It’s a good bet that in the not-so-distant future aerial drones will be part of Americans’ everyday lives, performing countless useful functions.
As Boeing, its airline customers and federal safety regulators struggled over the past two months to solve problems with the new 787 Dreamliner’s fire-plagued batteries, one player has been strangely silent: Congress.
Israel and the U.S. on Monday carried out a successful test of the next-generation Arrow 3 missile defense system, for the first time sending an interceptor into outer space, where it could destroy missiles fired from Iran.
At the same time the government certified Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners as safe, federal rules barred the type of batteries used to power the airliner’s electrical systems from being carried as cargo on passenger planes because of the fire risk.
U.S. investigators said Wednesday they asked Boeing Co. to provide a full operating history of lithium-ion batteries used in its grounded 787 Dreamliners after Japan’s All Nippon Airways revealed it had repeatedly replaced the batteries even before overheating problems surfaced.
The battery that caught fire in a Japan Airlines Boeing 787 in Boston earlier this month was not overcharged, but government investigators said there could still be problems with wiring or other charging components.
Lithium batteries that can leak corrosive fluid and start fires have emerged as the chief safety concern involving Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, a problem that apparently is far more serious than government or company officials acknowledged less than a week ago.
For the second time in two weeks, a smoking or burning battery has been tied to an emergency aboard a 787. Almost half of the 787s that have been delivered have now been grounded for safety checks.
The Federal Aviation Administration on Friday proposed fining Boeing $13.5 million for failing to meet a deadline to provide airlines with instructions on how to prevent fuel tank explosions like the one that destroyed TWA Flight 800 off the coast of Long Island, N.Y., 16 years ago, killing all 230 people on board.
More than 100 employees of the aerospace company Boeing are volunteering their time to clean up the National Mall.
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