22 JULY 2013
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The Farnborough based Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), the official authority for examining aviation incidents within Britain, has issued a detailed paper regarding an Ethiopian Airlines' Boeing 787 on-board fire 12 July at Heathrow. ####
The AAIB stated that the damage coincides with the location of the aircraft’s Honeywell made Emergency Locator Transmitter (ELT) and its associated system wiring which is mounted internally on structure close to the aircraft skin. Detailed examination of the ELT showed indications of disruption to the battery cells, although it is unclear whether combustion in the area of the ELT was initiated by a release of energy within the batteries or by an external mechanism such as an electrical short.
The AAIB made two recommendations:
Aviation regulators should conduct a safety review of lithium-powered emergency locator beacons in all aircraft types. It suggested that the US Federal Aviation Administration ensure the power is turned off in all Honeywell-made ELT systems in Boeing Dreamliners.
The UK probe is now focused on the possible role played by moisture and condensation in the 787 cabin. www.aaib.gov.uk
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