NTSB to analyze auxiliary power unit controller aboard 787

By Matt Tomsic
Published Jan. 21, 2013

On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board will examine parts of the auxiliary power unit damaged weeks ago when a lithium-ion battery caught fire aboard a Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport in Boston.

The NTSB released an update to its investigation Sunday, saying the damaged battery was not overcharged before it caught fire on Jan. 7.

On Tuesday, investigators will test the battery charger and download memory from the auxiliary power unit controller in Arizona.

Already, the NTSB has X-rayed and performed CT scans on the damaged battery at its materials lab in Washington, D.C. Investigators have also analyzed wire bundles and battery management circuit boards from the damaged plane, a Japan Airlines 787.

They determined the battery was not overcharged after examining flight recorder data.

The fire and a handful of other incidents aboard Boeing’s newest jet have lead to the grounding of 787s by the Federal Aviation Administration and by European regulators.

About a week after the Boston fire, an All Nippon Airways 787 grounded its fleet of Dreamliners after an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways 787 in Japan. The airline canceled 35 flights and used other jets for another 31 flights.

Before the emergency landing, the ANA flight crew received several messages about the plane’s battery and other systems, and crew members reported an odor in the cockpit and cabin, according to initial reports from the NTSB, which sent an investigator to Japan. After the airplane landed, crew and passengers evacuated down its emergency slides.

Production continues at Boeing sites in Everett, Wash., and in North Charleston, but deliveries have stopped until the FAA issues an airworthiness directive for the lithium-ion batteries.

Previous coverage

U.S., European regulators ground Boeing 787
Federal aviation agency to review the Dreamliner
NTSB releases details on Monday’s 787 fire

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