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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-14-124
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: Require Boeing 787 operators to incorporate guidance about the enhanced airborne flight recorder stale data issue in their maintenance manuals to prevent stale data from being used for maintenance activities or flight recorder maintenance.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Unacceptable Action
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: 2/26/2019
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Unacceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 2/26/2019
Response: We note that you determined that it is not necessary to require the recommended guidance material because data collected by the EAFR is not used for maintenance activities or flight recorder maintenance. You made this determination because the 787 Central Maintenance Computing Function (CMCF) system, which applies fault logic to set airplane maintenance messages and accurately assesses 787 system readiness and activity, is not based on EAFR data. Further, you argue that the relevant airplane maintenance manuals provide corrective actions using CMCF system fault messages, and EAFR data is not used for maintenance activities; rather, EAFR data is only analyzed to determine whether the EAFR is able to record, not to determine corrective actions or to perfom maintenance activities. Therefore, you concluded that stale data on the EAFR has no impact on the integrity of the airplane maintenance process. We disagree with your determination, and we do not understand how a maintenace department will determine if a problem with the flight recorder system has been fully resolved without examining the EAFR data. In addition, Advisory Circular (AC) 20-141B, “Airworthiness and Operational Approval of Digital Flight Data Recorder Systems,” Chapter 3, “Continued Airworthiness Requirements,“ contains your guidance to periodically review the data recorded to ensure that the system is recording properly. This guidance appears to indicate that the operator’s maintenance program should perform a task that your October 22, 2018, letter says is not an approved maintenance activity. We note that, based on your determination, you believe that you have effectively addressed Safety Recommendation A-14-124 and consider your actions complete. We do not believe that you have taken any action to satisfy Safety Recommendation A-14-124, which is classified CLOSED--UNACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/22/2018
Response: -From Daniel K. Elwell, Acting Administrator: This is our final response to Safety Recommendation A-14-124 and in further response to Safety Recommendations A-14-125 and -126. These recommendations were issued by the Board on December 1, 2014, and this response supplements all previous letters. The Board issued these safety recommendations as a result of an incident that occurred on January 7, 2013, in which a Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8, JA8297, was parked at a gate at General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts, when maintenance personnel observed smoke coming from the lid of the auxiliary power unit battery case, as well as a fire with two distinct flames at the electrical connector on the front of the case. No passengers or crewmembers were aboard the airplane at the time, and none of the maintenance or cleaning personnel aboard the airplane were injured. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) worked with Boeing to investigate and address the enhanced airborne flight recorder (EAFR) issues identified by this incident. To do so, the FAA used the definition of "stale data" provided by the Board in the Aircraft Incident Report related to this incident, Auxiliary Power Unit Battery Fire Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8, JA829J, reference number AIR-14-01 , adopted November 21 , 2014. In this report, the Board explains stale data as follows: The EAFR has an integral flight data acquisition function, which receives data from various sources and then transmits those data to the flight data recorder (FDR) function according to a predetermined schedule for storage into crash-protected memory. If no new value has been received since the last time that a parameter's value was sent to the FDR function, the flight data acquisition function continues to transmit the last value received from the source. These data are referred to as "stale data." Using this definition, the FAA and Boeing agreed that FDR data can be stale, which Boeing addressed by providing operators with a document titled 787 Recording System Parameters, Rev C, published November 17, 2014. This document includes guidance about the potential risk of recording stale data, as well as how to detect it. However, the FAA also determined that the Board's recommendation to require the incorporation of guidance material preventing operators from using stale EAFR data for maintenance functions is not necessary, as data collected by the EAFR is not used for maintenance activities or flight recorder maintenance. The 787 Central Maintenance Computing Function (CMCF) applies fault logic to set airplane maintenance messages and accurately assess 787 system readiness and activity. This fault logic is not based on EAFR data, and the relevant airplane maintenance manuals provide corrective actions utilizing CMCF system fault messages rather than EAFR data. EAFR data is only analyzed to determine whether the EAFR is able to record, not when ascertaining corrective actions on the airplane, flight recorder maintenance, or other maintenance activities. Therefore, we conclude that stale data on the EAFR has no impact on the integrity of the airplane maintenance process.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 9/27/2016
Response: We note that you and Boeing agree that the recording of stale data that we found in our investigation is not compliant with Part 25 standards, or with the requirements of Part 121, Appendix M, “Airplane Flight Recorder Specifications.” We further note that Boeing and its supplier investigated this issue and discovered that these deficiencies in recording flight and voice data were introduced after initial certification, when a replacement part for a component was introduced. Finally, we note that you are continuing to work with Boeing to develop and implement a corrective action plan to address these issues. We believe the corrective action plan must address resolving the specific components that caused this problem as well as why relevant FAA and Boeing procedures did not identify this issue before the replacement component part was introduced. Pending development and issuance of a corrective action plan that fully addresses the issue of stale data being recorded, including identifying and correcting the procedures that did not identify this problem before it was incorporated into the recorders on the aircraft, Safety Recommendations A-14-124, -125, and 126 remain classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 7/6/2016
Response: -Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA is continuing to work with Boeing to identify appropriate corrective actions to address A-14-124 and -126. Concerning A-14-125, the FAA and Boeing agree that the enhanced airborne flight recorder records stale data and is not compliant with certain Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations Part 25 standards, and thereby also does not meet the applicable requirements of Part 121, Appendix M, Airplane Flight Recorder Specifications. Boeing and its supplier further investigated and discovered that these deficiencies in recording flight and voice data were introduced after initial certification, when a replacement part for a component was introduced. The FAA will work with Boeing to implement a corrective action plan to address stale data. I will keep the Board informed of the FAA's progress on these recommendations and provide an update by July 31, 2017.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/16/2015
Response: We note that you are working with the Boeing Aircraft Company to investigate and address the enhanced airborne flight recorder issues in these recommendations. Pending completion of actions that satisfy each of the recommendations, Safety Recommendations A 14 124, -125, and -126 are classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/24/2015
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA is working with Boeing Aircraft Company to investigate and address the enhanced airborne flight recorder issues referenced in these recommendations.