Dreamliner probe update: Excess battery voltage on Boeing 787 ruled out, NTSB investigation widens

By on Jan 21, 2013 in Lifestyle, Travel, United States Comments

Updated: February 10, 2013 12:35 p.m.

Read Boeing test flight: 787 Dreamliner first test flight completed, after being grounded over battery problems

The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recently released its third update on the result of its Dreamliner probe on the Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787 fire incident at Logan International Airport in Boston on Monday, January 7, and excess battery voltage as the probable cause of the problem has been ruled out.

NTSB logo

NTSB logo
Image Credit: NTSB.gov

According to a report at NTSB.gov this Sunday, January 20, 2013, the safety investigative team has examined the lithium-ion battery that powered the auxiliary power unit (APU) of the said airplane. This is part of their Boeing investigation involving the Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplanes, right after the incident in Japan.

As reported earlier, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has grounded all Boeing 787 Dreamliner planes and has affected United Airlines flights with six airplanes in service. This comes a day after a similar commercial airplane via All Nippon Airways (ANA) made an emergency landing at the Takamatsu Airport.

The said incident has prompted the two Japanese airlines, ANA and JAL, to suspend all their flights temporarily. The country’s Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism Ministry considered the incident as a serious matter and five inspectors of the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) are now conducting a thorough investigation.

Meanwhile, the NTSB disassembled the APU battery of the JAL Boeing 787 plane that went into fire and has conducted a detailed examination, including X-Ray and CT Scans, and has provided proper documentation. Three of the cells were chosen for more detailed radiographic examination and are now being disassembled.

In addition, several other components, including wire bundles and battery management circuit boards, were also removed from the airplane; and investigators have already developed test plans for them. Some of the parts will also be sent to Boeing‘s facility in Seattle and manufacturer’s facilities in Japan.

Nevertheless, the US agency noted that the flight recorder data from the troubled Boeing airplane showed that the APU battery did not exceed its designed voltage of 32 volts. The group will convene in Arizona this coming Tuesday and will conduct testing on the battery charger and other components.

As the Dreamliner probe starts to widen, the NTSB noted that they have already sent a representative to Japan to assist the investigation by JTSB. Likewise, their French counterpart has also done the same; and that both investigations are being done simultaneously.

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