No one ever wants a plane to go down. No one ever wants a place to go down while in it. Therefore flyers would be surprised to hear that one seemingly innocent device, can actually cause their plane to catch fire, and probably crash.
Thus, a pilot has warned about the everyday item that could bring down a plane. Powerbanks. Or Portable Chargers. Same thing. The device was left in an overhead storage locker on a flight from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport to Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport. This then poses the question, should there be restrictions on power banks on planes? And also, if a fire can start in the main part of a plane from a portable charger, is it possible that a fire could start in the hold section of the plane?
Well if you ask Patrick Smith, who runs website Ask The Pilot and is an airline pilot and aviation expert, told The Sun phones in checked-in luggage pose a bigger problem to flight safety. “I would be concerned with fires in the lower hold,” he said. “If one was to occur then crew people on board won’t have an understanding of what is happening or how fast it’s spreading.” Mr Smith also said cargo holds have fire-suppressant systems, but the systems weren’t always effective against those types of fires. “There’s been a movement in the last few years to restrict the number of batteries that have been shipped on planes,” he added.
“They’re now banned on commercial planes. “The threat is to a larger extent mitigated but it’s not completely gone as people are still bringing their own power banks on board.”
The issue of portable phone chargers and battery-operated devices exploding on flights is a serious issue and of growing concern in the aviation industry. Take for instance the case of February’s blaze on board a China Southern flight was battled by a fearless flight attendant and another passenger on board, who used bottles of water and juice to put it out. It caused three-hour delays, and fire and security departments had to be called.
And that is not the only example in long cases of airline fires involving mobile devices. Earlier in February passengers were terrified on board a plane after a portable power unit “exploded” on a Russian flight. And last July a British tourist was arrested at Istanbul Airport after his battery unit also exploded. Also in March 2017, a passenger flying from Beijing to Melbourne had been wearing wireless headphones when the batteries exploded, causing burns to her face and hands.
So the next time you are flying and you see a portable charger just lying around, try to keep your eyes peeled, and better still notify the flight attendants.