The production of the Boeing 787 promised the next evolution in flight technology. Since its introduction, however, the plane has been fraught with crippling malfunctions. What's to blame for the potentially fatal mishaps of this one-time dream machine of the skies, and how much information is being hidden from an unsuspecting public?
The documentary Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787, produced by Al Jazeera, peeks behind the curtain to expose a troubling business model that places the lives of every day travelers at risk on a daily basis; one that is defined by compromised quality standards, operator error, and corporate cover-up.
Constructed by teams of manufacturers situated across the globe, the Boeing 787 was designed to be the most advanced commercial aircraft in the industry, and promised unparalleled comfort and fuel efficiency. It operates on a staggeringly complex electrical system - the foundation of which are its state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries.
Those batteries, in fact, have been fingered as one of the main culprits behind the airplane's misfortunes. Comprehensive independent studies had been conducted on the battery technology, and each had uncovered explosive instabilities that failed to meet operation standards. Boeing, who had been given free reign by the Federal Air Association (FAA) to conduct their own testing, reached an entirely different conclusion: the batteries harbored little to no risk of catching fire aboard an aircraft. But when two instances of mid-flight battery fires occurred within nine days of each other, the industry expressed grave concerns, and all 50 of the Boeing 787 models were eventually grounded in January of 2013. Only months later, a battery redesign ensured the aircraft could take flight once again.
Broken Dreams: The Boeing 787 presents convincing testimony from designers, engineers and company whistleblowers. They all contend that a series of issues exist that transcend volatile battery packs, including poor quality standards set in motion by irresponsible cost-cutting measures and restrictive scheduling considerations, errors in parts construction, rampant drug use, and a woefully under-trained and unregulated manufacturing and operating staff. These deficiencies work together to create a nightmare environment where human lives could be the ultimate cost.