Boeing not the first to have issues with lithium batteries

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Boeing's 787 is not the first airplane to have issues with lithium ion batteries. The FAA ordered Cessna to take them out of their small jets just over a year ago because of fire hazard.

According to aviation expert Mary Schiavo, Cessna got the okay in 2007, the same year as Boeing, to use the batteries in its citation jets. But in October of 2011, there was a battery fire in a Cessna citation.

Schiavo says the FAA did not ground the Cessnas but gave a short deadline to switch to conventional batteries.

Back in 2007, in a special conditions document, the FAA points out:

"Other users of this technology, ranging from wireless telephone manufacturing to the electric vehicle industry have noted safety problems with lithium ion batteries."

These problems include overcharging, over-discharging, and flammability of cell components.

Tonight, overcharging is being blamed for the two battery incidents with Boeing 787s. Boeing is not speculating on what the battery problems include, but released this statement:

"there are multiple backups to ensure the system is safe.  These include protections against over-charging and over-discharging."

There are also reports tonight that Boeing's competitor, Airbus, is keeping an eye on this battery issue, as Airbus plans to use lithium ion batteries in it's new A350.

The FAA approved the lithium ion batteries in 2007. You can read their original action here. and find their report on the Cessna batteries here.

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