When we last left off, the auxiliary power unit (APU) of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner parked at Boston’s Logan Airport had caught fire, purportedly melting a Lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery module.
It would not be the last of the commercial airliner’s—or even Japan Airlines’—problems, however. The very next day (Jan. 8), in fact, a second Japan Airlines (JAL) 787 suffered a fuel leak, and its flight out of Boston’s Logan International Airport was canceled.
On Jan. 9, United Airlines personnel reported a problem with one aircraft in its fleet of six Boeing 787 Dreamliners. The wiring issue was reported to be in the same area as the battery fire on JAL’s airliner. On the same day, All Nippon Airways (ANA), Japan’s largest airline, canceled a 787 flight due to a brake issue, defined as a “glitch in the brake computer.”
On Jan. 13, the same JAL 787 that leaked fuel in Boston on Jan. 8 was discovered, during an inspection at Narita International Airport near Tokyo, to have leaked 26 gallons of fuel; a different valve on the same plane was leaking, just five days later.
On Jan. 16, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner operated by ANA made an emergency landing. The eight crew members on board revealed that a “burning smell” was detected in the cockpit and parts of the cabin, and smoke had activated alarms in the forward area of the plane.
Amidst all these issues, all roughly 50 Boeing 787 Dreamliners were grounded and several investigations were launched. This geek is amazed at the international aerospace community’s cooperation to resolve these issues and make the 787 safe for its passengers.