The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued safety regulations July 31 for transporting lithium batteries by air, a move intended to harmonize existing U.S. rules with international standards. The Air Line Pilots Association praised the action as recognition of the serious risk unregulated shipments of lithium batteries pose to all who depend on air transportation.
The UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) investigation into the fire on board a Boeing 787 operated by Ethiopian Airlines at London Heathrow Airport on July 12, 2013, discovered improper wiring of the lithium metal battery that powered the aircraft’s Honeywell 406AFN fixed emergency locator transmitter (ELT). According to an AAIB special bulletin published last week, the investigation concluded that the battery had been incorrectly wired to the ELT during the manufacturing process.
The Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a January 12 letter to promptly complete its review of pending rules designed to bring the U.S. into compliance with ICAO on methods of transporting lithium batteries aboard civil aircraft. Citing the prohibition of lithium batteries aboard passenger aircraft, the PRBA said it sees no reason why the government should delay rule harmonization any longer.
The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau is investigating what caused smoke to pour from a main battery vent aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 on January 14. The manufacturer developed a fix for its lithium batteries after last year’s fleet grounding, so the work now is focused on whether the fix actually worked and prevented a larger fire, or whether the smoke and the associated battery alarms were indicative of some other issue.
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 July 24 report by the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on the Sept. 3, 2010, crash of a UPS Boeing 747 in Dubai urges operators of the Boeing freighter to consider the role aircraft vibrations and the acoustical energy they generate might play in onboard lithium-ion battery fires. While GCAA investigators suspect an onboard battery fire brought down the aircraft, they did not pinpoint the cause in their conclusions.
The subject of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries took on urgent new meaning following two thermal runaway incidents with lithium-ion batteries installed in Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner. A lot of information—and misinformation—surrounds lithium-ion technology, and experts from all over are weighing in with their opinions.
Airlines around the world have grounded their Boeing 787s following the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s Wednesday emergency airworthiness directive (AD) that requires United Airlines to stop flying its six Dreamliners until it demonstrates the safety of the airplanes’ batt
The photo of a badly burned Apple iPhone that circulated after the phone caught fire during a Regional Express flight has raised important questions about lithium-ion battery safety among a wide aviation audience. The incident occurred after the Regional Express Saab 340B landed in Sydney, Australia, on Nov.
The prospect of one laptop computer or smartphone erupting into lithium-battery-fed flames is daunting enough, but what about a pallet of lithium batteries carried as cargo? Some fiery accidents have been blamed on just that, and so far authorities have done little to prevent this type of accident from recurring.
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