Japanese investigators now say the battery inside the Boeing 787 that forced an emergency landing was not overcharged as originally thought.
A check of the flight recorders showed the main lithium-ion battery did not exceed the maximum 32 volts it is designed to handle. That means this main battery and the auxiliary battery that caused a fire inside a 787 in Boston might have had similar issues.
It could be good news for Boeing if the issues are related and the investigation can take one track as opposed to the multiple tracks it is now on. The battery at Logan International Airport was also not overcharged.
The battery that forced the emergency landing in an All Nippon Airways flight did suffer an unexplained drop in voltage.
All Boeing Dreamliners remain grounded as the investigations continue. Japanese investigators continue to focus on the battery manufacturer in Kyoto. American investigators are looking at the entire electrical systems, including the battery charger.
Meanwhile in the U.S., a top senator who oversees the nation’s aviation system says hearings are likely to try and get to the bottom of the problems plaguing Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) told The Hill the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee would likely focus on the battery problems that led to the grounding of the entire 787 fleet, even if the Federal Aviation Administration clears the next generation jet to return to service.
The committee will take a close look at the FAA’s oversight of the 787 Dreamliner and the approval to use highly flammable lithium-ion batteries on board, a congressional aide told Reuters in an email.
The FAA and other worldwide aviation agencies ordered airlines to stop flying the 787 last week after a series of incidents involving potential electrical fires sparked by batteries that help power the large airplane.
Rockefeller said he had spoken with Washington Senator Maria Cantwell, chair of the aviation subcommittee about holding hearings. He said Tuesday that lawmakers would be looking into questions like “What happened? How come? […] How come everything leaks?,” The Hill reported.
Rockefeller said the hearings would come soon, but it will be important for more information to come to light first before launching their own investigation.
“When you have anything of that sort, you have to really prepare for the hearing,” Rockfeller said. “You don’t just sit down for the hearing and start screaming and yelling. You have to have a whole case.”
MyNorthwest.com’s Josh Kerns contributed to this report.