The Federal Aviation Administration is warning that lithium-ion batteries post a serious risk on airplanes if they are checked into baggage. We all know that lithium-ion batteries can pose a serious risk if they overheat, and even though aircraft cargo sections have a system in place that will put out any fires that are started, new tests conducted by the FAA tell us something else.
In a series of 10 tests conducted by the FAA, they determined that if a fire happens next to an aerosol can, it can ignite an explosion that happens before the system has a chance to put out the fire. This could post a serious risk to travelers safety while airborne. Aerosol cans are generally in checked baggage, such as dry shampoo, shaving cream, body spray, and hairspray. The FAA tested lithium-ion battery fires near those various items and found that large fires can form fairly quickly.
The fires can get big enough to where they can knock out the fire containment system out of operation. If the system goes down, there’s nothing left in place to put out the fires, posing a huge risk to safety for travelers. Temperatures could near the melting point of the aluminum, the material that aircraft’s are made from.
In the FAA research paper, the explain that in the worst case scenario, the fire can completely take down the plane, putting lives on both air and ground at risk. Because of this risk, the FA is seeking to have a global ban in place for checked consumer gadgets. They will, however, provide an exemption to get bags checked in for people with special permissions.