787 Dreamliner Crisis
7:09 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Dreamliner Investigation Continues In Two Countries

The hunt for a solution to the 787’s battery woes continues. Investigators are crisscrossing oceans looking for a cause to the battery overheating problems that have grounded the Dreamliner since January 16. Teams of investigators are fanning out and crossing paths.

There are now several investigations underway, run by two countries. This week a Japanese team flies to Everett, where officials of the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are also gathered. Japanese authorities are working on the smoke incident that forced a plane loaded with passengers to land in Japan. It’s the fire that caused the FAA to ground the Dreamliner.

American investigators are in Japan. The American side is focused on the Boston fire. The battery involved in that fire was an original. Delivered inside a brand-new plane on December 20, it overheated and burned after 169 flying hours. News organizations reported that the batteries on the 787s had already been changed many times before the planes were grounded. Boeing said this week that replacements were part of regular maintenance. But the company said that replacements were occurring at a "slightly higher" rate than expected.

Next week wiring from a 787 that caught fire on the ground in Boston heads to Paris with an NTSB investigator. The part is a battery contactor, which connects a wiring bundle from the airplane to the battery. The contactor is going to its manufacturer, Thales, which is based in a Paris suburb.

The Japan Transport Safety Board issued a report  Jan. 22, 2013, about the battery smoke incident that forced the landing of an All Nippon Airways flight in Japan. This is an unofficial translation of that document by a staff member at the agency, supplied to KUOW. The official report in Japanese is below.