the production company to wear jackets and ties when flying to distant locations. There was a real sense of class back then. Things sure have changed.
Fasten you seat belts, folks, it’s going to be a bumpy ride from now on.