Expert: NTSB tries to close case on Boeing issues - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Expert: NTSB tries to close case on Boeing issues

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By Stacy Jacobson
sjacobson@abcnews4.com

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCIV) -- The National Transportation Safety Board started investigative hearings in to the Boeing Dreamliner battery issues Tuesday.

The two days of hearings are an "epilogue," according to Former Department of Transportation Inspector General Mary Schiavo. She said the NTSB will "close the book" on Boeing's 787 saga.

"The hearing will help serve for recommendations for the future," she said.

The NTSB wanted to make recommendations by focusing on what Boeing and the Federal Aviation Authority did wrong. The NTSB said the airplane giant missed the mark with its testing, especially because it didn't test for overheating. Investigators ultimately said overheating caused the problems, Schiavo said.

"The testing was too limited. What they needed to do was test for overheating in flight, test for problems with when one cell goes, if it will spread or cascade to other cells in flight and to see if all the systems they had would protect the battery and passengers," Schiavo said.

The lithium-ion-battery technology will be in planes in the future, she said. Boeing has led the way for future guidelines in approving other planes that use the technology, she said.

Meanwhile, Schiavo said the FAA was too absent through the testing process. Boeing facilitated its own safety testing for the 787.

"Had the FAA done a deep dive and seen the testing was limited, they could have played a role and they should have played a role," she said.

She said now Boeing must ensure the aircraft flies without any more problems. The 787 is nearing the one year mark and that's the end of the grace period in aviation, she said.

The investigative hearings finish Wednesday in Washington, D.C.


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