News / USA

Dreamliner Probe Results 'Weeks Away,' NTSB Chief Says

FILE - Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, carrying the first major assembly for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Washington, after the plane's arrival from Italy, April 24, 2007.FILE - Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, carrying the first major assembly for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Washington, after the plane's arrival from Italy, April 24, 2007.
x
FILE - Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, carrying the first major assembly for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Washington, after the plane's arrival from Italy, April 24, 2007.
FILE - Boeing 747 Dreamlifter, carrying the first major assembly for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Everett, Washington, after the plane's arrival from Italy, April 24, 2007.
Reuters
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board is "probably weeks away" from completing its probe into battery problems on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and will share its latest information about the jet on Thursday, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said.

"We will talk about special conditions that were put into effect at the time when the Dreamliner was certified,'' Hersman told reporters at a Wednesday breakfast briefing hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.

All 50 Dreamliners in service have been grounded since Jan. 16 while the NTSB, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and other aviation regulators around the world investigate the battery failures that included one fire. No root cause has been identified.
       
Fire risk on planes has always been a major concern, especially given the amount of fuel they carry and the heat generated by jet engines. U.S. aviation standards require planes to have numerous on-board fire-suppression systems.
       
The FAA in 2007 granted the Dreamliner special conditions and said its contain-and-vent system was sufficient to control the build-up of explosive or toxic gases, except in situations considered "extremely remote.''
       
That decision has come under scrutiny after the lithium-ion batteries in two 787 planes failed within days of each other, sparking a fire in one jet in Boston and generating warnings and an acrid smell that prompted the pilots of the second plane to make an emergency landing in Japan.
       
The NTSB is conducting the U.S. probe with help from Boeing, battery-maker GS Yuasa Corp of Japan, the FAA and battery experts from other U.S. federal agencies, but none of the agencies have yet identified what caused the battery failures on the 250-passenger airliner.
       
Boeing this week asked the FAA for permission to conduct test flights of the 787, suggesting it is making progress in finding a solution to the battery problems, but the government agency has not yet announced a decision.
       
"In essence what happens when an aircraft is certified, it basically gets locked into the standards that are in existence at the time. So the question ... is whether or not as time goes on through the life of the aircraft, do they fly with new standards,'' Hersman said.
       
Hersman declined to comment on a report that she was the White House's top choice to be the next transportation secretary, saying she was focused on her current job.
       
Hersman said the NTSB has been looking at the risks of lithium-ion batteries for some time and has recommended strategies to reduce potential hazards.
       
She said that there will always be advances in technology, but the safety side of that is "to make sure you've done the right risk assessment, that you understand what the failure modes are and that you've mitigated any potential risks."
       
"I would not want to categorically say that these batteries are not safe. Any new technology, any new design, there are going to be some inherent risks. The important thing is to mitigate them,'' she said.

You May Like

Photogallery US to Send 3,000 Troops to Liberia in Expanded Ebola Effort

At US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Obama is to announce troop deployment, other details of US plans to fight Ebola outbreak More

China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

Muslims in Kunming say that they condemn the violence, it is not a reflection of the true beliefs of their faith More

Humanitarian Aid, Equipment Blocked in Cameroon

Move is seen as a developing supply crisis in West Africa More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Communityi
X
September 16, 2014 2:06 PM
Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Americans' Reaction Mixed on Obama Strategy for Islamic State Militants

President Barack Obama’s televised speech on how the United States plans to “degrade and destroy” the group known as the Islamic State reached a prime-time audience of millions. And it came as Americans appear more willing to embrace a bolder, tougher approach to foreign policy. VOA producer Katherine Gypson and reporter Jeff Seldin have this report from Washington.
Video

Video Authorities Allege LA Fashion Industry-Cartel Ties

U.S. officials say they have broken up crime rings that funneled tens of millions of dollars from Mexican drug cartels through fashion businesses in Los Angeles. Mike O'Sullivan reports that authorities announced nine arrests, as 1,000 law enforcement agents fanned out through the city on Wednesday.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid