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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-14-115
Details
Synopsis: On January 7, 2013, about 1021 eastern standard time, smoke was discovered by cleaning personnel in the aft cabin of a Japan Airlines (JAL) Boeing 787-8, JA829J, which was parked at a gate at General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport (BOS), Boston, Massachusetts. About the same time, a maintenance manager in the cockpit observed that the auxiliary power unit (APU) had automatically shut down. Shortly afterward, a mechanic opened the aft electronic equipment bay and found heavy smoke coming from the lid of the APU battery case and a fire with two distinct flames at the electrical connector on the front of the case. None of the 183 passengers and 11 crewmembers were aboard the airplane at the time, and none of the maintenance or cleaning personnel aboard the airplane was injured. Aircraft rescue and firefighting personnel responded, and one firefighter received minor injuries. The airplane had arrived from Narita International Airport, Narita, Japan, as a regularly scheduled passenger flight operated as JAL flight 008 and conducted under the provisions of 14 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 129.
Recommendation: TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Work with aviation industry experts to develop or modify existing safety standards related to the design of permanently installed lithium-ion batteries to require monitoring of individual cell temperature and voltage and recording of exceedances to prevent internal cell damage during operations under the most extreme operating temperatures and currents.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Open - Acceptable 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 #: AIR-14-01
Accident Date: 1/7/2013
Issue Date: 12/1/2014
Date Closed:
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Keyword(s): Hazmat

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/15/2018
Response: In previous letters, you told us that the RTCA SC-225’s work to update DO-311 would address Safety Recommendations A-14-114 and -115, and that your revisions to TSO C179a to reference the revised RTCA DO-311 would address Safety Recommendation A-14-116. As discussed above, SC-225 finished revising RTCA DO-311, and you issued the revision to TSO C179a; however, we were not able to find any parts of RTCA DO-311A or TSO C179b that address these recommendations. We note that you continue to work to revise AC 20-184, and these subjects may be covered in the modified AC. Please provide specific references to where DO 311A and TSO C179b address design safety standards that require that sources of excessive heating (including electrical contact resistance from components and connections) are identified, minimized, and documented. Also, direct us to where DO 311A and TSO C179b discuss design safety standards that require monitoring individual cell temperature and voltage and recording exceedances to prevent internal cell damage during operations under the most extreme operating temperatures and currents. If neither RTCA DO 311A nor TSO C179b address these issues, please tell us how you plan to satisfy these recommendations. Pending your completing the actions in Safety Recommendations A-14-114 through -116, they remain classified OPEN--ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 9/20/2018
Response: -From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) agrees that consistent and standardized test methods are necessary to facilitate certification of new aircraft designs that incorporate a permanently installed rechargeable lithium- ion battery. For new transport airplane certification projects, the FAA issues special conditions for applicants whose designs include rechargeable lithium-ion or other lithium based batteries. These special conditions provide adequate certification standards. The FAA worked with RTCA to approve a revision to RTCA 00-3 11 , Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Rechargeable Lithium Battery Systems, for large battery systems. On December 19. 2017, the RTCA released RTCA 00-3 11 A, which contains abuse tests that subject a single cell within a permanently installed, rechargeable lithium-ion battery to thermal runaway and demonstrate that the battery installation mitigates all hazardous effects of propagation to other cells and release of electrolytes, fire. or explosive debris outside the battery case. The tests will replicate the battery installation on the aircraft and be conducted under conditions that are considered to produce the most severe outcome. The FAA incorporated RTCA 00-311 A into the revision of Technical Standard Order (TSO)-C 179a. Permanently Installed Rechargeable Lithium Cells, Batteries and Battery Systems. TSO-C l79b was released on March 23. 2018 and is available at the following website: http://rgl.faa.gov/Regulatory_and_Guidance_Library/rgTSO.nsf/0/67 FF4FD73B2DEF078625825F00716B87?0pen0ocument. On October 15, 20 1 5, t he FAA issued Advisory Circular (AC) 20-184, Guidance on Testing and Installation of Rechargeable Lithium Battery and Battery Systems on Aircraft. to provide guidance for complying with the special conditions to meet the installation, operation, maintenance, and airworthiness requirement s for installation of lithium batteries on aircraft. AC 20- 184 invokes RTCA 00-31 1 and RTCA 00-347. Certification Test Guidance for Small and Medium Sized Rechargeable Lithium Batteries and Battery Systems, and also provides guidance on how to obtain installation approval for permanently installed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and battery systems on aircraft. The FAA is revising AC 20-184 to invoke RTCA D0-31lA as one means of compliance to the special conditions regarding rechargeabe lithium-ion battery systems. Until the AC 20-184A revision is released, the FAA will utilize issue papers to inform applicants of the effects of battery cells going into thermal runaway. In the meantime, all current projects will utilize RTCA D0-31 l A and RTCA 00-347 as a means of compliance. The 17AA expects the revised AC 20-184A to be released in December 2018. The FAA is reviewing the in-service performance and methods of compliance used to certify permanently installed rechargeable lithium-ion batteries on in-service aircraft to determine design/installation and certification details. This review, supplemented by a review of service difficulties, has not yet identified a need for corrective airworthiness action. We will continue to monitor permanently installed rechargeable lithium-ion battery system performance as part of our normal continued operational safety processes.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/28/2016
Response: We note that you are working with the RTCA’s Special Committee 225 to develop improved specifications, design standards, and testing methods for lithium-ion batteries and to update RTCA DO-311, “Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Batteries.” We further note that, after issuing the revision to RTCA DO-311, you will reference it in an update of Technical Standard Order (TSO) C179a, “Permanently Installed Rechargeable Lithium Cells, Batteries, and Battery Systems,” and in other associated certification guidance documents. Pending the issuance of the revisions to RTCA DO-311, Safety Recommendations A-14-114 and -115 remain classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE. Pending the revisions to TSO C179, Safety Recommendation A 14-116 remains classified “Open—Acceptable Response.”

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/6/2016
Response: -Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The 787 incident cited by the Board pertains to permanently installed rechargeable lithium batteries. Therefore, to address these recommendations, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is continuing to work with Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics (RTCA) Special Committee 225 (SC-225) industry experts to conduct research and develop improved specifications, design standards, and testing methods for permanently installed lithium-ion batteries and battery systems. The SC-225 has been working to update the current RTCA D0-311, Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Batteries. The draft revision to RTCA D0-311 is expected to be released in December 2016. Following issuance of the final revision to RTCA D0-311, it will be referenced in an update to Technical Standard Order C179a, Permanently Installed Rechargeable Lithium Cells, Batteries, and Battery Systems, and associated certification guidance documents for applicants. The experts of SC-225 will decide how to best address and incorporate these recommendations into the updated R TCA DO-311.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/30/2015
Response: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) notice of proposed special conditions titled “Special Conditions: Honda Aircraft Company, Model HA-420 HondaJet, Lithium-Ion Batteries,” which was published in 80 Federal Register 19889 on April 14, 2015. As the FAA states in its notice, the applicable airworthiness regulations contained in 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 23 do not include adequate or appropriate safety standards for the HondaJet’s installation of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries, which possess certain failure, operational characteristics, and maintenance requirements that differ significantly from that of nickel cadmium and lead acid rechargeable batteries. The proposed special conditions contain the additional safety standards that the FAA administrator considers necessary to establish a level of safety equivalent to that established by the existing airworthiness standards. In 2014, in connection with our investigation of the January 7, 2013, auxiliary power unit Li-ion battery fire on board a Japan Airlines Boeing 787, the NTSB issued two sets of safety recommendations (A-14-32 through -36 and A-113 through -127) to the FAA addressing Li-ion batteries to be used on transport-category airplanes, which are subject to Part 25 regulations, and the certification of new technology. The safety intent of these recommendations also apply to Li-ion battery installations in general aviation airplane types such as the HondaJet. We believe that the proposed special conditions are generally adequate but that proof of their effectiveness is in the applicants’ methods of compliance. The NTSB notes that some of the special conditions need more detail to promote an equivalent level of safety, as intended. For example, proposed paragraph e states “no corrosive fluids or gasses that may escape from any Li-ion battery may damage surrounding airplane structure or adjacent essential equipment.” The NTSB believes that this special condition should explicitly indicate electrical wiring in the list of items that could be damaged. During the investigations of the 787 events, damage to wiring, in addition to structure and equipment, was observed. Proposed paragraph f states that the applicant must provide provision for each installed Li-ion battery to prevent any hazardous effect on structure or essential systems that may be caused by the maximum amount of heat the battery can generate during a short circuit of the battery or of its individual cells. The NTSB believes that provisions must be established to prevent hazardous effects from the maximum heat generated during a battery failure event, regardless of failure mode. Short circuits, as a general class of abuse, can vary in severity and may not represent a worst case scenario. Proposed paragraph g states that Li-ion battery installations must have the following: (1) A system to control the charging rate of the battery automatically so as to prevent battery overheating or overcharging; or (2) A battery temperature sensing and over-temperature warning system with a means for automatically disconnecting the battery from its charging source in the event of an over-temperature condition; or (3) A battery failure sensing and warning system with a means for automatically disconnecting the battery from its charging source in the event of battery failure. The NTSB believes that “and” should replace “or” between subparagraphs (1) and (2) as well as between subparagraphs (2) and (3). Further, consistent with Safety Recommendations A-14-115 and -116, paragraph g should include a provision for monitoring temperatures and voltages at the individual cell level throughout the operating temperature range. This monitoring is to ensure that battery installations prevent hazardous conditions resulting from overcharge but also mitigate the severity of failure conditions that cannot be prevented exclusively via charging controls such as exposure to excessive temperature in operation or internal short circuiting. Such a modification to the proposed language would reflect a level of safety equivalent to Li-ion installations in transport-category aircraft, which the NTSB believes is also appropriate for Part 23 aircraft such as HondaJet. Additionally, subparagraphs (2) and (3) are more likely to identify problems after they occur, whereas subparagraph (1) is more preventive. Proposed paragraph j states “batteries in a rotating stock (spares) that have experienced degraded charge retention capability or other damage due to prolonged storage must be functionally checked at manufacturers’ recommended inspection intervals.” The NTSB notes that recent special conditions for transport-category aircraft state that “the instructions for continued airworthiness must also contain procedures for the maintenance of batteries in spares storage to prevent the replacement of batteries with batteries that have experienced degraded charge retention ability or other damage due to prolonged storage at a low state of charge.” We believe the proposed special conditions should be revised to include provisions for preventive maintenance while in storage, where appropriate, to highlight the potential risk of installing an improperly maintained battery in an aircraft even if it passes the functional checks, which could lead to a thermal runaway condition in operation due to preexisting, undetectable damage. The NTSB notes that another set of recent special conditions for transport-category aircraft included the provision that “precautions should be included in the Instructions for Continued Airworthiness maintenance instructions to prevent mishandling of the rechargeable lithium-ion batteries and battery systems, which could result in short-circuit or other unintentional impact damage caused by dropping or other destructive means.” The proposed special conditions for the Model HA-420 HondaJet do not include this provision. We believe that a similar provision should be added to provide an equivalent level of safety for all Li-ion batteries and installations for all categories of aircraft. Finally, as reflected in Safety Recommendations A-14-32 and A-14-33, we believe that applicable tests should replicate the battery installation on an aircraft and be conducted under conditions that produce the most severe outcome. As the FAA determines compliance with the special conditions, please ensure that these recommendations are taken into account. In closing, the NTSB would like to stress the importance of thoroughly assessing the risks of internal short circuiting in approving applicants’ methods of compliance. We appreciate the opportunity to comment.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/16/2015
Response: We note that you are working with the RTCA’s Special Committee 225 to develop improved specifications, design standards, and testing methods for lithium-ion batteries and battery systems, and that this work is supported by an exisiting research program at your William J. Hughes Technical Center. Pending completion of the recommended actions, Safety Recommendations A-14-114 through -118 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/24/2015
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA continues to work with the RTCA's Special Committee 225 (SC-225) industry experts to develop improved specifications, design standards, and testing methods for lithium-ion batteries and battery systems. Our work with SC-225 is supported by research ongoing at the FAA's William J. Hughes Technical Center and will consider these recommendations.