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Last week, the FAA gave Boeing permission to test-fly its 787 Dreamliner, in hopes of getting closer to identifying the causes of the plane’s recent troubles (see below) and, ultimately, returning the 50 grounded planes to service.
The go-ahead was given on condition that Boeing not operate the Dreamliner over heavily populated areas.
According to Boeing, the flights would “allow Boeing to conduct testing of the in-flight performance of the airplane’s batteries, which will provide data to support the continuing investigations into the cause of the recent 787 battery incidents.”
On February 9 and again two days later, Boeing completed two test flights, using one of six 787 test planes specially fitted with electronic tools to monitor and diagnose battery-related issues.
Both flights were “uneventful.”
Although Boeing has recently referred to “short circuiting observed in the battery,” suggesting that the focus of the investigation has narrowed at least that far, it appears that the root cause of the problem has yet to be identified.
The search continues…
The list of 787-related incidents and regulatory responses now includes the following:
About the 787 Dreamliner
The Dreamliner is Boeing’s most advanced airliner, featuring such cutting-edge technology as lithium-ion batteries and a composite-plastic body.
The first 787 was received by ANA in September 2011, and since then 50 787s have been delivered to eight airline customers, including United.
The company has taken orders for 844 Dreamliners, and Boeing hopes to sell as many as 5,000 during the lifetime of the plane.