World News

Tuesday 2 September 2014

787 battery 'was not overcharged'

Published 23/01/2013 | 10:05

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An All Nippon Airways 787 flight, which made an emergency landing last week, grounded at Takamatsu airport, western Japan (AP)
The distorted main lithium-ion battery, left, and an undamaged auxiliary battery of the ANA's Boeing 787 which made an emergency landing (AP)

A lithium ion battery on a Boeing 787 that overheated during a flight had a sudden drop in voltage and was not overcharged, as previously thought possible, Japan's transport safety agency has said.

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Transport Safety Board chairman Norihiro Goto said the All Nippon Airways jet's data recorder showed the main battery, used to power many electrical systems on the plane, did not exceed its maximum voltage in the incident earlier this month.

That contradicts an earlier assertion by the agency as it investigates with the US Federal Aviation Administration.

All 50 of the 787 Dreamliners Boeing has delivered to airlines were grounded after the emergency landing by the ANA flight in western Japan on January 16.

Boeing has also halted deliveries of new planes until it can address the electrical problems. Mr Goto said the maximum voltage recorded for the battery was 31 volts, which was below its 32-volt limit. But the data also showed a sudden, unexplained drop in the battery's voltage, he said.

Aircraft do not usually use the kind of lithium ion battery chosen for the 787, and investigators are still struggling to figure out what went wrong.

"It's not that it is difficult, but that we are not so familiar with it," Mr Goto said.

The Transport Safety Board said it will also study the aircraft's auxiliary battery and compare data from each.

Investigators from both sides are probing GS Yuasa, the maker of the charred battery, and are examining the battery using CAT scans at a facility of Japan's aerospace agency.

US investigators also said they found no evidence of overcharging in a battery that ignited on a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 as it sat on the tarmac at Boston's airport earlier this month.

Press Association

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