The Japan Transport Safety Board has concluded its investigation into the overheating of the lithium-ion main ship battery aboard a Boeing 787 last year without reaching a definitive conclusion on the cause. However, the report, issued on Thursday, said that “inappropriate” testing might have contributed to the Jan. 16, 2013 incident, which led to a worldwide grounding of the Dreamliner fleet until Ethiopian Airlines resumed service on April 27 that year. It also pointed to low temperatures as a possible culprit due to lithium metal’s tendency to form deposits on a battery’s electrodes in such conditions.
Addison, Texas-based aircraft maintenance and charter company Baker Aviation is now the exclusive distributor for the Hot-Stop L fire containment bag. To mark the occasion, Baker is offering a $100 surrender rebate for competing fire containment bags at time of purchase of a new Hot-Stop L lithium-ion fire containment bag. Last year, Baker Aviation announced the free replacement of any Hot-Stop L bag that has been deployed to contain thermal runaway of lithium ion-powered devices aboard an aircraft.
The Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) has concluded in a draft report that extreme cold most likely caused a lithium-ion battery on an All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 to malfunction in January 2013, The Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported. The board plans to release a final report in September or later.
Bombardier Aerospace recently completed a non-temperature-restricted bleedless auxiliary power unit starting test, following a 10-hour cold soak at -40 degrees F and using a starter/generation system and lithium-ion battery system. The Safran Microturbo e-APU system included a starter generator and power electronics from Thales and a Saft Li-ion battery system. The prototype equipment was designed for business jets, Bombardier said. The tests were conducted at the Safran Turbomeca cold-chamber facility in Pau, France.
The corporate and business aviation sectors have posted strong safety numbers, recording few accidents, but that is no reason for operators to become complacent. That was the message from NTSB member Robert Sumwalt at the Flight Safety Foundation/NBAA annual Business Aviation Safety Summit (Bass), held in late April in San Diego.
The National Transportation Safety Board on May 22 issued five safety recommendations to the FAA related to the evaluation and certification of lithium-ion batteries, as well as the certification of new technology. The recommendations evolved through the ongoing investigation of a Jan. 7, 2013, lithium-ion battery fire aboard a Boeing 787 parked at Boston Logan Airport.
Mid-Continent Instrument (Booth No. 3636) has received FAA and EASA approval for its new True Blue Power TB17 advanced lithium-ion engine start and main ship battery. The TB17 is the first lithium-ion battery to receive certification for general aviation applications. The 16-pound battery is designed for light turbine and piston aircraft and weighs up to 45 percent less than lead-acid or nicad batteries. The company says the TB17 is designed for less maintenance, lower cost and longer life than traditional batteries.
Another incident involving the main lithium-ion battery in a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 just prior to its scheduled departure from Tokyo on Tuesday has prompted an internal investigation at JAL, raising new questions about the integrity of a system redesign devised to mitigate the possibility of fire propagation.
Mid-Continent Instrument’s True Blue Power division introduced two new lithium-ion main-ship batteries yesterday, designed for jets, turboprops, piston airplanes and helicopters. The new 28-volt batteries come in two sizes: the TB44 (44 ampere hours) and TB17 (17 ampere hours), and can be seen at Mid-Continent’s NBAA exhibit (Booth No. C10040). These new batteries, which will be certified and ready for deliveries in the fourth quarter this year, are first being offered to aircraft manufacturers and not yet to the aftermarket.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) hopes that testing the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is conducting will identify a limit for the number of lithium batteries that can be safely transported by cargo aircraft.
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