Fire risk in airliners is growing

Lithium battery fires in the Boeing 787 and in the cargo of two 747 freighters that crashed fatally has put the spotlight on the fire risks of modern technology in aircraft.

But it’s not just about lithium batteries. The different reaction of composite wings and fuselages to fire is changing the fire risk profile in airliners. So is the “more-electric aircraft” design concept, and the proliferation of inflight entertainment systems.

A latest generation narrowbody, according to experts, carries 150km of electric cabling, and about 500 lithium batteries in passenger and crew carry-on equipment and to power onboard systems.

Fire on board is the ultimate nightmare scenario, and the risks are growing. That is the conclusion of the FAA, the UK CAA, and the Royal Aeronautical Society, who have all been studying the subject in depth.

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2 Responses to Fire risk in airliners is growing

  1. Aimee 20 August, 2013 at 8:05 am #

    You can access that report via this news story: …..check out this interesting concept too:

  2. Donald 9 October, 2013 at 6:10 am #

    Re: Fire risk in airliners is growing
    My background is in electronics engineering (mainly semiconductor and Printed Circuit Board test) and not in aviation. So at the risk of “looking foolish”, would cooling the battery compartment, especially Lithium-Ion batteries in the 787, help reduce fire risk? At altitude, cool air is plentiful, provided it could be “ducted” from outside the aircraft. On the ground, air-conditioned air would be required.
    Also, what are your thoughts on the JAL order of 31 A350′s for $9.5 billion? Their first non-Boeing order ever. While the President of JAL denies it, I am fairly sure their problems with the 787 were a factor.
    All the best,

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