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FAA study: Stowing electronics in cargo hold is dangerous

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FAA study: Stowing electronics in cargo hold is dangerous

Unread post by bimjim » Thu Jul 27, 2017

http://www.travelweekly.com/Travel-News ... -dangerous

FAA study: Stowing electronics in cargo hold is dangerous
Robert Silk
July 26, 2017

An FAA study has revealed that stowing personal electronic devices in airplane cargo holds may create fire hazards "beyond what the airplane was designed to manage."

The study was made public on July 17. The FAA undertook the study after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) implemented a ban on carry-on laptops and tablets on flights to the U.S. from 10 Middle Eastern and North African airports.

The DHS announced the official end of the laptop ban on July 21 after each of those airports had complied with a June 28 security directive put forward by the department.

In addition, the DHS said that all 180 airlines and more than 280 last-point-of-departure airports around the world have implemented the first phase of enhanced security measures that Kelly outlined on June 28.

The March 21 implementation of the laptop caused concern within the aviation safety community because it would result in an increase in the number of lithium-battery powered electronic devices in the cargo hold.

Addressing the issue, the FAA Fire Safety Branch conducted tests using fully charge laptops inside suitcases. A heater was placed against a lithium ion cell in laptop battery to force it to rapidly superheat the way a defective lithium battery sometimes does in a spontaneous process known as thermal runaway.

In some cases, the laptop was packed into a suitcase containing clothes but no other hazardous items. In other cases, the laptop was packed in suitcases with permitted hazardous materials such as hair spray and nail polish.

"The results of this test condition yielded the most troubling results," the FAA said.

The agency noted that should an electronic device that has been carrid onto an aircraft initiate a fire, cabin crew is there to identify the problem and take action. That's not the case in the cargo hold.
The agency recommended that electronics be transported in carry-on baggage.

In its June 28 directive, the DHS required airlines to implement enhanced screening of passengers and electronic devices larger than a cell phone, as well as more thorough screening of public areas in airports.

Some of the required measures are visible to passengers, including the use of next-generation screening devices and a larger presence of canines. Other measures, Kelly has said, will be unseen.

The directives were issued as an alternative to the laptop ban.

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