Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Excessive Voltage Ruled out in Dreamliner Fire

Newspaper article International Herald Tribune

Excessive Voltage Ruled out in Dreamliner Fire

Article excerpt

Investigators in the U.S. are proceeding with their investigation of a battery fire on a Boeing Dreamliner and have begun to rule out causes.

U.S. investigators said Sunday that they had ruled out excessive voltage as the cause of a battery fire on a Boeing 787 in Boston this month, widening the mystery into what led the world's most technologically advanced jet to be grounded after a second battery- related incident last week.

With investigators focused on the plane's lithium-ion batteries, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board said an examination of the data from the plane's flight recorder indicated that the battery "did not exceed the designed voltage of 32 volts." The fire aboard a Japan Airlines plane on Jan. 7 at Logan International Airport in Boston occurred after the passengers had left the plane.

Last week, a battery problem on another 787 forced an All Nippon Airways jetliner to make an emergency landing in Japan. That incident prompted aviation authorities around the world to ground the plane, also known as the Dreamliner. The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration said last week that it would not lift the ban until Boeing could show that the batteries were safe.

The safety board did not address the grounding issue or provide a timetable for its investigation, which industry experts said could take months.

But with investigators on a global quest to find out what went wrong, the safety board's statement suggested that there might not be a rapid resumption of 787 flights. The 787 first entered service in November 2011 after more than three and a half years of production delays. Eight airlines currently own fifty 787s, including United Airlines.

On Friday, Japanese safety officials, who are in charge of investigating the second battery incident, suggested that an overcharged battery might have caused it to overheat. Pilots decided to make an emergency landing 20 minutes after takeoff after receiving several alarms about the battery and after they smelled smoke in the cockpit. …

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