Time to turn our attention back to the 787, and to the issues with batteries that the class is having.
Investigators in Japan have been analysing the lithium-ion battery that powers the auxiliary power unit (APU) have revealed swelling in two of the eight cells – as well the main battery aboard the plane (also Li-ion) failed and overheated too.
Investigators have been quick to note that it has not been worked out if the swelling of the battery is normal or problematic.
Swelling could be an issue as it can be a precursor to battery failure, which manifests in either a dead cell in good conditions, or could lead to thermal runaway, which can cascaded into other battery cells causing short circuiting and fires.
The “Flight Ready” fleet of 50 787-8 aircraft remains grounded, with only limited flying by test 787’s until such time the FAA and other safety authorities are happy for whatever fix Boeing comes up with is safe.
Currently, LAN Chile has suspended its 787 flying until at least the end of March 2013, with other airlines still suspending routes and 787 services until such time a return to flight can be confirmed.