You may be trying to access this site from a secured browser on the server. Please enable scripts and reload this page.
Turn on more accessible mode
Turn off more accessible mode
Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Top Link Bar
NEWS & EVENTS
Speeches & Testimony
Most Wanted List
The Investigative Process
Data & Stats
General Aviation Safety
Assistance to Families & Victims
Operations & Policy
Administrative Law Judges
Strategic Plans & Reports
Safety Recommendation Details
The Investigative Process
Data & Stats
General Aviation Safety
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.
TO THE FEDERAL AVIATION ADMINISTRATION: Work with aviation industry experts to develop or modify design safety standards for large-format lithium-ion batteries to require that sources of excessive heating, including electrical contact resistance from components and connections, be identified, minimized, and documented as part of the design. The standards should include measures for identifying and minimizing potential sources of heating that consider the range of operating temperatures and the most extreme electrical currents that the battery could be expected to experience during repeated charge and discharge cycles.
Original recommendation transmittal letter:
Open - Acceptable Response
Boston, MA, United States
Auxiliary Power Unit Battery Fire Japan Airlines Boeing 787-8, JA829J
Addressee(s) and Addressee Status:
FAA (Open - Acceptable Response)
Safety Recommendation History
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 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.
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.”
-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.
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 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.
Strategic Plan, Performance & Accountability Reports & More
Directions to Conference Center
Web Policies & Notices
Annual Review of Aircraft