The says an urgent procurement request issued May 3 for computed tomography (CT) scans of lithium-ion battery cells used on was not a signal that it was accelerating its efforts to find the root cause of battery fires. Rather, the agency says the document contained “contracting language” meant to quickly secure funding for the work.
At issue were several sentences in the request specifying that the results of the CT scans—expected to last into next week—had to be obtained quickly to avoid “potential future accidents involving this type of aircraft battery,” and because the had recently approved Boeing’s fix for the battery.
An NTSB spokesman said the document had been written by contracting officials in the agency not connected with the investigation, after the balance in an account used to pay for earlier CT scans had “dipped below” $1,000.
He says there is “nothing new” in the investigation, noting that the agency did not realize that any document posted on a public website could be construed as an update on the investigation. “We’re changing the contract document,” he adds.