A day after a Japan Airlines Dreamliner started spewing out smoke at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, the United States pledged to help Japan with the ongoing investigation on the said Boeing aircraft. Mike Bauer, aircraft systems investigator from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will head to Japan to join the investigation led by the Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB).
The JAL 787 Dreamliner was stationed at the Narita International Airport in Tokyo on Tuesday, two hours before it was to fly to Bangkok. A maintenance crew from Japan Airlines noticed white smoke coming out from the main battery of the aircraft. Upon checking, they saw a battery cell, which appears to have melted. The latest incident is just another one in a long list of incidents involving the Boeing‘s state-of-the-art plane.
Just last year, several incidents of overheating batteries for the state-of-the-art aircraft spurred aviation authorities globally to ground the entire Dreamliner fleet for three months. They were only allowed to operate once again when the battery packs and charging systems were redesigned to ensure that fires from the battery will not endanger the planes. Right now, another Japan carrier, All Nippon Airways (ANA) currently flies 24 Dreamliners and is the world’s leading operator of the aircraft.
Built using carbon-fiber composite materials and a powerful electrical system that rivals no other, Boeing’s latest aircraft was designed to lessen weight and refine fuel efficiency. However, the latest incident at the Narita Airport brought new concerns as to the aircraft’s reliability and safety. An ongoing investigation regarding last year’s slew of incidents involving the Boeing aircraft brought the NTSB to work with the FAA, the Japan Transport Safety Bureau, the French BEA and other technical advisors to determine the cause of battery failure. Results of the investigation are expected to be released by March.