Former inspector general says FAA dropped the ball on Boeing batterieson January 30, 2013 @ 8:07 am (Updated: 8:56 am - 1/30/13 )
that would be used inside the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. According to the former Inspector General of the Department of Transportation, the FAA at the same time gave Boeing permission to use the troubled batteries.
"[The FAA] knew right from the start," former inspector general Mary Schiavo told Seattle's Morning News.
That's when, according to Schiavo, the FAA made a unique decision. Knowing that thermal events could occur with the battery - if it is not charged enough or charged too much - then smoke, a fire, or an explosion could occur, they set out one stipulation for Boeing.
Boeing needed to provide a system that contained the smoke, fumes, heat, that would occur as a result from a thermal event in the battery.
For that, Schiavo explained, "Boeing said they had a system for that, but obviously the system didn't work."
Schiavo said that she worked on a review of the 777 - and that the plane was very powerful. The 787, she said, was even more efficient, cheaper to run and lighter, which meant the battery had to be even more powerful than that for the 777. "[The battery] is five times more powerful in terms of electrical generation."
According to Schiavo, the FAA's regulations usually say you must eliminate the possibility of fire and explosions. "But the assurances were there that the battery events could be contained and the problem is that once you have this thermal event what you have to do is cool it, and apparently you can't cool it fast enough in the environment it operates in naturally."
Schiavo said the handling of the battery's problem is a departure for the FAA, "for allowing a system that could overheat, catch fire, or in some cases explode, but they were going to allow it to be contained."
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