Boeing blamed over Dreamliner battery fire

Short circuit and poor design caused the fire: report

Boeing has been criticised for failing to properly test batteries, which caught fire on board one of its Dreamliner aircraft in January 2013. The fire on a Japan Airlines 787 at Boston airport led to the grounding of all Dreamliners for three months.

An investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board found that a short circuit had caused the fire. The board added that there had been “insufficient” testing of the batteries and that Boeing had failed to anticipate how the power pack could fail. It also criticised the design of the batteries by manufacturer GS Yuasa.

“The investigation identified deficiencies in the design and certification processes that should have prevented an outcome like this,” said Christopher Hart, acting chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. “Fortunately, this incident occurred while the airplane was on the ground and with firefighters immediately available.”

The board has made 15 safety recommendations to the Federal Aviation Administration, two recommendations to Boeing and one to GS Yuasa.

Boeing said in a statement: “We remain confident in the comprehensive improvements made to the 787 battery system following this event, and in the overall performance of the battery system and the safety of the airplane.”

TTG Digital

[photo courtesy Boeing]