上周不是波音（Boeing）的好日子。由于相对较新的波音787型飞机接连发生三起技术故障，这家飞机制造商的股价上周曾下跌达7%。第一起故障发生在上周一早间，日本航空公司（Japanese Air Line）一架乘客均已离机的飞机在波士顿机场跑道上起火。第二天，日本航空公司另一架787型飞机在波士顿起飞前因飞行员发现漏油，被迫返回登机口。似乎这一切还不够，接着全日空航空公司（All Nippon Airways）一架787型飞机由于飞行员接到飞机制动系统相关报错信息，在日本的航班又被取消。
虽然飞机机舱冒火和燃料系统漏油令人担忧，特别是鉴于公众对于飞机机械故障的敏感程度，但对这些故障的描述方式可能在普通大众和投资者当中引起了不必要的恐慌。比方说，美国国家运输安全委员会（National Transportation Safety Board）的初步报告显示，火灾始于飞机的两块锂电池之一，这两块锂电池只在地面上使用，从不在飞行中使用。火势很小，从起火点仅蔓延了两英尺，远非人们担心的熊熊烈火。
导致这块辅助电池过热的原因可能是连线不当。美国唯一的一家飞行这种新型飞机的美国联合航空（United Air Lines）报告称，其六架全新787飞机中有一架飞机的锂电池连线不当。如果这是火灾的原因，那么很容易纠正，费用也低。
但波音的这款“革命性”飞机已经不是第一次遇到麻烦了。事实上，787型梦想飞机（Dreamliner）项目自十年前诞生以来，就一直与众多令人烦恼的技术故障和事故相伴。但是，过去的麻烦和上周的故障本质上都是机械问题，与该机型颠覆性的创新设计无关。事实上，如果怀疑有任何形式的根本性设计缺陷，美国联邦航空管理局（Federal Aviation Administration）早就停飞所有787型飞机了。不过，一项调查已经展开。
The recent worries over the safety and soundness of Boeing's new 787 aircraft appear vastly overblown. The unfortunate series of technical glitches that occurred this week are not only minor in nature, but are also cheap to fix—that is, if any system-wide repair is even necessary. That doesn't mean Boeing is out of the woods.
It hasn't been the greatest week for Boeing (BA). The aircraft maker saw its stock tumble as much as 7% at one point this week due to three separate technical incidents involving its relatively brand new 787 aircraft. The first incident Monday morning involved a fire breaking out on a Japanese Air Line (JAL) aircraft that was sitting empty on the tarmac in Boston. The next day another JAL 787 in Boston was forced to turn back to the gate after its pilots discovered a fuel leak. And if that weren't enough, an All Nippon Airways 787 in Japan was forced to cancel its flight when the pilots received an error message related to the aircraft's braking system.
While a fire on board an aircraft and a leaky fuel system are concerning— especially given how sensitive the public can be about mechanical issues on an aircraft—the way the incidents have been portrayed have set off an unnecessary panic in general and among investors. For example, preliminary reports by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) indicate that the fire broke out in one of the aircraft's two lithium-ion batteries, which are only engaged when the plane is on the ground and never in flight. The fire was small, creeping only two feet from its source, making it far from the raging inferno of people's nightmares.
The auxiliary battery may have overheated due to faulty wiring causing it to overheat. United Air Lines, the only US carrier to fly the new aircraft, reported that the wiring to lithium-ion batteries on one of its six brand new 787s was done improperly. If this turns out to be the root cause of the fire, then it would be a quick and cheap fix.
Still, this isn't the first time that Boeing has had troubles with its "revolutionary" aircraft. Indeed, the Dreamliner program has been marred by a number of annoying technical glitches and hiccups since its inception a decade ago. But past troubles as well as those that occurred this week were all mechanical in nature and were not linked to the aircraft's radical design. Indeed, if a more fundamental design flaw was suspected in any way the Federal Aviation Administration would have grounded all 787s. An investigation is underway however.
This is an important difference because mechanical flaws are usually cheap and easy to solve while design flaws are potentially devastating. For example, a design flaw could force a potential recall of the 49 or so 787s that are already in use. It would also mean going back to the drawing board—a very expensive drawing board—to recalibrate a jet that is already three years behind on its original delivery schedule.