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Boeing completes final certification test of new 787 battery system

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April 5, 2013

The 787 Dreamliner used in the test

The 787 Dreamliner used in the test

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On Friday, Boeing completed the final certification test required by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for approval of the company’s lithium-ion battery modifications for the 787 Dreamliner aircraft. The test flight was made using a Boeing-owned production airplane built for LOT Polish Airlines with the company reporting that the test was “straightforward and the flight was uneventful.”

The flight marks the latest phase in the events following the grounding of the 787 fleet earlier this year after battery overheating problems occurred aboard a number of the aircraft. With a crew of eleven aboard, the test flight took place from Paine Field, Everett, Washington and lasted for one hour and 49 minutes with the craft being put through normal and unusual flight conditions. Its purpose was to see how well the new battery and battery compartment modifications stand up in real world conditions.

Boeing says it will gather and analyze the test flight data and send it on to the FAA for final approval in the next few days. If all goes well, the 787 Dreamliners could re-enter service shortly.

Source: Boeing

About the Author
David Szondy David Szondy is a freelance writer based in Monroe, Washington. An award-winning playwright, he has contributed to Charged and iQ magazine and is the author of the website Tales of Future Past.   All articles by David Szondy
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8 Comments

I'm curious. How many billion dollars in sales (potential future sales) just went to one of their competitors due to not double checking your product before putting it out the door.

I wish they would put more into RnD and testing then double checking and not just testing to see if it goes on but if it makes the hardest most gruelling flight 30 times in a row testing.

Ben Tumaru O'Brien
5th April, 2013 @ 10:58 pm PDT

@Ben Tumaru O'Brien - The problem was the lack of quality control from Japanese battery manufacturer Yuasa. Boeing tested the initial batteries from Yuasa but some of the later units were of lower quality.

Dennis Roberts
6th April, 2013 @ 01:54 pm PDT

re; Ben Tumaru O'Brien

Probably not a single dollar airliner operators know how complex airliners are and there has not been one yet that did not need a modification within the first few years.

Slowburn
6th April, 2013 @ 03:58 pm PDT

I wish the best of luck to all at Boeing working so hard to solve this problem!

Uh, is that an actual battery there, in photo #2, on the table in front of the group of happy engineers? The open blue box with the spaghetti pile of white-ish wiring on top? My car is wired up nicer than that. Somebody please tell me it's just data acquisition leftovers. Please!

BeWalt
6th April, 2013 @ 03:59 pm PDT

Didn't Elon Musk say he would fix it if they invited him?

Didn't Boeing ever invite him?

Grunchy
7th April, 2013 @ 12:09 am PDT

re; Grunchy

While Elon Musk almost certainly has the ability to fix the problem he is not the only qualified person and there is no reason to believe he is the most qualified and besides he is associated with electric cars.

Slowburn
8th April, 2013 @ 01:35 am PDT

I guess those two white tubes running through the rack plate don't need a grommet?

Are these the same group that designed this in the first place?

Bob Flint
8th April, 2013 @ 09:54 am PDT

I think it's a step in the right direction, combined with two steps backwards:

First step: Use the same battery system and put it into what is essentially a blast chamber (fire proof allright, but what about loads of smoke?).

Second step: Have an eastern European airline test it instead of a domestic one (Afraid of bad press, anyone?).

I really do hope this design will mitigate the problems with the batteries, and as I previously wrote, I hope this battery design will soon be replaced by something safer, such as a LiFePo design with improved energy/weight ratio.

Safe landings for everyone!

Atlantide
9th April, 2013 @ 12:35 am PDT
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