Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA) No. 2016-02

ATTENTION:

SUBPARTS 604, 703, 704 AND 705 OPERATORS OF THE CANADIAN AVIATION REGULATIONS (CARS)

Issuing Office: Civil Aviation (Standards Branch) Document No.: CASA 2016-02
File Classification No.: Z 5000-35 Issue No.: 01
RDIMS No.: 11427274 Effective Date: 2016-02-12

The possibility of smoke or fire from Electronic Flight Bags (EFBs) or their lithium ion batteries

Purpose:

The purpose of this Civil Aviation Safety Alert (CASA) is to notify Canadian operators of the possibility of smoke or fire from the use of Electronic Flight Bags (EFB) or their lithium ion batteries.

Transport Canada Advisory Circular (AC) 700-020 - Electronic Flight Bags is currently undergoing revision to address the use and caution of lithium batteries in EFBs and an updated list of reference documents.

This CASA is an interim measure to enable operators, who use EFBs, to address issues identified with lithium battery incidents of smoke and fire.

Background:

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) has identified incidents of crew member’s portable electronic flight bags (EFB) emitting smoke shortly after having been powered up. In these incidents, the smoke ceased after the battery was removed from the EFB.

Portable EFBs are not part of the aircraft’s certification, and are considered Portable Electronic Devices (PED). Generally, they have self-contained power, and may rely on data connectivity to achieve full functionality.

Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA) has issued advisory and alerts on the issue of lithium batteries and fires. These included:

Following a number of fires in the cabin caused by lithium battery powered portable electronic devices, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has amended its “Emergency Response Guidance for Aircraft Incidents Involving Dangerous Goods” (ICAO Doc 9481 AN/928) to include guidance to flight crew for battery/PED smoke and fire procedures.

http://www.icao.int/safety/dangerousgoods/addendumcorrigendum%20to%20the%20technical%20instructions/doc%209481-2013-2014edition-corrigendum-1.pdf

TCCA is committed to revising AC 700-020 to reflect international developments in the use and precautions regarding lithium batteries.

Recommended Action:

TCCA recommends operators review current operating procedures and crew member training regarding the use and cautions of lithium batteries to include, as a minimum:

  1. Risk of leakage of corrosive electrolyte;
  2. Risk of venting of toxic or flammable gases;
  3. Risk of Smoke and/or Fire;
  4. Risk of Explosion;
  5. Safe storage of spare batteries including the potential for damage leading to short circuit; and
  6. Hazards due to over charging and discharging of the device, including battery over-heat which may lead to Thermal Runaway and subsequent battery fire.

Operators should review their emergency procedures and training and ensure that they include, as a minimum:

  1. Lithium battery fire fighting procedures;
  2. Post-event procedures (on-board); and
  3. First Point of landing offloading procedures.

Those operators using EFB’s or PEDS which contain rechargeable lithium batteries should be aware of, and adhere to, the applicable requirements of the following publications:

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publication Safety Alert for Operators (SAFO) 15010 dated 2015-08-10 - Carriage of Spare Lithium Batteries in Carry-on and checked baggage.

http://www.faa.gov/other_visit/aviation_industry/airline_operators/airline_safety/safo/all_safos/media/2015/safo15010.pdf

RTCA/DO311 dated 2008-03-13 - Minimum Operational Performance Standards for Rechargeable Lithium Batteries.

FAA Advisory Circular (AC) 120-76C -Guidelines for the Certification, Airworthiness, and Operational Use of Electronic Flight Bags dated 2014-9-5, section 12e “lithium batteries”.

http://www.faa.gov/documentlibrary/media/advisory_circular/ac_120-76c.pdf

Transport Canada AC 700-020 use of EFBs will be revised to address lithium batteries.

Contact Office:

For more information concerning this issue, contact Transport Canada, Civil Aviation Communications Centre by telephone at 1-800-305-2059 or by e-mail at services@tc.gc.ca.

Original signed by

Jean-François Mathieu
Acting Director
STANDARDS BRANCH

THE TRANSPORT CANADA CIVIL AVIATION SAFETY ALERT (CASA) IS USED TO CONVEY IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION AND CONTAINS RECOMMENDED ACTION ITEMS. THE CASA STRIVES TO ASSIST THE AVIATION INDUSTRY'S EFFORTS TO PROVIDE A SERVICE WITH THE HIGHEST POSSIBLE DEGREE OF SAFETY. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS OFTEN CRITICAL AND MUST BE CONVEYED TO THE APPROPRIATE OFFICE IN A TIMELY MANNER. THE CASA MAY BE CHANGED OR AMENDED SHOULD NEW INFORMATION BECOME AVAILABLE.

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