WSJ: Laptop Dangers Draw Scrutiny From Airline-Safety Regulators

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Date: Tuesday, August 15th, 2006, 09:25
Category: battery

It appears that notebook computer batteries are the latest focus of airline safety regulators after a series or high profile explosions, fires and recalls in recent months. Could the airlines ban all electronics from commercial flights? It’s unlikely as business travelers (the most lucrative category for the troubled airlines) would surely revolt. A WSJ article (sub. req’d) goes into the details and why you may want to skip the after market batteries:

Although the risk is small, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has documented 339 cases of lithium and lithium-ion batteries for portable electronics overheating, emitting smoke and fumes or exploding since 2003. There is no record of a serious injury or death, but the Federal Aviation Administration has logged 60 incidents since 1991. In the past two years, six incidents have occurred on aircraft, including five fires and an overheated flashlight that had to be handled with oven mitts.

In February, a United Parcel Service Inc. plane full of packages — including lithium-ion batteries — was engulfed in flames while landing in Philadelphia. Investigators haven’t reached a final ruling on the cause but continue to closely examine the melted shipment of batteries. In October 2004, a plane carrying Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards made an emergency landing after a lithium-ion battery exploded in the hand of a television newsman.

Worries about the possible dangers are serious enough that the National Transportation Safety Board held a two-day hearing in July in Washington to discuss the safety of lithium-ion batteries on passenger and cargo planes and the investigation into the UPS fire. No formal proposal for new regulations has yet been put forward, but regulators are discussing options ranging from tightening manufacturing guidelines for the batteries to potentially restricting their use on

WSJ.com – Laptop Dangers Draw Scrutiny From Airline-Safety Regulators

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It appears that notebook computer batteries are the latest focus of airline safety regulators after a series or high profile explosions, fires and recalls in recent months. Could the airlines ban all electronics from commercial flights? It’s unlikely as business travelers (the most lucrative category for the troubled airlines) would surely revolt. A WSJ article (sub. req’d) goes into the details and why you may want to skip the after market batteries:

Although the risk is small, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has documented 339 cases of lithium and lithium-ion batteries for portable electronics overheating, emitting smoke and fumes or exploding since 2003. There is no record of a serious injury or death, but the Federal Aviation Administration has logged 60 incidents since 1991. In the past two years, six incidents have occurred on aircraft, including five fires and an overheated flashlight that had to be handled with oven mitts.

In February, a United Parcel Service Inc. plane full of packages — including lithium-ion batteries — was engulfed in flames while landing in Philadelphia. Investigators haven’t reached a final ruling on the cause but continue to closely examine the melted shipment of batteries. In October 2004, a plane carrying Vice Presidential candidate John Edwards made an emergency landing after a lithium-ion battery exploded in the hand of a television newsman.

Worries about the possible dangers are serious enough that the National Transportation Safety Board held a two-day hearing in July in Washington to discuss the safety of lithium-ion batteries on passenger and cargo planes and the investigation into the UPS fire. No formal proposal for new regulations has yet been put forward, but regulators are discussing options ranging from tightening manufacturing guidelines for the batteries to potentially restricting their use on

WSJ.com – Laptop Dangers Draw Scrutiny From Airline-Safety Regulators

technorati tags:, , ,

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