Tokyo: US aviation officials and Boeing Co., who are investigating the failure of the company's two 787 Dreamliner planes, believe that defective batteries may have caused the malfunction, leading to the grounding of the planes all over the world.
According to sources, the investigating team, consisting of National Transportation Safety Board, Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Boeing officials, is still in the process of investigation and have not yet ruled out other causes, the Japan Times reports.
Investigation by the Japan Transport Safety Board has revealed that the lithium-ion battery of the Dreamliner, installed only three months before, may have shed about 4.7 kg in weight, due to being abnormally heated by overcharge or overcurrent, sources said.
The board removed the battery, made by Kyoto-based GS Yuasa Corp, from the plane for further examination by third-party experts, the sources added.
A flaw in a battery, such as a manufacturing defect that allows the flammable liquid inside to leak, might trigger a fire in one battery cell that would then ignite other cells within the pack, according to tests on generic batteries conducted by the FAA, the paper said.
Marion Blakey, president of Aerospace Industries Association, said that it is necessary to find out the facts as anything inflammable in an aircraft creates a potential risk. Blakely is also a former member of the FAA.
The FAA had grounded Dreamliners around the world after an aircraft made an emergency landing outside Tokyo, until airlines can show that the plane's lithium-ion batteries are safe and in compliance with regulations. The FAA order had only affected six planes flown by United Continental Holdings Inc.
First Published: Saturday, January 19, 2013, 20:00