Fire Reported on JAL 787 Dreamliner in Tail at Boston

Battery Fire on JAL 787 Dreamliner

Battery Fire on JAL 787 Dreamliner

Battery Catches Fire on JAL Boeing 787 after landing in Boston

Japan Airlines (JAL) flight 8 safely arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS), today, January 7, 2013. However, about 25 minutes after arrival, a mechanic spotted smoke coming from the rear cargo hold of the aircraft.

According to sources at Massport, a battery caught on fire in the compartment which houses the auxiliary power unit, a small engine commonly known as the APU. The primary battery on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner is located in a forward avionics bay.

A picture of the aircraft was taken and Tweeted by the Boston Fire Department via their Twitter account @BostonFire.

Cargo Hold of JAL Boeing 787 in Boston - Courtesy: Boston Fire Dept | Twitter @BostonFire

Cargo Hold of JAL Boeing 787 in Boston – Courtesy: Boston Fire Dept | Twitter @BostonFire

Massport Fire and Rescue received notification at approximately 10:30am and responded. Massport Fire and Rescue and the Boston Fire Department quickly extinguished the fire. However, the fire was said to be ‘fairly significant’ according to Massport Fire Rescue.

The Federal Aviation Administration released a statement, “The fire was reported after the passengers and crew had exited the aircraft. There were no injuries reported.”

Aircraft incidents such as this are required to be investigated. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is sending a team from Washington, D.C., to Boston, to investigate the cause of the fire on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

The batteries used are lithium ion, a source of controversy in commercial aviation. As to the actual problem and full chain of events leading to the fire, we feel it is best not to speculate and allow the NTSB to conduct their investigation.

This is the fourth electrical problem on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in the past 35 days. In December, a United Airlines Boeing 787 flying from Houston (IAH) to Newark (EWR) made an emergency landing at New Orleans (MSY) after experiencing problems with the power system.

We have contacted JAL for a statement and have yet to received an answer.

UPDATE: JAL Flight 7 from Boston Logan (BOS) to Tokyo-Narita (NRT) has been officially cancelled by JAL. Initially they were optimistic and declared a “long delay” due to maintenance of the aircraft.

Now JAL has released the following advisory:

Due to maintenance of aircraft, JL007 Boston (BOS) – Tokyo (NRT) on January 7th has been canceled.

[Canceled Flight] JL007 Boston (BOS) – Tokyo (NRT)

[Original scheduled departure] 07JAN13 (MON) 12:00PM, Eastern Time

For the most updated information, please visit our website or call 1-800-JAL-BELL (1-800-525-2355).

We appologize (sic) for any inconvenience this may cause our valued customers.

January 7, 2013

Japan Airlines

As far as JAL Flight 8 on January 8, 2012, it appears to be scheduled using Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner equipment and the flight will depart Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) airport from Terminal 2, Gate 81, for its daily flight to Boston Logan International Airport (BOS).

What is being done to address these electrical problems?

Boeing, the manufacturer of the 787 Dreamliner, has indicated the aircraft is experience “teething problems”. The so-called teething problems here appear much more serious than previous new aircraft launches, such as the Boeing 777.

However, Boeing has not said much else about the reports of electrical problems and we have yet to receive any information – even a statement – from JAL of the Boston incident.

Aside from United Airlines, other Boeing 787 operators expressing concern of the aircraft electrical system include Qatar Airways and LAN Chile.

We will provide an update once additional information is known.

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One Response

The rechargeable batteries, widely used in consumer devices, have some pilots worried because batteries being shipped as cargo are suspected to have caused or contributed to the severity of fires in cargo planes.

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