Friday, June 20, 2014

UK agency says faulty wiring likely caused Dreamliner fire

(Jun 20, 2014, (Reuters))--A fire that scorched the top of a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner at London Heathrow airport last summer was likely caused by faulty wiring in an emergency rescue beacon that led to "an uncontrolled discharge" from a lithium-ion battery, the UK aviation safety agency said on Wednesday.
Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville
The agency also recommended five steps the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration could take to ensure greater safety with lithium batteries on aircraft, echoing comments the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board made last month.

The battery likely discharged unevenly, causing one of its cells to deplete more than the other four, then reverse polarity and absorb energy from the others, the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) said in a special report.

"Several tests demonstrated that when a cell failed in this manner, the heat released caused the failure to cascade to the remaining four cells," the AAIB said.

Honeywell said it appreciated the AAIB's thoroughness and noted it had worked with the FAA and Transport Canada on an airworthiness directive requiring "that all applicable ELT units are inspected to verify that the error is not present." It added, "Honeywell is committed to ensuring the safety of all its products and has implemented a redesign and amended assembly/installation guidelines for this product.” Read more from Reuters »  

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