As Ethiopian Airlines, Qatar Airways and other Boeing 787 customers are returning their Dreamliners to service with battery system modification kits, the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is still looking for the cause of the January 7 APU battery fire aboard a Japan Airlines 787 parked at Boston Logan International Airport.
Lithium-ion polymer battery
Gulfstream Aerospace has chosen Securaplane’s lithium-ion battery as standard equipment on its new G650 business jet. The multi-million-dollar deal marks the first time a Gulfstream aircraft will feature the technology, proven some 50-percent lighter than conventional NiCad or lead-acid batteries and carrying a higher energy density.
Major airframers and component suppliers have instituted new research programs and initiatives to develop electric propulsion for light aircraft. The consensus among the participating parties is that battery and motor technology offering similar performance and endurance of small piston engines is roughly 10 years away.
Lithium batteries, as used in cellphones, laptops and other electronic equipment, have been in the news recently, as airlines have severely limited their carriage on aircraft due to the hazard of fire. So it might not seem an opportune time to begin marketing a lithium battery designed to replace nicad and lead-acid aircraft batteries.
Former Securaplane executive Mark Lukso has started Lux Aviation Engineering. The Tucson, Ariz. company’s first products designed for the business aviation market are main ship and emergency/standby Kokam lithium polymer batteries.