Dem asks NASA to help Boeing solve 787 problem

"I am asking that NASA lend its expert knowledge to Boeing as the company works with the FAA to address the technical problems related to the Dreamliner's lithium battery leakage," Fattah wrote to NASA Administrator Charles Bolden.

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Fattah, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations subcommittee that deals with NASA, cited NASA's effort to help Toyota examine problems related to sudden acceleration. "As a result, the vehicles were repaired and many lives were saved," he wrote.

"Your leadership can help maintain the longstanding reputation of our aviation industry and maintain the growth and sustainability of the associated industries," he added.

The 787's lithium-ion batteries are designed to help reduce the amount of fuel the aircraft requires to fly, but these batteries can catch fire if overcharged. Earlier in the week, a 787 had to make an emergency landing in Japan after warning lights went off related to a possibly overcharged battery.

United Airlines is using six Dreamliner planes, and about 50 are in use worldwide.

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