News

JAL grounds Dreamliner after battery problem

15 Jan 2014 by GrahamSmith

Japan Airlines has grounded a Boeing 787 Dreamliner after engineers spotted smoke or gases believed to have come from the aircraft's main battery.

The fault was spotted yesterday during routine maintenance in Tokyo and comes a year after a battery pack problem caused all Dreamliners to be grounded for three months in 2013 (see news, January 2013).

A spokesman for JAL said its engineers first spotted smoke before warning lights flashed to signal a battery fault.

No passengers were onboard the B787 at the time and Boeing said it is looking into the incident.

The Dreamliner was hit by a long list of technical problems last year.

Among numeous issues, in July Boeing asked airlines worldwide to inspect an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) following a fire on a parked Dreamliner (see news, July 29).

That move came two weeks after a UK regulator cited a battery within the beacon as the source of the blaze on an Ethiopian Airlines B787 which closed both runways at Heathrow for 90 minutes (see news, July 12).

The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) also issued an airworthiness directive instructing airlines to take out the ELT from Dreamliners or carry out an inspection of the devices.

Boeing then advised rival manufacturers to take similar precautions.

Also in July, All Nippon Airways reported that it had found damaged battery wiring on two ELTs during safety checks and United Airlines said it had located a pinched wire on one if its B787s.

The ELT battery is not the same faulty battery pack which caused all Dreamliners to be grounded from January to April.

jal.com

Graham Smith

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