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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-14-036
Details
Synopsis: On January 7, 2013, smoke was discovered by cleaning personnel in the aft cabin of a Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8, JA829J, which was parked at a gate at General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts. About the same time, a maintenance manager in the cockpit observed that the auxiliary power unit (APU)—the sole source of airplane power at the time—had automatically shut down. Shortly afterward, a mechanic opened the aft electronic equipment (E/E) bay and found “heavy smoke” and a “small flame” coming from the APU battery case.1 No passengers or crewmembers were aboard the airplane at the time, and none of the maintenance or cleaning personnel aboard the airplane was injured.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Develop a policy to establish, when practicable, a panel of independent technical experts to advise on methods of compliance and best practices for certifying the safety of new technology to be used on new or existing aircraft. The panel should be established as early as possible in the certification program to ensure that the most current research and information related to the technology could be incorporated during the program.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Unacceptable Response
Mode: Aviation
Location: Boston, MA, United States
Is Reiterated: No
Is Hazmat: No
Is NPRM: No
Accident #: DCA13IA037
Accident Reports: ​Auxiliary Power Unit Battery Fire Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8, JA829J
Report #: None
Accident Date: 1/7/2013
Issue Date: 5/22/2014
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Open - Unacceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/29/2019
Response: -From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: We acknowledge the Board's concern and believe the Federal Aviation Administrator (FAA) should have access to additional expertise when it is necessary to develop methods of compliance for certifying new technologies. As you requested, we have reconsidered our response to this recommendation. The FAA believes that changes enabled by the realignment of the Aircraft Certification Service (AIR), through our ATR Transformation Initiative, offer us the ability to achieve the intent of this recommendation. As part of this realignment, we established the Center for Emerging Concepts and Innovation (CECI). The CECI is tasked with coordinating the FAA 's aircraft certification research portfolio, aligning strategies for safe integration and certification of broad categories of new and emerging product concepts and technologies, and coordinating engagement with companies well before they submit an application for product certification. This focus on early engagement between FAA staff and industry will allow the FAA to gain critical insights into the companies· specific new concepts and technologies and facilitate the development of a robust certification basis for their products. We are currently working with a number of companies within the CECI framework as we continue to implement new processes and procedures that reflect best practices from our initial early engagements. Specific to this recommendation, CECI processes will call for project managers to identify instances when the concepts and technologies under discussion with a company extend beyond the expertise of the existing FAA technical team, and raise this issue for management attention. FAA management will then have the awareness and discretion to assign available technical expertise to the team or obtain additional expertise when necessary. This could be accomplished in a number of ways. In cases where FAA does not have the expertise on staff, we may choose to hire additional expe11s or engage appropriate consultants to advise our teams. We may also choose to engage the assistance of appropriate Federal departments or agencies who have the requisite expertise to advise our teams. Based on our reconsideration and subsequent actions, I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation and consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 6/21/2017
Response: In our investigation of the lithium battery fire mentioned above, we found that, when certifying the Boeing 787, FAA certification staff members relied primarily on Boeing’s expertise and knowledge to define the necessary tests and analyses for the special conditions associated with lithium battery design certification. We found that, in developing the special conditions, you did not use independent technical experts that were available from government, private organizations, or academia, such as the national laboratories of the US Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or the Department of Defense. We issued Safety Recommendation A-14-36 after concluding that technical knowledge imparted by independent and neutral experts outside the FAA and aircraft manufacturers, when available through official use only communications or otherwise, could provide you with valuable insights about best practices and test protocols to validate system and equipment safety performance during certification when new technology is incorporated. In your previous letter, dated August 23, 2016, you cited two FAA orders that provide mechanisms for FAA aircraft certification engineers to access expertise that relates to the use of new or novel technology. • FAA Order 8110.116, “Procedures for Requesting Development of SAE Standards,” issued on September 23, 2011. • FAA Order 8000.80A, “Aviation Safety (AVS) Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor (CSTA) and Senior Technical Specialist (STS) Program,” revised on August 20, 2010. When we replied on September 16, 2016, we said these orders existed when the Boeing 787 was certified, yet we still found the problems that led us to issue the recommendation. We asked that you describe the specific revisions made after the recommendation was issued to prevent recurrence of the problems we found. In your current letter, you pointed out that, because the Boeing 787 type certificate was issued on August 26, 2011, and the certification program was initiated well before that, most of the aircraft design decisions were already made prior to Order 8110.116 being issued and Order 8000.80A being revised. We acknowledge that the orders were not available when the Boeing 787 was certified. We reviewed the orders to see if they address the issue of establishing a panel of independent technical experts to advise on compliance methods and best practices to certify the safety of new technology. Our review focused on the situation with the Boeing 787 lithium batteries in which a new technology developed outside the aviation industry was being applied for the first time to commercial aviation. In this case, the independent expertise that your certification efforts needed was not in the aerospace industry, but was in other industries that had used large-scale lithium batteries, such as such as aboard spacecraft, in hybrid and all-electric highway vehicles, military aircraft, US Navy ships, and other large-scale power storage applications. Order 8110.116 establishes procedures for the FAA to request that SAE either develop a new standard or revise an existing standard. The order does not address how to ensure that existing relevant experts outside the aerospace industry are identified and used by SAE when developing these standards, nor that SAE use experts other than just the technical staff of organizations seeking FAA certification. Order 8000.80A describes your program for administering your CSTA and STS staff. Although we fully acknowledge the CSTA program’s value to the FAA’s safety certification process, we do not believe that Order 8000.80A would, in a situation similar to the lithium battery system certification on the Boeing 787, allow you to identify the need for, recruit, and fully integrate a qualified CSTA into the certification program where one in the particular emerging technology area is not already available in the time that was needed. Furthermore, as noted above in the case of the lithium battery on the Boeing 787, the technologies involved may be outside those that the CSTA program could feasibly cover because those experts deal with applications not previously adopted on civil aircraft. Therefore, we conclude that these orders do not satisfy this recommendation. We are aware that you believe that you have fully responded to this recommendation and that you consider your actions complete; however, we ask that you reconsider this decision and take into account that your orders do not specify mechanisms to identify and obtain needed expertise from outside the aerospace industry. We urge you to use independent experts to advise on compliance methods and best practices to certify the safety of new technology on new or existing aircraft, and not just on individuals and organizations seeking to obtain FAA certification. Pending action to satisfy Safety Recommendation A-14-36, it is classified OPEN—UNACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 4/26/2017
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: In our letter dated August 23, 2016. the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) cited two FAA Orders that provide avenues for aircraft certification engineers to access expertise that relates to the new or novel use of technology: • FAA Order 81 I 0.116, Procedures for Requesting Development of SAE Standards, issued on September 23, 2011: and • FAA Order 8000.80A, Aviation Safety (A VS) Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor (CSTA) and Senior Technical Specialist (STS) Program. revised on August 20, 2010. The Orders referenced in the Board's letter dated September 16, 2016. were either not in existence or applied at the time the Boeing 787 was certified. The 78Ts type certificate was issued on August 26, 2011. and the program was initiated well before that. Most of the aircraft design decisions were already made prior to the issuance (in the case of Order 81 I 0. 1 16) and revision (in the case of Order 8000.80A) of these two Orders. The FAA works closely with industry stakeholders and experts to evaluate new technologies. The following initiatives are examples of current efforts to address in-service battery issues on the 787. I. Additive Manufacturing (AM). The FAA requested Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) to work with industry to develop various materials standards that could be adopted for AM parts qualification. In addition, the FAA requested the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) to initiate an industry working group to develop AM certification guidance for aerospace applications. We actively engaged SAE and AIA in early 2015. We have also assigned our Fracture Mechanics CSTA to be part of the FAA's AM National Team. 2. Non-rechargeable Lithium Metal Batteries. At the FAA·s request. RTCA formed a special committee (SC-235) to update the technical standards for the design, test. and other requirements for the non-rechargeable batteries in February 2016. SC-235 is comprised of various technical experts from the aerospace and non-aerospace industry. with an FAA member serving as the Designated Federal Official. Currently. SC-235 is developing standards for the design. test, and related qualifications for the non-rechargeable battery: this will be part of a published RTCA document that the FAA can adopt into a new Technical Standard Order and related Advisory Circular for battery qualification, certification, and installation. 3. All Electric Aircraft (AEA). As a new technology for manned general aviation aircraft and related electrical power supply systems, there is no certification project to discuss. However, the FAA is represented and is actively engaged in the AEA Steering Committee that tasks SAE individual working groups for the development of standards. design. and related test requirements for all electric aircraft and related electrical power generating systems. Current FAA-published guidance and practice is consistent with the intent of this safety recommendation. Therefore, I believe the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation and consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/16/2016
Response: In our investigation of the lithium battery fire on the Japan Airlines Boeing 787 at Logan Airport, we found that, when certifying the Boeing 787, the FAA recognized that use of large scale lithium batteries represented a new technology with associated risks that needed to be adequately mitigated. Therefore, you adopted special conditions to ensure that the risks associated with this new technology were addressed. Although these special conditions were developed with input from various FAA technical staff members and in consultation with members of the RTCA SC-211 committee, FAA certification staff members relied primarily on Boeing’s expertise and knowledge to define the necessary tests and analyses for battery design certification. We found that, in developing the special conditions, you did not use independent technical expertise that was available from government organizations, such as the US Navy or the national laboratories of the US Department of Energy, or from private organizations, such as Underwriters Laboratories. We issued Safety Recommendation A-14-036 after concluding that technical knowledge imparted by independent and neutral experts outside of the FAA and aircraft manufacturers could provide you with valuable insights about best practices and test protocols for validating system and equipment safety performance during certification when new technology is incorporated. Your letter described the various FAA orders and procedures available that permit your certification staff to obtain outside technical expertise when needed. We note that you believe that current FAA-published guidance and practice is consistent with the intent of this recommendation; therefore, you believe that you have effectively addressed the recommendation and consider your actions complete. We agree that you have established mechanisms for taking the actions suggested in Safety Recommendation A-14-036, but we point out that all of the guidance and mechanisms existed when the Boeing 787 was certified, yet we still found the problems that led us to issue the recommendation. Before we close this recommendation, we ask that you describe the specific revisions made after the recommendation was issued to prevent recurrence of the problems we found. Pending a satisfactory description of your specific revisions, Safety Recommendation A-14-036 remains classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/23/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: In our previous response. the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) stated that we would consider the Board 's recommendation internally. Even though we do not have established panels, the FAA participates with experts as well as consensus standards bodies during the proposal stage of developing standards to address new technologies from the position of various stakeholders. The following FAA Orders provide avenues for aircraft certification engineers to access expertise that relates to the new or novel use of technology: • FAA Order 8 110.116, Procedures for Requesting Development of SAE Standards; • FAA Order 1110.77V, RTCA, Inc. (Utilized as an Advisory Committee); and • FAA Order 8000.80A. Aviation Safety (A VS) Chief Scientific and Technical Advisor (CSTA) and Senior Technical Specialist (TS) Program. Past examples where the FAA has reached out to technical experts for advice on methods of compliance include: High Intensity Radiated Fields, icing, and criteria for protection of electrical and electronic systems from the indirect effects or lighting. Also, to aid in developing more focused policy and guidance, the FAA periodically seeks advice from technical experts in additive manufacturing from the following: Wichita State University (WSU). National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). America Makes, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), ASTM International, SAE International. Aerospace Industries Association. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). National Institute of Standards and Technology. U.S. Air Force, and U.S. Navy Naval Air Systems. Additionally, in the composites arena we are collaborating with WSU, NIAR, U.S. Department of Energy (Sandia Laboratories), NASA (strategic plans and goals), Washington State University, DARPA, and composite industry and regulatory working groups to develop composite standards and practices. Nor all requests for aviation standards lend themselves establishing a panel of non-aviation technical experts. However, to the maximum extent possible, we will seek out non-aviation expertise when we task committees such as RTCA. ASTM and SAE. In a recent example. We contacted battery cell manufacturers in the non-rechargeable lithium battery committee (RTCA/SC-235). Current FAA published guidance and practice is consistent with the intent of this safety recommendation. Therefore, I believe the FAA has effectively addressed this safety recommendation and consider our actions complete.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/1/2014
Response: From the report number AIR-14-01 concerning the January 7, 2013, incident, involving a battery fire Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8, JA8297, at Boston Logan International Airport: As stated in section 1.8.2, the NTSB issued Safety Recommendations A-14-32 through -36 to the FAA regarding (1) insufficient testing methods and guidance for addressing the safety risks of internal short circuits and thermal runaway and (2) the need for outside technical knowledge and expertise to help the FAA ensure the safe introduction of new technology into aircraft designs. On August 19, 2014, the FAA responded to these recommendations. In its response letter, the FAA stated that it has been working with RTCA Special Committee SC-211 to revise RTCA document DO-311, “Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Rechargeable Lithium Battery Systems,” to “capture all the enhancements and lessons learned” from the BOS incident, including the need for a test that subject a single cell within a lithium-ion battery to thermal runaway as a result of an internal short circuit. The FAA also stated that, until these revisions are completed, it would use the issue paper process to provide new design applicants with acceptable methods of compliance for conducting tests and analyses to address the potential failure effects of permanently installed, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. The FAA further stated that it was surveying previous approvals of rechargeable lithium battery systems to determine those existing approved designs that require additional testing and/or analysis to ensure that they can mitigate all adverse effects of a cell thermal runaway. In addition, the FAA stated that it was setting up meetings with internal stakeholders to determine how best to implement Safety Recommendation A-14-36. The NTSB is encouraged that the FAA is taking steps to enhance RTCA document DO-311 but is concerned that aircraft installation factors might not be addressed in the document given that DO-311 is a battery-level standard. On the basis of the FAA’s actions, the NTSB classifies Safety Recommendations A-14-32 through -36 OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE pending review of future updates regarding the FAA’s progress in completing the recommended actions.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 8/19/2014
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA agrees with the intent of this safety recommendation and is setting up meetings with internal FAA stakeholders on how to best implement this recommendation. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA•s progress on these safety recommendations and update the Board by September 2015.