Jan 22, 2013 11:41 PM by Rebecca Taylor

NTSB testing Boeing 787 charger in Southern Arizona

ORO VALLEY - Investigators are in Oro Valley visiting a business that has a tie to Boeing and those grounded 787 Dreamliners.

All 50 Dreamliners in operation have been grounded because of two recent incidents.

In one case a battery caught fire. But NTSB tests show it was not overcharged.

Investigators are at Securaplane Technologies in Oro Valley for some testing.

The company makes chargers for the batteries.

Investigators arrived Tuesday and News 4 has confirmed they will remain in Tucson for several days.

We also talked with an aviation expert, for insight on the feds' inquiry.

"The most serious threat is the possibility of a fire," said retired commercial pilot Jim Tilmon.

He called the 787 an advanced and sophisticated aircraft. Challenges he said are expected.

"There's a challenge with the batteries. Unfortunately with this airplane, batteries are the life-blood of the airplane. Very little in the way of hydraulics, almost everything is electrical," said Tilmon.

The lithium-ion battery itself is made in Japan. The charger being investigated is made here locally.

The NTSB released this statement to News 4:

"The charger and start power were made by Securaplane. It will be functionally tested and the memory will be downloaded." said Kelly Nantel, NTSB Director of Public Affairs.

Tilmon said the investigation is standard, citing multiple challenges with other new aircraft not nearly as revolutionary as this.

"Like the DC-10 when it first came out, the 727 when it first came out, and when the Lockheed Electra came out," said Tilmon.

"This one little hick up, caused them to ground the airplane because of the threat for fire. But that doesn't mean the airplane has a problem," said Tilmon.

After their investigation in Tucson, the NTSB will head to Pratt and Whitney Power in Phoenix. They made the plane's auxiliary power unit controller.


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