THE TIME IS NOW TO REGULATE LITHIUM BATTERIES

By Captain Chuck Dyer, FedEx  MEC Chairman

My fellow pilots at FedEx are engaged in a struggle that I believe poses one of the greatest threats to our pilots’ health and professional welfare imaginable. As you may recall, a few years back, UPS Flight 6 caught fire in the skies of Arabia a few minutes after takeoff, and before the crew could safely land the aircraft, both pilots perished and the aircraft was lost. It was discovered that this fire was caused by lithium batteries—to be clear, more than 80,000 lithium batteries. That’s right, more than 80,000 of them.

We are encouraged that many of the passenger operators have unilaterally chosen to remove this threat by banning shipment of these risky shipments. That being said, I know this issue needs common sense government regulation.

No such voluntary ban on lithium battery shipments has occurred at FedEx. To be certain, as shipments have been banned at passenger carriers, those same shipments have moved to cargo carriers, thereby increasing the risk. With this in mind, I am asking for your help. We are doing everything in our power to get common sense lithium battery regulation on “all cargo” aircraft. This particular issue is easily lost in the focus to remove lithium batteries from passenger flights.

This is an all-call for every pilot and any assistance you can render with the legislative Call to Action is deeply appreciated. Thanks for your consideration.

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