Fears are growing that laptops and other large electronic devices could explode in a plane’s cargo hold … and bring the aircraft down.
Now air passengers may be banned from putting their laptops and other larger electronic devices in suitcases that go in cargo holds.
Tests have shown that if a lithium battery becomes faulty, catches fire and is stored next to an aerosol it could spark an explosion.
Now the race is on to bring in a new ban to try to stop it from happening.
According to CBS News the Federal Aviation Administration in the USA wants the devices banned from being stored in the cargo holds of international flights.
It is now urging the United Nations to enact that ban in the next two weeks.
It’s not the laptop the FAA is worried about, it’s the power source. Laptops, tablets, cameras and mobile phones are all powered by lithium ion batteries.
The FAA says it’s not a good idea to put those devices in a suitcase that is stored in aircraft cargo holds because those batteries can explode, creating a fire that’s hard to put out.
Fires generated by those batteries are difficult to douse because the batteries give off a gas that ignites and keeps burning at temperatures close to 1,110 degrees Fahrenheit which is called thermal runaway.
Lithium ion battery fires are thought to have been responsible for the loss of three cargo aircraft since 2006.
A research paper detailing 10 tests conducted by the FAA on laptops with lithium ion batteries stored in a suitcase shows what could happen in the cargo hold of a passenger jet.
If a lithium battery in a checked bag overheats next to an aerosol or nail polish remover it can generate a fire that burns so hot some airlines couldn’t put it out.
In one FAA test, an 8oz aerosol can of dry shampoo was strapped to an overheated laptop. It exploded in 40 seconds.
Former pilot Ross Aimer who is now the chief executive of Aero Consulting Experts said: “Having seen the devastation that these batteries can cause I think every airline pilot is thinking about it and they would welcome this decision by the FAA.”
For more on this story go to http://wncn.com/2017/10/31/faa-urging-un-to-ban-laptops-from-check-baggage-on-international-flights/
AvSax fire containment bags designed to deal with fires in electronic devices are now on board several major US carriers.
They have been deployed on aircraft 20 times so far this year.