UPDATE: Cirrus Designs, UCLA, and Airbus refute these claims.
Semi-retired newsman Dan Rather claims the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is made of a brittle material that is more likely than traditional materials to shatter on impact and emit poisonous chemicals when on fire. To us, the most important words in that sentence are on impact and when on fire, because if those conditions are met then we figure we’ll already be in more than enough danger.
A former Boeing engineer, who claims he was fired for his concerns over the issue, explains the problem in a more serious way. With airplanes made of aluminum, the fuselage crumples but remains intact, which keeps life-threatening fires away from passengers. But not so with the Dreamliner:
“With a composite airframe, the fuselage would not crumple, it would shatter … that shattered hole would be there for the fire that’s going into the airplane. Instead of everyone getting out, it would be a far less positive result.”
He doesn’t even mention all the sharks that would be able to get in if you crashed into the ocean. But we will.
Boeing says that they’ve tested the plane and it’s as “crashworthy” as aluminum planes. This leads us to wonder, how do airlines crash-test planes? May we see the footage, please?