US National Transportation Safety Board investigators will travel to Arizona based Securaplane Technologies, which makes battery chargers used on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, to test and examine the charger.Fiona Greig, a spokeswoman for Securaplane, said the company had been invited to "contribute to the investigation process" and planned to fully support it."In line with the NTSB's practices, however, it would not be helpful to that investigation to comment further," she said in a statement.Securaplane, a unit of Britain's Meggit, first began working on the charger in 2004, but suffered millions of dollars of damages in November 2006 after a lithium-ion battery used in testing exploded and sparked a fire that burned an administration building to the ground.The US National Transportation Safety Board on Sunday ruled out excess voltage as the cause of a battery fire on the 787 at Boston airport this month.The investigators also plan to travel to Phoenix and carry out tests at the site where a unit of United Technologies builds the 787's power unit.The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) on Sunday said it had investigated safety complaints made by a former Securaplane employee in 2008 and 2009 but determined that the allegations focused on prototypes that were not ultimately used in the new lightweight airliner.Shubhayu Chakraborty, president of Securaplane, earlier told reporters that his company's lithium-ion battery charger was currently only in use on the Boeing 787, although it is developing different systems for use on other aircraft.Securaplane is building a lithium-ion battery system for the KC-390 military transport plane being developed by Brazil's Embraer, which is due to have its first flight in 2014. Embraer declined comment.The company is also developing backup batteries for the Embraer Legacy 450 and 500 business jets and will make the lithium battery for the next-generation Eurocopter EC-135 helicopter being developed by EADS, according to the company's website.The charger is part of a complex system that uses a lithium-ion battery made by GS Yuasa and electrical systems made by Thales to provide start-up power for an auxiliary power unit, which is built by Pratt & Whitney.A separate lithium-ion battery, which also uses a Securaplane charger and Thales electrical power conversion equipment, is used as a main battery backup for flight critical systems, according to Boeing.The NTSB's decision to travel to Securaplane's facility sparked fresh questions about a fire that destroyed an administrative building there in 2006.Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said an investigation into the 2006 fire at the Securaplane facility was later determined to have been caused by an improper test set-up, not the battery design. He declined comment on the current 787 investigations.After the fire, a former Securaplane employee named Michael Leon filed a claim for federal whistleblower protection, alleging that he was fired for raising security concerns about the design of the charger and discrepancies between assembly documents for the chargers and the finished chargers.A federal administrative law judge dismissed Leon's suit in July 2011, saying the company had proven he was fired for repeated misconduct, not any safety complaints. The judge did not rule on Leon's alleged safety concerns.FAA spokeswoman Laura Brown said the FAA investigated Leon's complaints, but determined that the battery charging units that he addressed were prototypes, and none were installed in Boeing 787 aircraft."Our reviews also determined Securaplane's production of a particular printed circuit board complied with FAA requirements," Brown said. Source: Reuters
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