Fire in the Sky

Aerospace professionals the world over are focused on three little words: Lithium ion batteries. Even the collective interest of the defense community (more on that later) is piqued about potential power problems. Alliteration aside, Boeing’s 787 battery has captured the attention of aerospace geeks, government agencies, and the traveling public.

In case you haven’t heard about the latest trouble with the infamous Boeing 787 Dreamliner, here’s the scoop. It all started early this month, in the morning hours of Jan. 7 to be more precise, a Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787 Dreamliner landed and parked at Logan International Airport in Boston. Passengers and crew had deplaned, a mechanic was doing a walk-through when he noticed light, but increasing, smoke emanating from the plane’s underbelly.

Emergency crews were called, and firefighters arrived to find what they described as a “fairly significant fire condition” in the compartment that houses the auxiliary power unit (APU). Chief Robert Donahue of Massport Fire Rescue Department speculated, when questioned after the fire had been extinguished, that one of two batteries in the Boeing 787 Dreamliner’s APU had exploded.

News and social media outlets were flooded with questions and commentary—and concern. Tweeters were actively re-tweeting commentary and photos surrounding the event from sources such as the Boston Fire Department (@BostonFire), which aided Massport Fire Rescue during the event.

Aerospace geeks of virtually all ranks and specialties were called upon to make suppositions and recommendations—and, hopefully, quell fears. The fire was out, but it had sparked a controversy. Read on; this geek has much more.

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Posted January 28th, 2013, by

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About J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

J. VanDomelen holds a Bachelor of Science in Information Systems and myriad certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTia in varying facets of computer software, hardware, and network design and implementation. He has worked in the electronics industry for more than 12 years in varied fields, including advanced systems design of highly technical military and aerospace computer systems, semiconductor manufacturing, open source software development, hardware design, and rapid prototyping. J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

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Commented on January 29, 2013 at 4:00 pm
By Murphy’s Law « J. VanDomelen Mil/Aero Blog

[…] we last left off, the auxiliary power unit (APU) of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked at Boston’s Logan Airport had caught fire, purportedly melting a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) […]

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