Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Boeing 787's battery woes put US approval under scrutiny

Seattle/Tokyo: In 2007, US regulators cleared Boeing's use of a highly flammable battery in the 787 Dreamliner, deciding it was safe to let the lithium-ion battery burn out if it caught fire mid-air as long as the flames were contained, and smoke and fumes vented properly, according to documents reviewed by Reuters.
Fire risk on planes has always been a major concern, especially given the amount of fuel they carry and the heat generated by jet engines. US aviation standards require planes to have numerous on-board fire suppression systems.
But through a review of government documents and interviews with aviation and battery experts, Reuters found that the US Federal Aviation Administration granted the Dreamliner special conditions and said its contain-and-vent system was sufficient to control the build-up of explosive or toxic gases, except in situations considered "extremely remote."
23/01/13  Reuters/Business Standard