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Thu, Feb 21, 2013

Japanese Investigators Find ANA Dreamliner Battery Miswired

Transport Ministry Says More Analysis Is Still Needed To Determine Cause Of Battery Fire

The Japanese Transport Ministry said Wednesday that a battery in the auxiliary power unit (APU) aboard an ANA Dreamliner which was forced to make an emergency landing January 16 was incorrectly connected to the main battery that overheated. But they have not said definitely that the miswiring was the cause of the failure.

Investigators said that the plane's flickering wing and tail lights after landing, coupled with the fact that the battery was switched off, led them to conclude that miswiring was allowing current to travel from the APU to the battery in an irregular way. The Associated Press reports that the JTSB said that it still needs to conduct further tests before it is ready to say why the main battery overheated and start smoldering, prompting the emergency landing.

The Board said that a protective valve could have prevented the irregular current flow. They indicated that they have made Boeing aware of their findings.

Meanwhile, Boeing is starting to feel the pinch of the worldwide grounding of its newest airliners, with airplanes starting to stack up on the ramps in both Everett, WA, and North Charleston, SC, waiting for delivery, and more coming off the assembly lines.

Reuters reports that Wall Street is casting an ever-more-wary eye at the company as the grounding drags on. The inability to deliver the airplanes that are coming off the line is costing the company some $200 million per month in final cash payments from customers, and keeping the production lines open is a $1 billion monthly expense to the planemaker. It will also incur extra costs as it works on a permanent fix to the battery problem that caused the grounding.

The company reportedly has a reserve of some $13.5 billion in cash and short-term investments, but analysts say that will be quickly eroded away as the planes continue to sit on the ramps. Boeing holds that it is still too early to determine what effect the 787 grounding will have on its 2013 bottom line.

(ANA Dreamliner pictured in file photo)

FMI: www.boeing.com

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