NTSB looks for cause, larger lessons in Boeing 787 battery fire

The top U.S. transportation safety regulator is looking beyond what caused a Boeing Co Dreamliner battery to fail in January at larger lessons that can be applied to the airplane certification process and new technologies.

A two-day hearing at the National Transportation Safety Board headquarters in Washington that began on Tuesday is part of the agency's investigation into what caused a battery to catch fire and burn on a parked 787 Dreamliner in Boston in January. The battery fire occurred after passengers had deplaned, and workers noticed smoke in the cabin. It took firefighters more than an hour to put the fire out.

"We are looking for lessons learned, not just for the design and certification of the failed battery but for knowledge that can be applied to emerging technologies," NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman said in opening the hearing. "It's imperative to understand how to best oversee their development and certification."

The proceeding is being simultaneously translated into French and Japanese to accommodate journalists and observers from Europe and Japan. In addition to Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, the NTSB has called witnesses from GS Yuasa Corp of Japan, which makes the 787 battery, and Thales SA of France, which makes the battery system.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal-Esa and Alwyn Scott; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)