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Fri, Jan 25, 2013

NTSB Considers Whistleblower Claims Concerning Dreamliner Batteries

Several Insiders Reportedly Warned About The Lithium Ion Batteries Overheating

Securaplane was rushed into providing non-conforming battery chargers to Boeing for the Dreamliner, according to a whistleblower who was fired six years ago from the company for alleged misconduct. But Michael Leon said he was let go because he raised safety concerns about the battery systems now at the heart of the NTSB's investigation of Boeing's new airplane.

The NTSB says it is currently reviewing information from "more than one whistleblower" as part of its investigation, according to a report from Reuters. Kelly Nantel, the board's director of public affairs, said that looking at whistleblower's accusations is "not uncommon" in such investigations. She said that the board is "pursuing that information where warranted."

Securaplane told the NTSB during a visit to its Arizona headquarters this week that Leon's dismissal had nothing to do with his raising concerns about the battery chargers destined for the Dreamliner. They said he was let go due to "repeated misconduct," a position supported by an administrative law judge. The FAA later concluded that the parts Leon said were non-conforming were prototypes, and were not installed on any airplanes.

Meanwhile, both the House and Senate committees that oversee aviation issues are likely to hold hearings focusing on the FAA's certification process. The Senate Commerce, Technology and Transportation Committee said Tuesday it plans such a hearing, but has not yet scheduled a date. Congressman Rick Larsen, the newly-appointed ranking Democrat on the House Aviation Subcommittee, said that panel would also likely look into the certification process.

FMI: www.ntsb.gov

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