BATTERIES, TRAVEL, and the TSA

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BATTERIES, AIRLINE TRAVEL AND THE TSA 
This section is my devotion to public service for educational purposes and it explains about batteries, their uses in our disposable society, safe transportation and is designed to make you aware of their dangers and pitfalls. The information comes from varying sources, the largest collection from many decades of personal witness, usage and some shocking experiences. 

Since many travel with my battery packs, the subject of air travel is the most common question I get.   Thus I will address the TSA first.  Lots of frequently asked questions and answers with additional information follows.   Being in the battery business, I will integrate some personal experiences with the information to add “some color” to what is usually very boring technical writing.  Enjoy.


DUAL THREAT EMPLOYEES

Let’s put the problem into correct perspective.  911 proved what we knew all along, people want to hurt us and we have to enforce protection where it belongs.   Beheadings, bombings, torture, ISIS, attacks on the freedom loving countries of the world, cold blooded murder all in the name of a false corruption of a gentle religion has raised our awareness to incredible levels.  I call this the international threat.  But new technology like Lithium-Ion batteries creates a whole new gaggle of problems that have to be addressed. On both fronts it is the responsibility of the TSA and the FAA to protect us both from terrorists both domestic and foreign in addition to irresponsibles who don’t follow the rules.  It’s a two headed snake. I call this the domestic threat. 

TESTING PROVED FAULTS IN THE SYSTEM
Recently they have discovered through testing, faults in the system ranging from a 90% failure rate in the detection of hidden guns and dummy explosives  disguised and tucked away making it through.   In addition an incident, and very embarrassing occurred when two agents mis-using the x-ray equipment in a vulgar suggestive way and so forth, and retribution was short and swift. 

The majority of the TSA are really nice people, I have never been mistreated or mis-spoken to.  I get along great with them, I just follow the rules and pay attention. They are just doing their job as instructed but sometimes…they misinterpret.  They do however need to smile more and simple words like, “Thank you, have great flight" might improve their image.

2200 GUNS and BLASTING CAPS CONFISCATED IN 2014
The Transportation Security Administration found more than 2,200 guns in airport carry-on bags in 2014. For context, that’s almost 400 more guns found in 2013, and more than three times the number found in 2005 and over 80 percent of those guns were loaded, and todays best find at the TSA, other than the six guns they confiscated this day, are the blasting caps shown to the right which were then removed from a passenger in Redmond, Oregon,  blasting caps, just add a 9 volt battery, an accelerant like a bottle of booze and you have disaster.

THE SAGA CONTINUES  
Now I have for quite a while a secured TSA global frequent flyer number, a Military Identification for my base, my 50 year old military Nuclear Clearance, from the  Premier Nikita Khruschev days, State and Local endorsed pistol concealed carry permits.

For identification, I am a Certified Weapons trainer, Range Officer Certified, and instructor, my Pilots license and Pilot Medical Certificate.  And I still get selected for additional checking.  I owned my own airplanes, and most important, I have a Gold Secret Decoder ring and ID card issued personally by Captain Midnight. 

They still made me go through the whole drill after the Tampa branch TSA must have had a bad review, last month that  hit the papers and TV.   The X-ray revealed I had a secretive device on me.  

Yes, I did , a 1/2 Oz. 100 dollar plastic bottle of prescription eye drops (cost) buried in my jacket.  I calmly asked if they could forward the X-Rays to my doctor and save my medical insurance some money since they took more pictures than he does.   The agent laughed and was polite. I commented it could see the plastic bottle smaller than a shot glass.  YUP!

DRESS FOR SUCCESS - BETTER IDEA
Now my  usual travel apparel is shown in the picture. Maybe thats what triggers the inspection, how I appeared to them.  Tampa ate me up every time even with TSA pass and enough ID to walk through the Whitehouse.

After casually calling ahead and meeting with a supervisor, showing credentials, she explained they are tested all the time and she hinted my look (see photo) was a trigger.  I am deplaning here in Newark, NJ.

My next trip was Vegas. I dumped the photo jacket, too many useless pockets, more nuisance than usage,  traded my Hi-Altitude Black Lenses Ray-Bans for something studious or nerdish, 16 dollars at the mall and  switched to a short sleeve golf shirt in neutral grey from one of my charities I support.  The Maxpedition was changed to a Swiss Gear small backpack.

I went through the TSA line in five minutes.  Never even got stopped.  Next trip to Vegas, same thing, five minutes, didn’t get the random check excuse coming or going and something can be said about first impressions and profiling.  I really think the trigger was “They knew they were getting random examined and I looked the examiner part”.


TRAVEL IS SOMETIMES ANNOYING - MY PEEVES 

👺   LUGGAGE LOCK  LOTTERY  -  TSA-5, ME-0  -  I had checked my luggage since it had some of the displays from my company and securely locked it with an approved TSA lock I bought that swore on Amazon the TSA had keys and could they could open it.  Past experience told me I would never see this lock again.  On four previous occasions I never saw my locks again.  Complaints were useless.  So I have a new process based on the fact I lost five in two years. 

DEAR TSA - Please get some additional keys and return the locks back to the consumers as they are not yours. Never again will I succumb to the TSA lock scandal since fingernail clippers are legal now.  According to records, no cases recorded of an Airbus 320 being brought down by fingernail clippers severing control cables.  So I have twenty or so small plastic wire-ties and the fingernail clippers in a pint size Ziplock in an outside pocket, so I can clip the zipper ends together as soon as I recover my luggage for transit.

👺   UNCONTROLLED CHILDREN -    The darling little girl about ten who screamed, screamed more, and again and again screamed till we got a game on the backseat console she could play.  That lasted about ten minutes.  All the way to LAX 5 Hours of screaming prompted me to want to stuff her in the bin.  Five hours of shrill screaming and her grandma didn’t know what to do.  Sometimes children do not know how to clear their ears and this causes pain, usually at landing.   

My solution was to give up my OREO cookies I had sneaked on board.  It was quiet for an hour.  Maybe the kid would OD on Oreos high sugar and take a nap.  It backfired and got worse.  I tried reading to her, that failed.  I shoved toilet paper in my ears, put my big headset on and had a stiff drink.

👺    BIN BASTARDS -   On my last trip we got out about 20 minutes late after all the fighting over the bins, oversized bags and some of their bags that had to be over the weight limit.  I had to help three women who couldn’t even lift theirs and one bag took two of us to dump in the bin.  

It’s the airlines fault, forcing high fees to handle baggage only makes the job harder for the crew and the passengers not to mention passenger safety in case of an incident.  Think, what happens during an accident or incident.  One hundred sixty to one hundred eighty passengers times a modest thirty pound bag equals two and half tons of packed luggage. Do the math 4800-5400 pounds of dead weight hanging over your head, and a mess if a forced evacuation occurs, its just the pilot in me.

Lets get real, if the airlines just added fifteen dollars a ticket, and include the baggage handling, it would work as it really balances out.  Faster loading times, less confusion, the revenue will pay for the extra baggage handlers (creating jobs) and everybody gets treated equally. 

👺    PETS AND FAKE SERVICE DOGS -   And my pet gripe lately of many gripes I write about, illegal service dogs with fake ID’s called “ Companion Animal”  with the fake documentation readily and easily available.  You can get the fake coats and letters on the web.  Folks think they can get away with anything and a free ride for Snookums is worth attempting.  If you want to really see how this scam with fake service animals works check here.   http://servicedogcentral.org/content/fake-service-dog-credentials.   SERVICE DOGS

👺    RECLINING SEATS -   Our latest mess is the reclining seat back and some inconsiderate bastards who should have been thrown off the plane. My knees have been whacked more than a few times.  That in reality is not their fault, inconsideration is their fault.  However it is the direct fault of the airlines crushing as many seats into the rails in economy as possible, that is the real fault.  

More seats are more money and follow the money, it’s always about money.   Allegiant air solved the problem, they disconnected and secured the seats not to recline.  Great idea.  Their fares are cheaper and people will suffer for a few hours, proven by heavy bookings, and the most profitable airline numbers in the US.  You won’t find Montebello Pinot Noire (means Black Grape) or Foie Gras (Duck Liver Pate) , nothing but a lesser fare like peanuts for four dollars.  And the highest rate in the industry for problematic aircraft.  They are supposedly getting new Airbuses to replace aging DC-88’s.

10-19-2015 -   A Southwest Airlines jetliner returned to the gate at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday after one passenger choked another during an argument over a reclined seat, witnesses told NBC News.  Airport police said San Francisco-bound Flight 2010 left the gate around 10:25 p.m. Sunday and returned half an hour later.   


LITHIUM AND THE TSA NIGHTMARE

I have a small specific business dealing in high power battery packs for photographers, and have done so for five decades.   I am also a General Aviation pilot with ratings, retired with 28 years experience. I have personally seen enough laptops and other Lithium devices blown up to make me side with the TSA.  This is by harmless, innocent folks, not aware of the properties of lithium who were lucky it was on the ground when theirs went up due to the instability of this chemistry.   

They pay attention when their phone goes dead,  or their laptop has a blue or nothing screen of death,  or other rechargeable and they don’t get to the starting line.  Basically Lithium is highly flammable, fast ignition properties and any heat or a spark can set if off.


THE FEDS TAKE ACTION ON SAMSUNG SEVEN - TAKE NOTE

If you’re worried about flying on a plane where passengers may have a Samsung Galaxy Note 7, the airlines want you to know it's in the bag.  Airlines have begun installing fire-containment bags on their planes to address the threat posed by overheating lithium ion batteries in mobile devices during flights.

Alaska Airlines and Virgin America have already stocked their fleets with the bags, according to the Associated Press. The bright red bags, which are made of fire-resistant material, are designed to hold portable electronics devices should they overheat or catch fire. Delta said it also plans to install the bags, which can withstand temperatures up to 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit.

The threat posed by overheating devices was underscored by incidents involving overheating Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones, including one that forced the evacuation of a Southwest Airlines flight earlier this month. The FAA had previously advised travelers not to charge or turn on their Galaxy Note 7 while aboard airplanes out of fear of fire or explosion, weeks before Samsung permanently pulled the handsets from market due to a battery flaw that caused dozens of the phones to explode or burst into flames.

In the past 25 years, the Federal Aviation Administration has recorded 129 incidents (PDF) involving batteries smoking, overheating or exploding in cargo or passenger baggage. There have been 23 incidents reported so far in 2016, up from 15 for all of 2015, according to the FAA.

In a FAA emergency prohibition order officially published in the Federal Register we learn quite a bit about the penalties in place should someone Bring a Galaxy Note 7 on board an aircraft  -or- What happens if said person refuses to comply with the requisite instructions from aircraft personnel upon being caught.

YOU CANNOT BOARD WITH THE SAMSUNG 7 -
If you bring a Note 7 to the airport, you will not be allowed to board with it.  You can’t carry it on your person nor can you check it in with your luggage.   Per Emergency Restriction/Prohibition Order No. FAA-2016-9288, airline personnel are required to “ Deny boarding to a passenger in possession of a Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device unless and until the passenger divests themselves and their baggage of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 device."

If a passenger either purposefully or inadvertently brings a Galaxy Note 7 on board and it is discovered once a plane is in the air, airline personnel  “Must instruct the passenger to power off the device and not to use or charge the device onboard the aircraft and protect the device from accidental activation, including disabling any features that may turn on the device, such as alarm clocks, and keep the device on their person and not in the overhead compartment, seat back pocket, nor in any carry-on baggage, for the duration of the flight.”

The Law:  If a passenger does not comply with the above rules, which is to say that a passenger brings a Note 7 on board and refuses to power it off and store it appropriately, he/she will be subject to a civil penalty of up to $179,933. 

Additionally, the penalties state that a person violating the above order is also “ Subject to criminal prosecution” which can result in fines and “Imprisonment of up to ten years, or both.”  

Don’t test them.  Several have ignited and you do not want to be the next test case, the law is now in effect, only a frickin idiot would try to beat the system.
 

NO SKATEBOARDING IN THE AISLES
Hover-boards, gliders, electric skateboards—whatever name they come by, you have probably seen and heard of them. These self-balancing devices are the year’s hottest electronics as people everywhere are snapping them up and buying them as presents for their loved ones.  In fact, you probably know at least one person with a Hoverboard on their Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Klingon or Romulan holiday list.

As cool as they are, there’s one big problem: they are not safe to transport on an airplane And according to the Emergency Rooms in the US Hospitals not exactly safe either on the ground..

At most Federally based airlines in agreement with the TSA they  do not allow hover boards as checked luggage or as carry-on. Hover boards are usually powered by lithium ion batteries, which are regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) as hazardous materials. 

Internal short-circuits can occur with lithium ion batteries, which can then lead to a “thermal runaway” where the battery overheats and bursts into flame.  Hoverboard battery ratings are unreliable and have been known to catch fire, which makes them more concerning to transport on a plane. 


FIRE IN THE SKY
When fire occurs in the sky , it’s a whole new ballgame. Sheer frickin panic, I know I have been there.  I have seen the Lithium fires caused by their enclosure or case fracturing, even small cell phone batteries, exposing Lithium,  a metal lighter than aluminum, in fine mash form, exposed to air and it just takes a spark as with the Apple phone shown above.

I side with safety, the FAA has a myriad of cases involving exploding batteries many due to inherent danger of Lithium and poorly packed products.  The off-on grounding of the 787 Boeing Dreamliner on it’s rollout with fires caused by the high capacity generators and their Lithium batteries are enough to make me think avoid that aircraft till I know it’s OK.  

The new generation of light lithium batteries was going to deliver equal power at half the weight, but it appears that the chemistry inside the ‘thermal runway’ can self-heat if external temperature and pressure change, something which frequently occurs in aviation with every take-off and landing.

One incident, prompted by an emergency landing of an All Nippon Airways plane showed in the initial inspection by Japanese officials of the 787 found that a flammable battery fluid known as electrolyte had leaked from the plane’s main lithium-ion battery beneath the cockpit.(I beg you to read on)   and they also found burn marks around the battery. 


“I HAVE FELT THE HEAT”  LITHIUM AND AIRPLANES

As a pilot and owner of General Aviation aircraft, fire is a pilots biggest fear, it spreads fast and you are basically sitting in a bath of fuel. Fire is on a par with an unscheduled contact with mother earth. 

On a return flight from EYW  to PIE Fl with three friends on board, the upside down Marvel Schebler carburetor failed on my Cherokee.  

A critical part the internal float, went to full rich. The mechanic termed “It sank”, and started, spewing fuel on the hot engine, the mixture control did nothing and we had smoke and where there is generally there is a good chance of fire. 

The drill I practiced a 1000 times was not a drill anymore, I had three miles, no engine and a potential water landing.  I was lucky, I had altitude, and I was transitioning an airfields airspace and talking with their tower, I immediately did what I had to do, and declared an emergency. 

I had clicked into auto mode established best glide, closed the fuel selector lever down, topped the field into a left downwind, then base, finally into a short field landing on R-06  close to the fire cart with three friends on board.  

In reality,  I have practiced this engine out maneuver 1000 zillion times, and did what training had taught me to do and it worked.  Here is simulation of what it looked like.  Just before the 3600 dollar repair bill, today, over $10,000 if I was lucky.

After they did the repairs to my plane, and claimed new parts were used, it failed again, on the test flight takeoff roll even after several test runs-ups showed no problems. I aborted, less than twenty feet to the breakwater.  I shut off the fuel and bailed, notified the FAA, the mechanic was investigated, his shop closed and his life saved when the airport police took the tow bar from me as I was about to crush his skull for cheating and falsifying new parts on the repair which again leaked. 


MH370 - LITHIUM MAY HAVE BEEN THE CAUSE
There have been dozens of aircraft fires caused by lithium batteries​, so many that the batteries are no longer welcome as cargo on passenger flights. In one of the most recent incidents, a Fiji Airways Boeing 737​ was preparing for takeoff from Melbourne, Australia, when smoke was discovered coming from the cargo bay. The plane was evacuated and the cargo unloaded. The source of the fire turned out to be lithium-ion batteries in a passenger’s checked bags. 

Hover boards and e-cigarettes are banned from flights for the same reason.  After I secured a copy of the Cargo Manifest of the missing Flight MH370, I noticed it was carrying 500 pounds of Lithium batteries in the front cargo hold plus 5000 pounds of undisclosed electronic objects which I believe could be more Lithium batteries classified as something else fraudulently to save tariff rates.  MH370 report at www.aljacobsladder.com

During an annual inspection years ago my plane at that time, a Piper Archer 160 required a new ELT battery. Normally these were Alkaline batteries. This time it was replaced by the new Lithium Model with a five year life cycle.  Cost more but promising longer life. Three months later we got notice from the GADO office of the FAA to remove said Lithium batteries as they had leaked and corroded the stainless steel control cables on several aircraft.  

The control cables to the tail section would have compromised the rudder, and stabilator.  An eminent crash had the plane even made it off the ground. There are reasons for things the FAA and the TSA do and though we might not agree, usually there is cause.  The batteries were replaced with proven Alkaline's.

DANGERS OF THERMAL RUNAWAY
With an energy density as high as six times that of a lead-acid battery, lithium-ion batteries are somewhat sensitive to design and manufacturing flaws. (remember where they come from…CHINA)  When I buy product from China a 10%-15%  failure rate is built into everything.  I have to or go broke.  Failures are categorized as non-energetic (meaning loss of capacity, activation of a disabling mechanism, electrolyte leakage) or energetic, which is the kind that can cause smoke and/or fire. It is the energetic-type failure–thermal runaway–that most concerns flight crews.

A thermal runaway means that the battery cell releases stored energy rapidly, and lithium-ion batteries with higher energy density can release a lot more energy more quickly than other battery types. Lithium-ion batteries contain a highly flammable electrolyte, so they store both electrical energy from the normal battery chemistry and chemical energy from the lithium-based electrolyte.

Thermal runaway can occur when the battery self-heats, which can happen when electrolyte reaches temperatures as low as 158 to 194 degrees F (70 to 90 degrees C), according to the FPRF report. Runaway accelerates quickly at higher temperatures, and the greater the charge in the battery, the faster runaway happens. 

Temperatures during a runaway can reach 1,110 degrees F (600 degrees C). The battery cells will also experience increased pressure, venting or popping of the cell, possible ignition of cell gases, possible ejection of cell contents and propagation to adjacent cells.

According to the FPRF report, “Venting of isolated small cells (cellphone cells and smaller) seldom results in flame ignition. This is likely due to the limited volumes of vent gases released from these cells–that is, the gases become diluted before ignition can occur. 

In comparison, ignition of vent gases from 18650 and larger cells [used in some laptops] is fairly common: these cells contain more electrolyte (more fuel), and are usually used in multi-cell battery packs. If the flow of vent gases is ‘restricted’ due to the configuration of a vent port (typical in hard case cells), flames emanating from the cell will be highly directional (flames from 18650 cells are often described as ‘torch-like’).

“Propagation of cell thermal runaway has significant implications for fire suppression and fire protection. A fire suppressant or low-oxygen environment may extinguish flames from a battery pack, but the thermal runaway reaction will propagate if heat is not sufficiently removed from the adjacent cells. 

Responders to fires involving lithium-ion battery packs have often described a series of re-ignition events. Typically, responders report they used a fire extinguisher on a battery pack fire, thought they had extinguished the fire, and then observed the fire re-ignite as an additional cell vented.”

The ways that lithium-ion batteries can fail are numerous, but the report noted, “It has been observed that the vast majority of thermal runaway reactions that occur in the field occur during or shortly after cell charging.” One way of lowering risk may be to avoid charging of lithium-ion devices while in flight. 

It should be noted, however, that reports of spontaneously combusting lithium-ion devices that burned their owners included devices that were not being charged. Anyone flying with lithium-ion-powered devices might want to know of these hazards and take steps to minimize the risk of a thermal runaway from an onboard device, especially now that many pilots have adopted tablet computers for chart and document viewing.

Buying so-called bargain or cheap Lithium batteries is frankly a really stupid thing to do. Lithium batteries find application in many long-life, critical devices, such as artificial pacemakers and other implantable electronic medical devices. These devices use specialized lithium-iodide batteries designed to last 15 or more years.  

The heavy electrical demands of many of these devices make lithium batteries a particularly attractive option. In particular, lithium batteries can easily support the brief, heavy current demands of devices such as digital cameras, and they maintain a higher voltage for a longer period than alkaline cells. The downside is they drop dead instantly when discharged with little or no warning.

Lithium batteries can provide extremely high currents and can discharge very rapidly when short-circuited. Although this is useful in applications where high currents are required, a too-rapid discharge of a lithium battery can result in overheating of the battery, rupture, and even explosion.

Recently Lithium-ion batteries have been in the news and if you just rationalize a company like Boeing and it's vendors working on billions of dollars and public safety being brought to their knees by Lithium batteries, you have to have concerns.  I do, I refuse to work on them, I work with them, not on them.  Millions are being spent here and abroad to tame this small lightweight metal that can go unpredictable instantly.


LITHIUM IS DANGEROUS  NEW SERVICE UPDATE 
All that most of us need to know about the new rules is that you can't pack any spare (i.e., not plugged into a device of some sort) Lithium-ion or Lithium metal batteries in your checked luggage. You'll want to take any spares in your carry-on luggage instead, and you'll want to pack as few of them as possible to avoid getting into the aforementioned legal dispute.

The new rules have nothing to do with terrorism, but are a safety measure aimed a preventing the batteries in a cargo hold from blowing up all on their own. "Lithium batteries are considered hazardous materials because they can overheat and ignite in certain conditions," said the FAA.  Safety testing conducted by the FAA found that current aircraft cargo fire suppression system would not be capable of suppressing a fire if a shipment of non-rechargeable lithium batteries were ignited in flight.”   (Too common to MH370)

The regulations applicable to international air shipments of lithium batteries have changed. Compliance with the new regulations becomes mandatory January 1, 2013.  

Refer to the International Lithium Battery Regulations for more details.


AIRCRAFT MAKERS URGE BAN ON LITHIUM BATTERY SHIPMENTS 
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Aircraft makers are urging a ban on bulk lithium battery shipments on passenger planes, calling the threat of fires "an unacceptable risk," according to an industry position paper obtained by The Associated Press.  The International Coordination Council of Aerospace Industry Associations, which represents aircraft companies such as Boeing and Airbus, also is calling for stronger packaging and handling regulations for batteries shipped on cargo planes.  The International Federation of Air Line Pilots Associations, an umbrella group for pilot unions, joined the aircraft makers in issuing the paper. Note: 

The tests show aircraft fire protection systems "are unable to suppress or extinguish a fire involving significant quantities of lithium batteries, resulting in reduced time available for safe flight and landing of an aircraft to a diversion airport," aircraft makers said. "Therefore, continuing to allow the carriage of lithium batteries within today's transport category aircraft cargo compartments is an unacceptable risk to the air transport industry."

The call for a ban applies to both lithium-ion and lithium metal batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are rechargeable and are used in products ranging from cellphones and laptops to power tools. Lithium metal batteries are not rechargeable, and are often used in toys, watches and some medical devices, among other products.  The International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, decided last year to change its shipping standards to prohibit the shipment of lithium metal batteries aboard passenger planes, but not rechargeable batteries, which are shipped by air far more frequently. The aircraft industry paper obtained by the AP was drafted for presentation at an upcoming meeting of the agency's dangerous goods panel in April.

The call for a ban is aimed only at cargo shipments, not batteries that passengers take on board planes in their personal electronic devices or carry-on bags.  George Kerchner, executive director of PRBA - the Rechargeable Battery Association, said in a statement that lithium-ion battery makers are "fully committed to the safe transport of lithium batteries." He said the battery industry trade association will continue to work with the aviation industry and government officials.

DELTA AND UNITED WILL NOT ACCEPT LITHIUM BATTERIES AS CARGO
In recent weeks, two major U.S airlines - Delta and United - have announced they will no longer accept rechargeable battery shipments. The aircraft makers' call for a ban puts further pressure on international carriers around the globe to refuse battery shipments or appear indifferent to safety.  The shipments are less of an issue for domestic or regional carriers who generally fly smaller planes with less room for cargo. Also, the demand for air shipments of batteries tends to be for flights across oceans.

Passenger and cargo airlines generally fly the same types of planes, although they are configured differently inside. The fire protection capabilities of the planes were "developed considering the carriage of general cargo and not the unique hazards associated with the carriage of dangerous goods, including lithium batteries," the paper said.

Temperatures in some of the government testing reached nearly 1,100 degrees. That’s close to the melting point of aluminum, about 1,200 degrees. 

The FAA tests show "the uncontrollability of lithium battery fires can ultimately negate the capability of current aircraft cargo fire suppression systems, and can lead to a catastrophic failure of the airframe," the position paper said.

U.S. and international officials have been slow to adopt safety restrictions that might affect the powerful industries that depend on the batteries. About 4.8 billion lithium-ion cells were manufactured in 2013, and production is forecast to reach 8 billion a year by 2025. A battery contains two or more cells.  Lithium batteries dominate the global battery industry because they're cheap to make, lightweight and can hold a lot more energy than other types of batteries.

Cargo airlines are continuing to transport the batteries even though they are believed to have either caused or contributed to fires that destroyed two Boeing 747 freighters in recent years, killing their pilots. The pilots of a third freighter managed to escape after landing in Philadelphia, but that plane was also destroyed.  UPS recently completed a round of tests on a shipping container that was adjusted to allow gases to escape while continuing to contain a battery fire. UPS officials said the company was encouraged by the results of the tests.

Pilot unions in the US have been pressing for a single safety standard for both passenger and cargo airlines.  
US regulators' hands are tied by a 2012 law that Congress enacted in response to industry lobbying. It prohibits the government from issuing regulations regarding battery shipments that are any more stringent than standards approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, a U.N. agency, unless an international investigative agency can show the batteries ignited a fire that destroyed an aircraft. That’s difficult, since in the three cases thus far in which batteries are suspected of causing fires, the planes were too damaged to determine the source of the blaze.

A lithium-ion battery that caught fire aboard a parked Boeing 787 in 2013 in Boston had design flaws and it should not have been certified by the US Federal Aviation Administration, US accident investigators said on Monday.

The National Transportation Safety Board said the battery, manufactured by GS Yuasa Corp, experienced an internal short circuit that led to thermal runaway of the cell. This condition caused flammable materials to be ejected outside the battery's case and resulted in a small fire, the NTSB said in its report on the incident.

The agency said its investigators found a number of design and manufacturing concerns that could have led to the short circuiting, including the presence of foreign debris and an inspection process that could not reliably detect defects.

"We are looking at the report from the NTSB, and until we have examined its findings we don't wish to comment," a spokeswoman for GS Yuasa said. The Japanese battery maker's shares dipped as much as 3.2 percent in Tokyo after the NTSB released its findings.


BASIC RULES
It is important to be aware of proper shipping processes when shipping batteries, as improperly packaged batteries can short-circuit, overheat, and catch fire while in transportation.   It is your responsibility to make sure they are packaged correctly and ensure they comply with all applicable regulations.  There are many types of batteries, including lithium (e.g. computer and cell phone batteries); dry cell (e.g. AA, C, D batteries); and lead-acid (e.g. for cars or wheelchairs). Each type has varying levels of regulatory requirements and packaging needs, and several types must be documented as hazardous materials when shipped.

For loose batteries, cover the battery terminals (or leads) with an insulating cap or electrical tape, if the battery is not already contained in protective packaging.  Ensure there is adequate internal protection to keep batteries from contacting metal or other batteries by wrapping them individually, either with bubble sheeting or plastic bags.  

Do not ship damaged, defective, or recalled batteries by air, as such shipments are prohibited by federal regulation. Also, UPS does not accept air shipments of recycled batteries.  For battery-operated tools, laptops, or other appliances, provide effective protection for the switches to make sure they will not turn on accidentally during transportation.

Common sense dictates you package batteries securely to keep them from shifting, being crushed, or otherwise damaged while in transportation.  We appreciate your help in making sure your packages are safe for transport.  The regulations applicable to international air shipments of lithium batteries have changed. Compliance with the new regulations becomes mandatory January 1, 2013.

This request and report came out after MH370 and further tells me the airlines have a common theory as to what did occur on that flight. I have and will unless proven wrong believe the batteries and illegally presented cargo brought that plane down.  I said it after I had the privy of going over the cargo manifest, now published on line, and it lit both my afterburners.