Aviation News

January 7, 2013

Japan Airlines 787 Dreamliner Catches Fire In Boston

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Written by: Jason Rabinowitz
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Smoke is seen in the rear cargo door of the Japan Airlines Boeing 787. (Screengrab from WHDH video)

A Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire Monday morning at Boston Logan International Airport. The fire broke out in an electrical compartment of the empty aircraft, which had recently arrived from Japan.

According to the Boston Fire Department’s Twitter feed, a JAL mechanic was performing a walkthrough of the aircraft after passengers had exited when he noticed a “light smoke condition” coming from the belly of the plane. The mechanic notified Massport Fire, which responded at 10:40 am.

The fire was determined to be coming from a compartment that contains batteries and other electrical components, though at this time it is still unclear exactly what caused the fire. Richard Walsh, Assistant Director of Strategic Communications and Marketing at Massport, tells NYCAviation that “it appears that the fire was in the mid-section, where the battery packs are located, and those battery packs power auxiliary units when the aircraft is taxiing.” Walsh added that the aircraft was running on auxiliary power at the time of the incident, and not ground power.

A later report from WSJ said that a battery exploded in the aft electronics bay.

Video at the scene showed smoke coming from the door of the cargo hold. Japan Airlines said only that an investigation is ongoing.

The incident aircraft, registration JA829J, was was delivered just three weeks earlier according to Airfleets.net data, making it the seventh and newest in the Japan Airlines fleet.

Monday’s inicdent is the latest in a string involving the new Boeing 787. Last month, a United 787 en route from Houston to Newark was forced to divert to New Orleans after one of its six generators failed. Back in 2010, a 787 was forced to land when the airplane caught fire during a test flight.

The National Transportation Safety Board said it was sending investigators to examine the aircraft.

About the Author

Jason Rabinowitz



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  • I really hope boeing fixes the issues with the 787 … I really want to fly one one day and at this rate, no airline in its right mind would buy one until they do!