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Boeing 787: A Certification Test-Flight Scheduled For Today..?

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner certification test flight is expected for today, according to a U.S. governmental official:

Boeing may do 787 certification flight on Friday: source …

Boeing Co may carry out a certification test flight of its grounded 787 Dreamliner with a revamped battery system on Friday, a key step toward returning the state-of-the-art aircraft to flight, a U.S. government official said on Thursday. The official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the certification test could be carried out on Friday if all remaining ground-based tests were completed on Thursday. ”They’re not quite there yet,” said the official, adding that it might not be clear until early Friday if the certification flight could take place. Boeing declined to confirm the timing of the flight. “As a matter of long-standing policy Boeing does not provide advance notice of flight test activities until we have filed flight test plans,” Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel told Reuters when asked about a possible test flight on Friday. Boeing typically files a flight plan a few hours before the plane takes off. All 50 787s in service worldwide were grounded in January after the airplane’s lithium-ion batteries overheated on two separate aircraft, one on the ground in Boston and a second during a flight in Japan.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner Certification Flight 1

More importantly, ANA made known the faults in power-panel circuit on its Boeing 787 aircraft:

A planned Boeing 787 Dreamliner flight to test new power panel engineering … – The Seattle Times

Japanese carrier All Nippon Airways (ANA) revealed that faults in power-panel circuit boards on 787 passenger flights in March, April and June of last year resulted in error messages in the cockpit. Each time, the planes continued to their destinations and the panels were inspected after landing. In the case of the fault on the April 7 flight, a circuit board was found to have shorted. Then on Dec. 4, another power-panel short circuit occurred on a United flight out of Houston, forcing the pilot to divert to New Orleans. A few days later, a similar fault occurred on the delivery flight of a Qatar Airways 787 from Everett to Doha. And later in December, a second United jet was grounded after another power-panel malfunction. Mike Sinnett, the 787’s chief project engineer, in a January interview, said that in four power-panel incidents electrical arcing inside a circuit board — “a low energy arc that lasted milliseconds, very small” — had damaged the board and shut down some of the plane’s electrical power.

On the other hand, Boeing has continued extensive testing of the 787 aircraft, since March 12:

787 ETOPS Threat Dismissed As Speculation – Aviation Week

When Boeing won FAA approval for its certification test plan on March 12, company officials commented three days later that tests could be wrapped up and submitted to the airworthiness authority within 1-2 weeks. Reports on approximately 19 key tests have yet to be submitted to the FAA to show compliance with the special conditions which will enable the aircraft to return to service. The culmination of these involves a single certification demonstration flight using Line 86, an aircraft eventually destined for LOT Polish Airlines, and a ground test using development test aircraft ZA005, which will involve a deliberately induced battery failure. The functional test flight took place at least two days later than originally hoped, and by March 28 both the follow-on certification flight- and battery-failure ground tests had yet to occur. The target date for completion for all is now thought to be in early April. However, while frustrating for the company and its 787 operators, Boeing indicates the addition of a few more days for testing is less significant when seen in the context of the relative duration of the overall grounding, which enters its 74th day on April 1. “We are very close” Chairman/CEO James McNerney said March 28 at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Aviation Summit in Washington. “It will be sooner rather than later. The tests will be completed in several days and I have a high degree of confidence that the data will tell us—and the FAA, who are the decision-makers—that the fix is what we it need to be [able to] get this airplane back in service in due time.”

Finally, if the certification test flight goes on today, it is going to be a major step for solving the aircraft’s battery problem.

In any other case, time is working against Boeing, as U.S. aircraft producer is to be under heavy pressure for paying money compensations to airlines that keep their 787 aircraft grounded, since January…

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