All of the operational Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the world (50) are now sitting on runways being prodded by men with clipboards, after a series of safety niggles caused worries for air authorities and triggered a global grounding.
The high-tech airliner has a surprisingly low-tech Achilles’ heel — its battery. The current wave of safety concerns centre around the 787′s lithium-ion power cells, which have triggered two serious fire concerns in the last couple of weeks, one leading to an emergency landing and evacuation in Japan.
As anyone who’s disinterestedly scrolled through a tech site in the last few years will know, modern li-ion batteries have been seen to explode and catch fire on the odd occasion. When that happens to a phone it’s a bit of a pain and you get on the local news and you might have to go back to using an old Nokia for a week. No biggie.
Were it to happen in the belly of an aeroplane at 30,000 feet over the Atlantic, it’d cause slightly larger problems. [BBC]