February 26, 2024 | Susan Napier-Sewell

Lessons Learned: Aircraft Lithium-ion Battery Ignites in Flight

lithium-ion battery

An in-flight, lithium-ion battery fire occurred, Headcorn Aerodrome, Kent, December 2022.

On December 8, 2022, an in-flight battery fire occurred shortly after an aircraft’s takeoff when its lithium-ion battery caught fire. The fire created significant quantities of smoke and hazardous gases within the aircraft cabin, affecting the ability of the pilot to safely control the aircraft. A passenger, sitting in the right seat, was able to open the cabin door in flight, which reduced the level of smoke in the cabin and the aircraft landed safely.

The AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Bureau) investigation did not identify the cause of the battery fire. The location of the battery within the aircraft’s cabin exposed the occupants to significant hazards when the battery caught fire, as the battery box did not contain the combustion products or heat from the fire.

Notably, a similar airborne battery fire to the same aircraft type and lithium-ion battery type was found to have occurred in Germany, resulting in destruction of the aircraft.

One safety recommendation is made relating to reviewing the installation requirements of lithium-ion main batteries in cabin areas of Non-Part 21 aircraft, to minimize the effect to aircraft occupants following a battery fire.

Content/image source: AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch), “AAIB investigation to Ikarus C42 FB80 Bravo, G-CICF,” published February 22, 2024.

You may download the full AAIB report with this link: Ikarus C42 FB80 Bravo, G-CICF 04-24.

Accident, Investigations
Show Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *