Safety Report – 12/31/2007

Date & Time: 12/29/2007 04:18
Location: Charleston, SC
Aircraft Type: McDonnell Douglas MD-88 Registration: N960DL
Operator: Delta Air Lines Flight: 1269
Phase: Taxi
Damage: Unknown
Injuries & Fatalities: none
Description: While taxiing into the gate, the right wingtip hit the left wingtip of another aircraft – N579SW an Skywest Airlines Embraer EMB-120ER

Source: FAA
Correctness of this posting is not guaranteed & completeness not intended. This posting is just for informational purpose.

The Risk of Battery Incidents

Many people in aviation forums are claiming that the new spare battery rules to reduce the risk of fires would be “stupid” and “disproportionately”, but actually these rules are needed and indeed making sense! In the past several incidents regarding batteries have been reported.

Following just a few examples.

A passenger passed a 9V alkaline battery to the flight attendant, which was becoming increasingly hot. The flight attendant could not hold the battery in her/his hand because of the heat intensity. The battery was placed on a magazine, carried to the galley and placed in a cup of ice.

During flight a spare battery exploded in the cabin. Nobody was injured and the aircraft was not damaged, with the exception of a seat cushion.

A checked bag catched fire during boarding. The bag in flames and all remaining luggage of the passanger was removed. It was later determined by the fire department that the fire was caused by a battery pack for a PSP handheld (Sony Playstation Portable) along with a bundle of wires/cables.

On a Cessna Skylane 182 the pilot heard a sharp explosion and saw a cloud of smoke in the baggage compartment.
The pilot was using a portable intercom at the time and had changed the 9 Volt alkaline batteries before flight. He had thrown the used batteries into his flight case for disposal at home. The batteries had shorted out on a metallic piece of the flight case and exploded.

On a Cessna Skyhawk 172 a spare 9 Volt alkaline battery was stored in a accessory bag. The battery had been removed from its packaging in case it was needed. The unprotected battery terminals had come in contact with the zipper of the cotton accessory bag, shorting the battery and setting the fibric around the zipper on fire.

On February 7, 2006, United Parcel Service Company (UPS) flight 1307, a McDonnell Douglas DC-8-71F,2 N748UP, landed at its destination airport, Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, after a cargo smoke indication in the cockpit. The airplane and most of the cargo were destroyed by fire after landing.
The National Transportation Safety Board determined that the probable cause of this accident was an in-flight cargo fire that initiated from an unknown source, which was most likely located within cargo container 12, 13, or 14.
A number of secondary (rechargeable) lithium batteries, were found loose and in laptop computers and cell phones in the accident debris.
Although it could not be determined whether lithium batteries played a role in the UPS cargo fire, public hearing testimony and the continued occurrence of incidents involving these batteries on board airplanes suggest the need for greater attention to the risks posed by transporting these batteries on commercial aircraft. A review of FAA and Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) records shows that the number of both secondary and primary lithium battery-related incidents, many of which involved laptop computer fires that resulted from either internal or external short-circuiting of the secondary lithium batteries, has increased consistently over the years. The increasing popularity of portable electronic devices suggests that lithium battery-related incidents, particularly those involving secondary lithium batteries, will continue to increase. The Safety Board concludes that testing and incident data indicate that lithium batteries can pose a fire hazard.


Lithium Batteries Banned as of Jan 1st

To help reduce the risk of fires, passengers in the US will no longer be able to pack loose lithium batteries in checked luggage beginning Jan. 1, the Transportation Department announced.

The Federal Aviation Administration has found that fire-protection systems in the cargo hold of passenger planes can’t put out fires sparked in lithium batteries.

There are basically two types of lithium batteries: secondary (rechargeable) and primary (nonrechargeable). Secondary lithium batteries, which are commonly used in items such as cameras, cell phones, and laptop computers, contain lithium ions (charged molecules) in a flammable liquid electrolyte. Halon suppression systems (the only fire suppression systems certified for aviation) are effective in extinguishing fires involving secondary lithium batteries.
Primary batteries, which are commonly used in items such as watches and pocket calculators, contain metallic lithium that is sealed in a metal casing. The metallic lithium will burn when exposed to air if the metal casing is damaged, compromised, or exposed to sustained heating. Primary lithium battery flammability tests conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) have shown that Halon suppression systems are not effective in extinguishing fires involving primary lithium batteries. Both primary and secondary lithium batteries are regulated as hazardous materials for the purposes of transportation.
Currently, the Safety Board is unaware of any fire suppression system that is effective on primary lithium battery fires.

Passengers can still check baggage with lithium batteries if they are installed in electronic devices, such as cameras, cell phones and laptop computers. If packed in its original retail packaging or plastic zip-lock bags, spare batteries may be in carryon baggage. Packing the batteries will prevent unintentional short-circuiting and fires. The limit is two batteries per passenger.

Spare battery tips:

  • Pack spare batteries in carry-on baggage. In the passenger compartment, flight crews can better monitor safety conditions to prevent an incident, and can access fire extinguishers, if an incident does happen.
  • Keep spare batteries in the original retail packaging, to prevent unintentional activation or short-circuiting.
  • For loose batteries, place tape across the battery’s contacts to isolate terminals. Isolating terminals prevents short-circuiting.
  • If original packaging is not available, effectively insulate battery terminals by isolating spare batteries from contact with other batteries and metal. Place each battery in its own protective case, plastic bag, or package. Do not permit a loose battery to come in contact with metal objects, such as coins, keys, or jewelry.
  • Only charge batteries which you are sure are rechargeable! Non-rechargeable batteries are not designed for re-charging, and become hazards if they are placed in a battery charger. NEVER attempt to recharge a battery unless you know it is rechargeable.
  • If you have already charged a non-rechargeable battery, do NOT bring such a battery on board an aircraft.
  • Use only chargers designed for your type of batteries. If unsure about compatibility, contact the product manufacturer.
  • Take steps to prevent crushing, puncturing, or putting a high degree of pressure on the battery, as this can cause an internal short-circuit, resulting in overheating.

The following rules apply to the spare lithium batteries you carry with you in case the battery in a device runs low:

  • Spare batteries are the batteries you carry separately from the devices they power. When batteries are installed in a device, they are not considered spare batteries.
  • You may not pack a spare lithium battery in your checked baggage
  • You may bring spare lithium batteries with you in carry-on baggage
  • Even though it’s recommend carrying your devices with you in carry-on baggage as well, if you must bring one in checked baggage, you may check it with the batteries installed.

The following quantity limits apply to both your spare and installed batteries. The limits are expressed in grams of “equivalent lithium content.” 8 grams of equivalent lithium content is approximately 100 watt-hours. 25 grams is approximately 300 watt-hours:

  • Under the new rules, you can bring batteries with up to 8-gram equivalent lithium content. All lithium ion batteries in cell phones are below 8 gram equivalent lithium content. Nearly all laptop computers also are below this quantity threshold.
  • You can also bring up to two spare batteries with an aggregate equivalent lithium content of up to 25 grams, in addition to any batteries that fall below the 8-gram threshold. Examples of two types of lithium ion batteries with equivalent lithium content over 8 grams but below 25 are shown below.
  • For a lithium metal battery, whether installed in a device or carried as a spare, the limit on lithium content is 2 grams of lithium metal per battery.
  • Almost all consumer-type lithium metal batteries are below 2 grams of lithium metal. But if you are unsure, contact the manufacturer!

The National Transportation Safety Board earlier this month said it could not rule out lithium batteries as the source of UPS flight 1307 fire on Feb 8, 2006 at Philadelphia International Airport.

Read NTSB Safety Recommendation

Visit also –The Risk of Battery Incidents– for further battery related incident reports.

Source: AP; US Department of Transportation

Boeing and British Airways Finalize Contract for 24 787 Dreamliners

Boeing and London-based British Airways have finalized an order for eight Boeing 787-8s and 16 787-9s, raising the total number of 787s ordered worldwide from 766 to 790 and taking the 787 order book past the 787th mark. The order is valued at $4.4 billion at list prices. British Airways also placed options for 18 787s and purchase rights for an additional 10.
British Airways first announced its selection of the 787 Dreamliner as a key element of its long-haul fleet renewal last September. The carrier also announced in September that it will power its 787s with the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000.

British Airways Boeing 787

Source & Photo Credit: Boeing

Safety Report – 12/28/2007

Date & Time: 12/25/2007 22:34
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Aircraft Type: Boeing 757 Registration: N/A
Operator: United Airlines Flight: UAL69
Phase: Unknown
Damage: Minor
Injuries & Fatalities: none
Description: Declared an emergency due to a cracked windshield, returned and landed without incident

Date & Time: 12/23/2007 09:48
Location: Chicago (Midway), IL
Aircraft Type: Boeing 737-83N Registration: N321TZ
Operator: American Trans Air – ATA
Phase: Standing
Damage: Minor
Injuries & Fatalities: none
Description: While parked at the gate overnight, was blown into a belt loader – nose gear door damaged

Source: FAA
Correctness of this posting is not guaranteed & completeness not intended. This posting is just for informational purpose.

Pic of the Day – Aeroflot Cargo MD-11

This is the very first MD-11F for Aeroflot Cargo, almost ready for delivery. It was previously registered to Garuda Indonesia (PK-GII) and Varig (PP-VQF). Aeroflot Cargo has acquired 8 MD-11s, to be delivered till 2009 – 5 Varig, 2 Finnair converted to freighters by Boeing and leased from Boeing Capital and 1 MD-11 from yet unknown source.

Merry Christmas!

To all aviation enthusiasts, readers and visitors of this website(s) – I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous year 2008.

Thanks for stopping by and enriching this website with your comments and submissions! Please keep it up and I hope to see you again in 2008.

Finally some nice Christmas Greetings from the official transport of Santa Clause 🙂

50th Anniversary of 707 First Flight

Yesterday Boeing has marked the 50th anniversary of the first flight of its 707 jetliner, and the point in commercial aviation history when propellers gave way to the jet age and air travel became affordable and available.
On a typically cold and rainy Northwest Friday afternoon Dec. 20, 1957, Boeing’s chief of flight test Tex Johnston, his copilot Jim Gannet and flight engineer Tom Layne sat on the drenched runway at Renton Municipal Airport in the first production 707, checked weather reports and waited for the chance to take the new airplane up for its maiden flight.
At 12:30 p.m., the decision was made to go. But as the 707 climbed over the city of Renton, the unpredictable weather immediately closed in around the airliner and forced a landing at nearby Boeing Field after just seven minutes in the air. Later that day, the sky cleared enough for the crew to take the 707 up for a 71-minute flight. This historic day was the culmination of five years of hard work and gut-wrenching decisions. With the 707, Boeing President William Allen and his leadership team had “bet the company” on a vision that the future of commercial aviation was in jets.

Boeing 707 First Flight

The prototype model 367-80 or “Dash 80” led to a revolution in air transportation. Although it never entered commercial service itself, the Dash 80 gave birth to the 707 series of jetliners. Much larger, faster and smoother than the propeller airplanes it was replacing, the Boeing 707 quickly changed the face of international travel.
The first commercial 707s, labeled the 707-120 series, had a larger cabin and other improvements compared to the prototype. Powered by early Pratt & Whitney turbojet engines, these initial 707s had range capability that was barely sufficient to cross the Atlantic Ocean. Boeing soon introduced the long-range 707-320 Intercontinental that in May 1959 flew 5,382 miles nonstop from Seattle to Rome in 11 hours and 6 minutes. A number of variants were developed for special use, including shorter-bodied airplanes and the 720 series, which was lighter and faster with better runway performance.
Pan Am World Airways was the first 707 customer, signing up for 20 Boeing 707-120s in October 1955. In 1962, Pan Am also took delivery of the last 707-120 series airplane. Production of commercial 707s ended in 1978 after 878 had been built. The number rose to more than 1,000 by 1994, when limited production of military variants ended. Most civil 707s left in service today have been converted to freighters, while a number are used as corporate transports. Approximately 130 remain in commercial service.

Source / Credit: Boeing

Vietnam Airlines orders 10 A350 XWB and 20 additional A321

Vietnam Airlines has signed a contract for 10 A350-900 XWBs, as well as for 10 additional A321s. This announcement follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the aircraft on 1st October 2007 in the presence of Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of Vietnam during his state visit to France. An additional 10 A321s covered under the MOU have now been confirmed as firm orders for the new Vietnam Aircraft Leasing Company, in which Vietnam Airlines is a major shareholder.

The respective contracts were signed in Hanoi today by Mr Pham Ngoc Minh, Chief Executive Officer of Vietnam Airlines, and Mr Tran Long, Chief Executive Officer of Vietnam Aircraft Leasing Company, with John Leahy, Chief Operating Officer – Customers.

Vietnam Airlines has steadily and efficiently built a modern Airbus fleet in recent years and currently operates 10 A320s, 11 A321s and three A330s (two -200s and one -300) on an extensive regional and domestic network. Four previously ordered A321s are still to be delivered.

Source: Airbus

Qantas orders 31 Next-Generation 737-800

Boeing and Qantas Airways today announced a final agreement for the order of 31 Boeing Next-Generation 737-800 jetliners. The order is valued at US$2.3 billion at Boeing list prices.
This is the largest single 737 order placed by Qantas for the Next-Generation 737. The airline previously ordered 38 737-800s in increments over the past six years.
Today’s order brings the airline’s order total with Boeing to 51 airplanes during 2007, including an order posted last month in which Qantas contracted for 20 787-9 Dreamliners, which the airline initially announced in July.

Qantas Boeing 737-800 Next-Generation

Source: Boeing
Photo Credit: Boeing