Mid-Continent Instrument (Booth No. 3636) has received FAA and EASA approval for its new True Blue Power TB17 advanced lithium-ion engine start and main ship battery. The TB17 is the first lithium-ion battery to receive certification for general aviation applications. The 16-pound battery is designed for light turbine and piston aircraft and weighs up to 45 percent less than lead-acid or nicad batteries. The company says the TB17 is designed for less maintenance, lower cost and longer life than traditional batteries.
The Rechargeable Battery Association (PRBA) urged the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a January 12 letter to promptly complete its review of pending rules designed to bring the U.S. into compliance with ICAO on methods of transporting lithium batteries aboard civil aircraft. Citing the prohibition of lithium batteries aboard passenger aircraft, the PRBA said it sees no reason why the government should delay rule harmonization any longer.
The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau is investigating what caused smoke to pour from a main battery vent aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 on January 14. The manufacturer developed a fix for its lithium batteries after last year’s fleet grounding, so the work now is focused on whether the fix actually worked and prevented a larger fire, or whether the smoke and the associated battery alarms were indicative of some other issue.
On September 26, Aircare Solutions Group (Booth No. N1736) held a grand opening for its new emergency procedures training facility in Long Beach, Calif. The new facility is equipped with Aircare’s Facts VIII full-motion cabin simulator, the company’s largest, as well as hypoxia awareness trainers, a walk-in fire trainer and BBJ slide and exits.
Mid-Continent Instrument’s True Blue Power division introduced two new lithium-ion main-ship batteries yesterday, designed for jets, turboprops, piston airplanes and helicopters. The new 28-volt batteries come in two sizes: the TB44 (44 ampere hours) and TB17 (17 ampere hours), and can be seen at Mid-Continent’s NBAA exhibit (Booth No. C10040). These new batteries, which will be certified and ready for deliveries in the fourth quarter this year, are first being offered to aircraft manufacturers and not yet to the aftermarket.
The Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) hopes that testing the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is conducting will identify a limit for the number of lithium batteries that can be safely transported by cargo aircraft.
The July 24 report by the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA) on the Sept. 3, 2010, crash of a UPS Boeing 747 in Dubai urges operators of the Boeing freighter to consider the role aircraft vibrations and the acoustical energy they generate might play in onboard lithium-ion battery fires. While GCAA investigators suspect an onboard battery fire brought down the aircraft, they did not pinpoint the cause in their conclusions.
The FAA-approved Boeing service bulletin for the 787 calls for modification of the charger and battery monitoring unit to narrow the acceptable level of charge. In essence, this means lowering the maximum charge allowed and raising the minimum level of discharge allowed. In other words, it cuts the performance gain the lithium-ion technology is supposed to bring.
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.
Flight operations specialist François Lassale, managing director of Vortex FSM, has cast doubt on the wisdom of pilots’ depending on iPads in the cockpit. “Some operators are so caught up in iPad fever they’re not thinking about the complexities the units add to flight operations when they’re used in the cockpit,” he told AIN.
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