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Phone fires prompt warningsPhone fires prompt warnings

Samsung Galaxy Note 7 deemed dangerousSamsung Galaxy Note 7 deemed dangerous

The AOPA Air Safety Institute joined the FAA in urging Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphone owners to leave them on the ground. Dozens of users have reported to Samsung that their new phones caught fire, or even "exploded." Samsung announced Sept. 2 that it had found a problem with the battery, and reported 35 cases had been logged by that date but offered few details or specifics. The FAA cautioned air travelers Sept. 8.

Samsung Galaxy Note7 image courtesy of Samsung.

“In light of recent incidents and concerns raised by Samsung about its Galaxy Note 7 devices, the Federal Aviation Administration strongly advises passengers not to turn on or charge these devices on board aircraft and not to stow them in any checked baggage,” the agency said in a statement.

AOPA Air Safety Institute Senior Vice President George Perry said he took an airline flight Sept. 11 and the crew advised passengers carrying Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7, which was released in August, to turn the phones off and refrain from charging the phones during the flight. 

“Fires on board aircraft are one of the most significant hazards to flight safety,” Perry said. “Any electronic device that is known to cause a spontaneous fire or explode is cause for grave concern.  Based on the widely reported issues with the Samsung Note 7, the Air Safety Institute agrees with the FAA’s recommendations and encourages general aviation pilots to avoid use of this phone in light aircraft as well.”

Samsung’s debacle (the company has promised to replace defective phones) prompted widespread media coverage, including an effort by Scientific American to explore the science and history of lithium-ion batteries, and the reasons for their reputation for volatility.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is poised to evaluate the replacement battery, ABC News reported Sept. 12. Samsung must have a remedy ready for consumers before a formal recall can be approved.

Jim Moore

Jim Moore

Editor-Web Jim Moore joined AOPA in 2011 and is an instrument-rated private pilot, as well as a certificated remote pilot, who enjoys competition aerobatics and flying drones.
Topics: Safety and Education

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