Aviation News

April 19, 2013

NTSB Reveals Details of Boeing 787 Battery Investigative Hearing

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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Another angle of are the burnt Boeing 787 battery that caught fire in Boston. (Photo by NTSB)

On Friday morning, the National Transportation Safety Board revealed the agenda for a two-day investigative hearing on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s battery malfunctions. The Boeing Company, GS-Yuasa and Thales will testify and answer questions from NTSB Board members and technical staff about the design, testing, certification and operation of the lithium-ion battery on the Boeing 787 and the battery fire incident.

Starting on Tuesday, April 23, the first investigation panel will focus on the following topics:

  • Reasons for selecting Li-Ion battery technology and its classification as novel design
  • Process for evaluating battery/battery system as novel design and developing certification requirements (Issue Paper)
  • Applicability of Airworthiness Standards for Equipment, Systems, and Installations (14 Code of Federal Regulations 25.1309)
  • Industry safety standards used in development of certification requirements
  • Certification program timeline and high level compliance plans
  • Prime and subcontractors battery expertise and experience
  • Cell,  battery and charging system design and specifications
  • Design development testing and evaluation

Witnesses appearing during the first day of the hearing include several representatives from the FAA, Mike Sinnett, Vice Presidence, 787 Chief Project Engineer, as well as other representatives from Boeing, Thales (manufacturer of the battery charger), and GS-Yuasa (manufacturer of the lithium ion battery).

Day two of the hearing, scheduled for April 24, will focus on the following topics:

  • Battery, cell, and integrated system testing pertinent to certification (qualification, development, other)
  • Safety Assessments
  • Certification process structure and comparison to prior certification programs
  • Retained and delegated approval authority
  • Oversight of delegation organization / authorized representatives
  • Oversight of validation testing for B787 Li-Ion battery
  • Findings of compliance and review of safety assessments for B787 Li-Ion battery

Further information on the investigative hearing can be found on the NTSB website here [PDF].

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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