The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) just reported that it asked Boeing Co. to provide a full operating history of lithium-ion batteries used in its grounded 787 Dreamliner planes.
Japan’s All Nippon Airways revealed it had repeatedly replaced the batteries even before overheating problems surfaced, said the Huffington Post. The 50 Dreamliners in use worldwide have been grounded since January 16, when an All Nippon Airways (ANA) flight had to make an emergency landing in Japan after its main battery overheated. A week earlier, a battery in a 787 parked at Boston’s Logan Airport caught fire. ANA said it had replaced batteries on its 787 aircraft some 10 times because they didn’t charge properly or connections with electrical systems failed. The airline informed Boeing of the changes, the Huffington Post said.
NTSB spokesman, Peter Knudson, said the agency was aware of the battery problems ANA was experiencing even before the two recent incidents. Boeing has already collected some of the information, he said.
Japanese and U.S. investigators are looking into the Boeing 787’s battery problems, including a system that monitors voltage, charging, and temperature of the lithium-ion batteries. The Huffington Post says that the NTSB is conducting a chemical analysis of internal short-circuiting and thermal damage to the battery that caught fire in Boston. The NTSB is also analyzing data from flight data recorders on the aircraft, the safety agency said in a statement on its website.
The 787 is the first airliner to make use of lithium-ion batteries, a battery type prone to overheating and that requires additional safeguards to prevent fires, the Huffington Post said.