The fallout continues from the Boeing 787 battery incident, with the other major aviation player Airbus deciding to abandon the use of Lithium Ion batteries about its new A350, whilst going back to nickel-cadmium (Ni-Cad) batteries as a “risk reduction strategy” according to Flight
This will apply to the production aircraft – however MSN1 (the first Airbus A350), as well as the other test aircraft will operate with Li-Ion batteries initally so as not to affect the schedule for maiden flight and initial envelope testing.
Whilst the batteries are used in the in the plane for purposes, they are not critical to the flight-envelope tests - which independent of the source of electrical power.
Airbus is still aiming to have the first A350 – MSN1 – in the air during the 2013, with the first aircraft delivered to customers in the the second half of 2014.
Whilst Airbus uses Li-Ion batteries in the A380, they are used on the Emergency Lighting systems only, and not on any other component of the aircraft.
There are still many questions that have yet to be answered over the 787 incidents, so this is really the only thing that Airbus can do at this point – time is pressing to get the new aircraft into the air and deliveries to begin.
However, there are questions about Lithium-Ion battery technology, and the risks these high powered cells have that whilst in home portable electronics may not be the end of the world, could be a major risk in the air.