Another eventful day for Boeing and the 787. In a surreal twist from yesterday's events, another JAL 787 in Boston experienced a fuel leak mishap as it was taxiing to the departure runaway for the return flight to Tokyo. According to news reports, the aircraft leaked about 40 gallons of fuel by the time it returned to the terminal. Maintenance crews inspected the aircraft and JAL 007 then departed at around 4pm for Tokyo after a delay of 4 hours.
The aircraft from yesterday's incident (ZA183) is still in Boston as the NTSB assigned two more investigators to team looking into the event from yesterday. The team said that the lithium ion battery fire did cause extensive damage in the battery pack area and the damage was confined to no more than 20 inches away from the source. These batteries are used to start the APU. Boeing in a separate statement that this incident is not related to the other electrical issues that the 787 has faced.
However, Jon Ostrower reported that United Airlines, while inspecting the lithium ion batteries in one of their 787s, found that the wiring to the batteries were incorrectly connected. This does not mean that the same condition existed in ZA183 or caused the fire but it may it disturbing nonetheless and would be looked into as a possible cause of the fire by the NTSB. The battery fire may be a design issue with the battery, a one off manufacturing flaw, or incorrect installation or maintenance of the battery among the many root causes that the investigators have to examine. Despite the two incidents in two days, 787s are still in use by customers around the world and Boeing flew ZA430 (LN 73, B-2728) flew a function check flight. Though Boeing is still working with Chinese regulators to certify the 787 for use by that country's airlines. China Southern is still expecting it's first 787 in March though it is unknown if the fire will set back those plans.