NTSB: 787 Battery Fire Investigation Continues

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The investigation into the battery fire aboard a Boeing 787 in Boston a year ago should be done by the end of March, the NTSB said on Wednesday. The board will then need more time for analysis and writing, and a final report will be released to the public in the fall. The board is investigating the Jan. 7, 2013, fire aboard a parked and empty Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan International Airport. The fleet of 51 Dreamliners was grounded in mid-January after a second fire aboard an ANA 787 in flight above Japan. The airplanes have been back in the air since last April, after the FAA approved a modification to the battery system that aims to both "prevent and isolate a fault should it occur," according to Boeing.

Members of the NTSB investigative team have been conducting work in Japan, France, Taiwan and the U.S., the board said. Parties to the investigation so far have included Boeing, the FAA, the Japan Transport Safety Bureau, the French aviation safety bureau, and technical advisors from Japan and France. Investigators have disassembled the incident battery from the Boston airplane and completed radiographic studies, including more than 200,000 CT scan images. Some of the work still under way includes systems-level testing of the 787 battery and charging system. This work, which is being done under contract by Underwriters Laboratories, includes characterization of the thermal and electrochemical properties of the battery and oscillatory testing, and is expected to be complete in February. Data from the ongoing NTSB investigation is posted online.