REMARKS / Lithium ion batteries now front & center with the NTSB: Public forum scheduled for April 12-13 with all five members part of a “Board of Inquiry” – both their “use” (e.g., and “shipping” of them. COMMENT: Between multiple earlier “shipping” incidents of combustion in flight, and two recent occurrences of 787 Dreamliner combustion during their “use” in auxiliary power units, the NTSB is taking a leading role in the response – complementing and perhaps superseding the policy role of the FAA.

This past week’s announcement of the public forum caps much NTSB attention to the phenomenon of the lithium ion battery’s risks of combustion during flight. See Federal Register announcement here.

Most recently, the safety agency has taken a high profile role in the aftermath of the lithium ion battery combustion incidents in “use” in auxiliary power units of the 787 at Narita and Logan Airports, respectively. This led to an “Interim Factual Report” on March 7, 2013. See report copy here.

The public forum announced this past week will encompass such “use” in APU’s – but extends also to lithium ion batteries as freight as well (and not restricted to the air cargo context. See agenda released by NTSB with panels and subjects to be addressed here.

Quite clearly this NTSB initiative intrudes upon the subject matter currently the subject of FAA rule-making as regards “shipping” of lithium ion batteries by air. See past posts on this blog here and here.