Investigators still unable to find cause of 787 fire

WASHINGTON Sun Jan 27, 2013 4:00pm EST

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) inspection charge Lorenda Ward (C), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technical advisor Eric West (2nd L), unidentified Boein Co. official (R) and members of the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) inspect All Nippon Airways' (ANA) Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner plane, which made an emergency landing on Wednesday, at Takamatsu airport in Takamatsu, western Japan January 18, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato

U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) inspection charge Lorenda Ward (C), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) technical advisor Eric West (2nd L), unidentified Boein Co. official (R) and members of the Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) inspect All Nippon Airways' (ANA) Boeing Co's 787 Dreamliner plane, which made an emergency landing on Wednesday, at Takamatsu airport in Takamatsu, western Japan January 18, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Issei Kato

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Further testing still has not found the cause of a battery fire aboard a Boeing Co 787 Dreamliner in Boston earlier this month, the National Transportation Safety Board said on Sunday.

In a statement released Sunday, the safety regulator said "no obvious anomalies were found" in its initial investigation of an undamaged battery aboard the plane and that a more detailed examination would follow.

The NTSB's preliminary finding, along with the absence of any reported progress in determining a root cause of the auxiliary power unit's battery fire, underscores that the safety investigation and the grounding of 787s may drag on longer than Boeing had hoped.

Oliver McGee, an aerospace and mechanical engineer who was a deputy assistant secretary of transportation for technology policy under President Bill Clinton and a former consultant to Boeing, described the challenge facing the investigators as a "megascale engineering puzzle."

The Dreamliner's troubles have roiled the airline industry, with safety regulators and experts warning that investigations into the cause of a series of small fires on the plane could take months or even a year.

Regulators grounded the Dreamliner on January 16 after a series of safety incidents, including one on a Japan Airlines (9201.T) Dreamliner in Boston and an All Nippon Airways (9202.T) Dreamliner in Japan. The incident in Japan forced a plane to make an emergency landing.

The grounding has forced hundreds of flight cancellations worldwide, including in the United States, India and South America.

The uncertainty over the Dreamliner has raised questions for Boeing as deliveries for its signature aircraft remain stalled and airlines await the futuristic plane, which was to play a major role in their plans for expansion.

(Reporting by Jim Wolf, Ben Berkowitz, and Samuel P. Jacobs; Editing by Bill Trott)

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Comments (3)
IronBunny wrote:
I’m only writing for the “Shade Tree” EV Builders who are following Boeing’s troubles. I couldn’t care less about the 787. IF the burn up started in the middle of the Pack it was caused either from loose terminal connections OR from charging a Pack that was already hot from discharging.
THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME!

Jan 27, 2013 4:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Neurochuck wrote:
Need more data from actual conditions ?
Maybe some 787 Screamliners could be refitted as fuel efficient air-freighters with extra real time instrumentation and satellite links and flown over water and farmland.
In some engineering it’s called “pilot testing”.

Jan 27, 2013 4:59pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Lorenzzo wrote:
Could it be sabotage?

Jan 27, 2013 5:12pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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