A different type of battery than the one that caused the worldwide grounding of the Dreamliner fleet could be this time the reason of the on board fire of an Ethiopian B787 last Friday at Heathrow Airport – UK.
We are talking about the Emergency Locator Transmitter – ELT Battery. This device, used to locate the aircraft in case of accident, is powered by self contained batteries, independent of the lithium-ion ones that caused an electrical fire on board an All Nippon Airways 787 and several other incidents that caused the grounding of the Dreamliner fleet all over the world.
Manufactured by Honeywell International, the emergency locator transmitters had been under scrutiny by the Federal Aviation Administration, who recommended them being replaced because the device failed in tests, anyway ignition risk was not the cause of the failure. Honeywell is now joining the U.S. investigators to determine if the model used on the Ethiopian Dreamliner is the one suspected of causing problems.
Investigators and safety officials said that this the first time that an ELT transmitter is investigated suspected of causing an aircraft fire.
Richard Aboulafia, an aviation consultant said that “Unless the company can say for sure that the incident is isolated to this particular aircraft, it’s not welcome news, the one systematic problem to plague the Dreamliner is that so many of its technologies are new that it is very difficult for the regulators to fully grasp all the changes,”