The crew of a United Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight approaching Paris last month received an overheat warning stemming from the aircraft’s lithium-ion battery.
Boeing confirmed the incident on Dec. 1 but said that it was not a repeat of the problems its 787 Dreamliners have experienced in the past with their powerful lithium-ion batteries, which prompted a worldwide grounding of the planes in January 2013 and triggered a federal safety investigation.
The Aviation Herald first reported the problem on Nov. 30, saying that it occurred Nov. 13 aboard a United Airlines flight 915 from Washington D.C.’s Dulles Airport to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in Paris as the plane was descending for landing.
According to The Aviation Herald, the main lithium battery in the aircraft was “was found venting fluid (and) dripping fluid from the forward vent relief system.”
A Boeing spokesperson told the Puget Sound Business Journal that the incident stemmed from “a fault with a single cell in the plane’s main battery” but said that it wasn’t a safety of flight issue.” The flight landed at CDG safely. The airplane remained in Paris for 96 hours before returning to Dulles.
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners took a revolutionary approach to aircraft design by replacing many of the heavier hydraulic power systems onboard with powerful lithium-ion batteries. This created a lighter, more fuel-efficient airplane that allows carriers to haul more passengers for less money.
In 2013, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) took the rare action of grounding the Boeing 787s after Japan’s top two airlines suspended all of their Dreamliner flights following a lithium-ion battery fire that forced an All Nippon Airlines flight to make an emergency landing.
That emergency was preceded by another emergency just a week earlier when a lithium-ion battery fire erupted onboard a Japan Airlines 787 on the runway at Boston’s Logan Airport.
According to The Aviation Herald, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) does not plan to investigate the incident.