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Safety Recommendation Details

Safety Recommendation A-14-127
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: Either remove the current exception to European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment ED-112A, “Minimum Operational Performance Specification for Crash Protected Airborne Recording Systems,” chapter I-6 in Technical Standard Order 123B, “Cockpit Voice Recorder Equipment,” or provide installers and certifiers with specific guidance to determine whether a cockpit voice recorder installation would be acceptable.
Original recommendation transmittal letter: PDF
Overall Status: Closed - Acceptable 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: 11/15/2016
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status: FAA (Closed - Acceptable Action)
Keyword(s):

Safety Recommendation History
From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 11/15/2016
Response: We are aware that, on July 21, 2016, you published AC 20-186, “Airworthiness and Operational Approval of Cockpit Voice Recorder Systems,” which included updated installation guidance addressing the poor quality of the in-flight portion of the CVR in a newly certified aircraft, as recommended. We believe that the AC contains good guidance, and that, if the guidance were applied to the Boeing 787 CVR installation, the installation would fail in multiple ways. Although we are concerned that, without a requirement, we could continue to see this problem in future investigations, we believe that the AC satisfies the intent of Safety Recommendation A 14 127, which is classified CLOSED—ACCEPTABLE ACTION.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 10/19/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is pleased to inform the Board that on July 22. 20 16, we issued Advisory Circular (AC) 20-1 86. Airworthiness Operational Approval of Cockpit Voice Recorder Systems, which contains specific guidance to installers on how to determine acceptable installed performance of the cockpit voice recorder (CVR). This AC is available at rgl.faa. gov. During the public comment period, we received and reviewed more than 100 comments from aircraft manufacturers, installers. operators. and others in the aviation industry, including the Board. We have adopted your comments to harmonize our guidance with industry standards by incorporating into AC 20-1 86 the installed performance requirements of ED-11 2A. AC 20-186 cancels AC 25.1 457-1 A. Cockpit Voice Recorder Installations, issued on November 3, 1969. and includes guidance for small aircraft and helicopters as well as transport category aircraft. This comprehensive installation guidance material should enhance the quality of recordings for future CV R installations. I believe that the FAA has effectively addressed this recommendation and consider our actions complete.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 5/20/2016
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA reviewed existing cockpit voice recorder policies and installation guidance addressing the quality of the inflight portion. We determined that our Technical Standard Order (TSO) guidance is appropriate. As previously stated, the FAA published TSO-C123c, Cockpit Voice Recorder Equipment on December 19.2013. Section I-6.1 of European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment ED-11 2a concludes with the following sentence: "However, certain performance parameters may be affected by the physical installation and can only be confirmed after installation." This makes inclusion of Chapter 1-6 inappropriate and justifies its exception in the text of TSO-C 123b and TSO-C 123c. However, we found our existing installation guidance contained in AC 25.1457-1 A, Cockpit Voice Recorder Install actions, dated November 3, 1969, warrants an update. The FAA is developing AC 20-CVR with updated installation guidance to include installed performance in actual operation. This new AC will cancel AC 25.1457-1 A when it is published in 2016. I will keep the Board infom1ed of the FAA's progress on these recommendations and provide an update by May 31, 2017.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 12/8/2015
Response: CC# 201501092: The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has reviewed the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) draft Advisory Circular (AC) 20-CVR, “Airworthiness and Operational Approval of Cockpit Voice Recorder Systems,” which was posted for comment on the FAA’s website on November 10, 2015. The draft AC provides guidance to airframe manufacturers, cockpit voice recorder (CVR) systems manufacturers, aircraft operators, and Supplemental Type Certificate applicants to comply with regulations for the airworthiness and operational approval of CVR systems. As a result of the January 7, 2013, fire that started in the auxiliary power unit battery of a Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8, which was parked at a gate at General Edward Lawrence Logan International Airport, Boston, Massachusetts, the NTSB issued the following recommendation to the FAA: Either remove the current exception to European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment ED-112A, “Minimum Operational Performance Specification for Crash Protected Airborne Recording Systems,” chapter I-6 in Technical Standard Order 123B, “Cockpit Voice Recorder Equipment,” or provide installers and certifiers with specific guidance to determine whether a cockpit voice recorder installation would be acceptable. (A-14-127) This recommendation is currently classified “Open?Acceptable Response.” On February 4, 2015, the FAA responded to the recommendation stating the following: The FAA plans to review our existing policies and installation guidance to address the poor quality of the inflight portion of the cockpit voice recording in a newly certified aircraft. Quality recordings of cockpit voice communications are valuable for accident investigation and improving air safety. The FAA provides guidance to facilitate the improvement of cockpit voice communications through the use of Technical Standard Orders (TSO) and ACs. TSOs document design requirements for devices intended for installation and use aboard aircraft. A manufacturer obtains an approval to manufacture a device under a TSO to perform a given function. However, TSO approval does not give authority to install that device in a given aircraft. Because the FAA mentions ACs as a way to address CVR quality, the NTSB suggests, at a minimum, this draft AC provide more detailed guidance to manufacturers and operators with methods to verify CVR quality.

From: NTSB
To: FAA
Date: 4/16/2015
Response: This recommendation suggests two alternatives, either of which will address the problem. In your letter, you indicated that you do not intend to take the first alternative (revising TSO C123). We note that you plan instead to review existing policies and installation guidance to address the poor quality of the inflight portion of the cockpit voice recording in a newly certified aircraft. Pending your making the needed revisions to your policies and installation guidance, Safety Recommendation A-14-17 is classified OPEN—ACCEPTABLE RESPONSE.

From: FAA
To: NTSB
Date: 2/24/2015
Response: -From Michael P. Huerta, Administrator: The FAA plans to review our existing policies and installation guidance to address the poor quality of the inflight portion of the cockpit voice recording in a newly certified aircraft. Quality recordings of cockpit voice communications are valuable for accident investigation and improving air safety. The FAA provides guidance to facilitate the improvement of cockpit voice communications through the use of Technical Standard Orders (TSO) and ACs. TSOs document design requirements for devices intended for installation and use aboard aircraft. A manufacturer obtains an approval to manufacture a device under a TSO to perform a given function. However, TSO approval does not give authority to install that device in a given aircraft. The FAA published TSO-Cl23c, Cockpit Voice Recorder Equipment, on December 19, 2013. Section 1-6.1 of European Organization for Civil Aviation Equipment ED-112a concludes as follows: "However, certain performance parameters may be affected by the physical installation and can only be confirmed after installation." As the TSO is intended to document the design and performance of a device that may be installed on a multitude of aircraft, the FAA has consistently avoided burdening device manufacturers with specifics of installations over which they have no control. This forbearance makes inclusion of Chapter 1-6 inappropriate and justifies its exception in the text ofTSO-C123b and TSO-C123c.