NTSB joins latest 787 lithium ion battery probe

Washington DC
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The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has formally joined a Japanese investigation of a lithium ion battery malfunction aboard a Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 in Tokyo on 14 January.

The NTSB named aircraft systems investigator Mike Bauer as the agency’s representative in the investigation, which is being led by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau.

The latest 787 battery incident occurred as maintenance crews in the cockpit of the parked aircraft noticed smoke coming from underneath the fuselage.

Boeing said later that it appeared a single cell within the main battery vented, emitting smoke and liquid.

Bauer was among the NTSB investigation team that arrived on the scene at Boston Logan International airport a year ago, when another lithium ion battery on a JAL 787 overheated while parked on the ground.

The 787 fleet was grounded nine days later after another lithium ion battery malfunctioned in flight on board an All Nippon Airways aircraft.

The NTSB is continuing to investigate the previous battery incidents, even as it joins the probe of the latest event.

The agency said last week that it plans to release a probable cause for last year’s 787 battery failures at the end of this year.