Sound Stories. Sound Voices.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
You are on the KUOW archive site. Click here to go to our current site.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Battery Smokes – Again

Boeing Photo

Japan Airlines has yet again grounded one of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner jets after the plane's lithium ion battery started smoking.

The incident comes nearly a year after the worldwide grounding of all 787 jets over other battery fires.

Japan Airlines reported that maintenance engineers were in the cockpit when they saw white smoke outside the plane. When they returned from checking on the smoke outside, warning lights were flashing. One of the main battery’s eight cells had failed, and liquid was leaking out. The failure of that one cell did not result in a fire.

The incident is a blow to Boeing’s 787 program, which was plagued with delays and structural problems. After nearly a year of no incidents, Boeing officials claimed a flawless record since the last problems with the 787.

In a statement on Tuesday, Boeing said the improvements made to the battery system after the smoking incidents appear to have worked. Officials with the aerospace giant told KUOW several days ago that not a single lithium ion battery cell in a 787 had failed since the plane was recertified for flight last spring.

Last year's grounding was sparked by a 787 battery fire on the ground at Boston’s Logan Airport. Later, a smoke incident forced the emergency landing of a plane in Japan. 

The National Transportation Safety Board said it plans to complete its investigation of the Logan fire in March.