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Battery Fire Risk Prompts FAA to Ground Boeing Aircraft in U.S.

When Americans board airplanes, they are putting their lives into the hands of pilots, airlines and aircraft manufacturers. But even when pilots do their jobs safely and even when planes are manufactured according to industry regulations, victims could still be injured or killed in accidents when aircraft design defects go ignored or are not addressed immediately.

In order to protect pilots, crewmembers and passengers from being harmed in potential accidents caused by aircraft defects, the Federal Aviation Administration announced last week that all Boeing 787 Dreamliner jetliners are banned from flying in the U.S. until Boeing addresses a defect issue with the Dreamliners' lithium ion batteries. Other countries have issued similar bans until the problem is resolved.

The FAA stated that all 787 Dreamliners must cease operations until Boeing can prove that the aircrafts are safe to fly. The decision to temporarily ground all of the planes was made after several concerning problems with planes were reported within the past few weeks.

According to reports, a Dreamliner in Boston caught on fire after a battery failed earlier this month. A few days later, an airline reported that a fuel leak was discovered when testing a 787 Dreamliner. Another test revealed that one of the planes had a crack in it. However, the most concerning issue involves the battery on the 787 Dreamliner. The FAA said that Boeing must determine whether a defect could cause the batteries to catch fire. If a defect is discovered, the defect will need to be fixed in order to ensure the safety of those who fly on the planes.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the company's first jetliner to come equipped with lithium ion batteries. Although technical problems are nothing new when it comes to flying planes, especially newer models, major risks must always be addressed in order to avoid catastrophic accidents.

Source: Los Angeles Times, "FAA regulators ground all Boeing 787 Dreamliners," Tiffany Hsu and Hugo Martin, Jan. 16, 2013

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