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UPS 747-400 Crash Caused By Lithium Batteries?  
User currently offlineAirlineCritic From Finland, joined Mar 2009, 1183 posts, RR: 1
Posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 23602 times:

This piece of news tells us that the UPS flight in Dubai was transporting a large quantity of lithium batteries:


and here's the FAA report


Fair use excerpt:


We note as well that United Parcel Service Flight 006 crashed in the United Arab Emirates on September 3, 2010. Investigation of the crash is still underway, and the cause of the crash has not been determined. We are aware, however, that the plane’s cargo did include large quantities of lithium batteries and believe it prudent to advise operators of that fact.

This piece of information was also interesting:


In a fire situation, the air temperature in a cargo compartment fire may be above the auto-ignition temperature of lithium. For this reason, batteries that are not involved in an initial fire may ignite and propagate, thus creating a risk of a catastrophic event.

Could burning batteries be the cause of the fire and the crash, or at least the cause of the fire spreading too fast for the pilots to get the aircraft down in time?

8 replies: All unread, jump to last
User currently offlineBlueSky1976 From Poland, joined Jul 2004, 2107 posts, RR: 8
Reply 1, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 14 hours ago) and read 23536 times:

Quoting AirlineCritic (Thread starter):
Could burning batteries be the cause of the fire and the crash, or at least the cause of the fire spreading too fast for the pilots to get the aircraft down in time?

Yes. It happened before, circa 2005 (?) at PHL. UPS DC-8-61 was carrying a large load of Sony laptops with batteries which were known to self-ignite. That crew was VERY fortunate, they lwere able to land the plane and escape, as the fire started on final approach.

User currently offlineBennett123 From United Kingdom, joined Aug 2004, 9124 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 23243 times:


Is this the one.

It does not mention batteries, but iirc there was mention elsewhere.

User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13841 posts, RR: 17
Reply 3, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 10 hours ago) and read 22770 times:

This was the first reaction I and many others had as to the Dubai UPS crash, in large part due to their 2006 PHL incident. That there has been a study that has just come out suggests that lithium batteries are and will become a much greater potential problem with cargo aircraft.

Unfortuntally, it seems that lithium battery based fires can be extremely intense and difficult to control. Perhaps the best hope, since many millions of these batteries are transported every year in cargo aircraft with no incidents, is to improve packaging, improve the quality of the making of these batteries, improve fire supression equipment and put in improved handling procedures, all of which are suggested in the recent report.

User currently offline2175301 From United States of America, joined May 2007, 1404 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 21423 times:

The answer is going to be low density/fire proof packaging. Each battery will be individually packed in a cell that is designed to contain the heat and the energy from that battery. The result is that shipping cost per battery will go up substantially.

This is essentially equivalent to how certain explosives/explosive devices are packaged and shipped. As an example - it is possible to purchase and ship C4 by normal UPS because it can be packed as small quantities in a vial - which is located in a reinforced tube with other packaging (etc). Many of these vial/tube packaging assemblies make up a box that contains (x) amount of C4. Not cost effective if you need a large quantity of C4 - but adequate for many situations. Note that you also have to have the right federal license in order to order the C4, or any other explosive, from any legal supplier in the first place.

Have a great day.

User currently offlineprofcalvin From United States of America, joined Jun 2008, 107 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 19728 times:

An article showing the dangers of Lithium batteries. Seems the FAA was aware of this hazard before this UPS incident in Dubai


from article: Lithium batteries may represent the ultimate hazardous material, especially when shipped in bulk as cargo, with the potential to breach all defenses should they catch fire. That is the principal finding of a June report of lithium battery fire tests conducted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Technical Center at Atlantic City, N.J.

Article also lists the various test results of igniting Lithium batteries towards the bottom of the first page.
Results look quite interesting to me...

User currently offline413X3 From United States of America, joined Jul 2008, 1983 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 19596 times:

Like some industries that have high overheads, and it's unfortunate to say but, it usually takes an accident with deaths before something is done about a safety hazard. RIP to the pilots of UPS6.

User currently offlineF9Animal From United States of America, joined Dec 2004, 5600 posts, RR: 17
Reply 7, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 17741 times:

Quoting AirlineCritic (Thread starter):
Could burning batteries be the cause of the fire and the crash, or at least the cause of the fire spreading too fast for the pilots to get the aircraft down in time?

Yes it could. This is even more tragic, as it was such a potential avoidance.

I Am A Different Animal!!
User currently offlinerichm From United Kingdom, joined Oct 2004, 803 posts, RR: 4
Reply 8, posted (5 years 6 months 4 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 17581 times:


There is already a topic related to this incident. Please continue the discussion in the topic linked below:
UPS 747-400 Crash In Dubai - Part 2 (by NZ1 Sep 4 2010 in Civil Aviation)

Please note that any posts submitted after this post, will be removed for housekeeping purposes only.

Thank you for your understanding.


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