The National Transportation Safety Board has scheduled a forum and hearing in April to look into the viability of lithium ion batteries in airplanes.
The agency also released an interim report of its ongoing investigation into the battery fire aboard a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight.
NTSB Chairman Deborah A.P. Hersman said the report provides a “window” into the agency’s ongoing investigation, which is being held concurrently with redesign and re-certification work by Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration. International investigations are also ongoing.
"The information developed through the upcoming forum and the hearing will help the NTSB and the entire transportation community better understand the risks and benefits associated with lithium batteries, and illuminate how manufacturers and regulators evaluate the safety of new technology," Hersman said.
The FAA grounded all 787 Dreamliners in the United States on Jan. 17, following a decision by Japan Airlines to ground its planes after a fire broke out on one of its flights the day before, making for the second battery fire that month. The previous 787 battery incident occurred on Jan. 7 in Boston. - Jon Ross