NTSB continues probe of 787 fire

By Matt Tomsic
Published Jan. 28, 2013

A damaged Japan Airlines 787 had flown 169 flight hours before one of its lithium-ion batteries caught fire at Logan International Airport, the National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday.

The NTSB’s fourth update didn’t provide any major new findings, but the agency continued to give more information about its investigation into the Boeing Co. 787 Dreamliner fire on Jan. 7. Since the fire, the Federal Aviation Administration and other aviation regulators have grounded the Dreamliner to investigate issues with its lithium-ion batteries.

The battery that caught fire was manufactured by GS Yuasa, a Japanese company, in September 2012, and investigators are still disassembling the internal components of the damaged battery, which powered the auxiliary power unit.

The NTSB has also examined the Japan Airlines airplane’s main battery and hasn’t found any obvious issues, though investigators still have to tear down the battery and test it.

The federal agency has sent investigators to Arizona, where they tested part of the lithium-ion batteries, which operated normally; to Seattle, where investigators will assist the FAA in its review of the Dreamliner program; and to Japan, where investigators examined the damaged airplane’s battery monitoring unit at Kanto Aircraft Instrument Co.

The investigation into the Boston fire is ongoing, and the NTSB will provide another update on Tuesday.

A Jan. 7 fire aboard the Japan Airlines 787 launched the NTSB investigation.

After passengers and crew disembarked from the Japan Airlines 787, maintenance and cleaning personnel found smoke in the cabin and called firefighters, who put out the fire about 40 minutes after arriving on scene. The fire damaged the auxiliary power unit battery.

Previous coverage

NTSB provides more details on battery fire aboard Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners
NTSB to analyze auxiliary power unit controller aboard 787
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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