Investigation of 787 Dreamliner Issues to Focus on Batteries
January 18, 2013 1:13 PM
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The 787 Dreamliner's charred battery
The battery will be sent to Tokyo for a deeper inspection
An opening investigation into
the safety of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner
is complete, and with the focus primarily on the 787's battery, more safety checks are on the way.
Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and Japanese officials have completed their initial investigation into the 787's battery problems in recent weeks. A battery that was involved in this week's incident will be sent to Tokyo for further investigation.
A Japanese safety official mentioned that the battery associated with this week's incident was charred, and that excessive electricity could be the reason it overheated. The battery looked like a burnt metal box that had liquid spilling from the inside.
Boeing uses rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for its main electrical system. GS Yuasa Corp., which makes the lithium-ion batteries used in the 787s, said the problem could be the battery, the power source or the electronics system.
Just this week,
a 787, which was an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight to Tokyo, had an issue with its main battery only 15 minutes into a 90-minute flight. After 40 minutes, a burning smell made its way into the cabin and cockpit, and the plane made an emergency landing at Takamatsu Airport on the southern island of Shikoku.
caused all 787s to be grounded
in Japan, the U.S. and India until a safety investigation was conducted and the problems were corrected.
Unfortunately, this incident isn't where the 787's problems started. Early last week,
operated by Japan Airlines
experienced an electrical fire
at Boston's Logan International Airport
after coming in from Tokyo. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, a battery in the auxiliary power unit suffered severe fire damage.
Just one day later, a Boeing 787 operated by the same airline at the same airport suffered a fuel leak. The fuel leak was discovered at 12:25 p.m. ET right after the 787 left the gate for a trip to Tokyo. The flight was cancelled, and the plane was towed back to the gate where passengers were instructed to exit and stay in the airport. No one was injured.
As it turns out, about 40 gallons of fuel had leaked from the 787. The plane ended up being delayed four hours before leaving for Tokyo.
On Friday of last week,
two more issues occurred
It was discovered that a 787 Dreamliner with All Nippon Airways (ANA), which had arrived at the Matsuyama airport in western Japan from Tokyo on Friday, developed a web-like crack in the cockpit window. The pilot found it about 70 minutes into the flight, but no one was injured. In a separate incident on Friday, but also with ANA, another 787 Dreamliner had an oil leak after traveling to the Miyazaki airport in southern Japan. It is unclear how much oil had leaked.
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RE: Excessive Electricity
1/18/2013 2:37:14 PM
I would guess that the 787 has been in design for longer than LiFePO4 cells have been available or their benefits in these types of applications fully understood.
I'm sure we'll see them switching to them to solve the problem though.
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