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Updated Tuesday, January 15, 2013 at 11:07 AM

NTSB returns 787 to JAL for repair

By Dominic Gates
Seattle Times aerospace reporter

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Monday it has released the Boeing 787 Dreamliner that caught fire a week ago back to Japan Airlines (JAL).

Airline spokeswoman Carol Anderson said JAL is inspecting the jet and doesn’t yet know how long it will take to repair it and return it to service.

The NTSB is examining the burned-out battery at a lab in Washington, D.C., where it will be disassembled this week.

The battery underwent an X-ray CT scan at an independent test facility this weekend “to document the internal condition of the battery prior to disassembling it,” the agency said in an update on its inquiry into the fire.

Investigators also removed burned wire bundles, the battery charger and several electronic-control memory modules.

The two combined flight-data and cockpit voice recorders from the jet were taken to NTSB headquarters as well. The flight data is being analyzed by the investigative team.

The 12-hour, 20-minute flight from Tokyo to Boston’s Logan International Airport landed less than half an hour before the fire broke out, though all 183 passengers and crew had disembarked.

A separate NTSB team focused on the emergency response to the incident at Logan, interviewing firefighters and documenting the airport rescue and firefighting efforts to extinguish the blaze.

The NTSB update said that despite receiving training on the Boeing 787, they “reported experiencing difficulty accessing the battery for removal during extinguishing efforts.”

Helping the NTSB with the investigation are Boeing, the Federal Aviation Administration, JAL, battery maker GS Yuasa of Japan, battery and charger-system supplier Thales of France, and the U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center’s Carderock Division in West Bethesda, Md., a Navy engineering facility.

Dominic Gates: (206) 464-2963 or dgates@seattletimes.com


NTSB
The charred lithium-ion battery for the auxiliary-power unit on the JAL Dreamliner.




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