It seems the 787’s are starting to run into real trouble, as a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 operating a Tokyo-Narita to Boston service has suffered an a fire after landing at Boston.
It seems that a battery in the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) had overheated, causing the combustion.
No passengers or crew were aboard the plane at this this point when the fire occurred.
Carol Anderson a spokeswoman for Japan Airlines in a statement says
“Smoke was initially discovered by maintenance staff in the rear end of the cabin, and confirmed by another maintenance staff who also detected smoke outside the aircraft.”
Meanwhile, Doug Alder speaking to AFP said on behalf of Boeing says they are:
“aware of the situation”
“working with the airline to understand more about it right now”.
The US National Transportation Safety Board has said it has opened an investigation into the incident.
The Boeing 787 is one of the first airliners to use Lithium Ion Batteries to power the APU in an aircraft. As well as driving the APU, it also powers the main power unit Li-ion batteries this is limited to power the the emergency lighting system.
Lithium Ion batteries whilst very powerful can become unstable if overheated or overcharged, leading to them possibly rupturing, thermal runaway, or as what happened in Boston – combustion.
This is just another setback with the 787’s, with a fair few problems reported.
- United have experienced problems with their 787’s, resulting in some services being canned (as well as an inflight emergency) – with the error traced back the power distribution panels inside the same aft electrical equipment bay.
- Qatar Airways have also been vocal with some of their new 787 grounded due to the same problems.
- LAN also has expressed concerns about the electrical and cooling systems – and their reliability – on their 787’s.
It seems the dream of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is slowly turning into a nightmare for some airlines…