FAA approves Boeing test flights of grounded Boeing 787 Dreamliner – CNET
Boeing was granted permission to conduct test flights of its Boeing 787 Dreamliner as the aircraft maker tries to determine the cause of battery fires that have kept the fleet of planes grounded around the world. The test flights will be subject to a number of restrictions, the Federal Aviation Administration said today, including limiting the flights to specific airspace over unpopulated areas. Other conditions include preflight testing and inspections, and in-flight monitoring. ”The traveling public’s safety is our highest priority,” the FAA said in a statement. “These test flights will be an important part of our efforts to ensure the safety of passengers and return these aircraft to service.” The Seattle-based aircraft builder said it hopes to resume flight test activities soon using its fifth flight test airplane, though it didn’t say how many flights were planned.
Boeing on its part welcomed the narrowing of the investigation focus on the short circuit observed in the battery by the NTSB:
Boeing Statement on U.S. National Transportation Safety Board for Boeing 787 …
Boeing welcomes the progress reported by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in the 787 investigation, including that the NTSB has identified the origin of the event as having been within the battery. The findings discussed demonstrated a narrowing of the focus of the investigation to short circuiting observed in the battery, while providing the public with a better understanding of the nature of the investigation. The company remains committed to working with the NTSB, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and our customers to maintain the high level of safety the traveling public expects and that the air transport system has delivered. We continue to provide support to the investigative groups as they work to further understand these events and as we work to prevent such incidents in the future. The safety of passengers and crew members who fly aboard Boeing airplanes is our highest priority.
Deliveries of Boeing 787 aircraft in Europe are set to be out of the scheduled timeline due to the battery problem investigation:
Boeing 787 Dreamliner deliveries delayed to European airlines …
Boeing told two European airlines on Friday their deliveries of 787 Dreamliner jets would be delayed, as investigations into the problems behind the grounded aircraft continue. Thomson Airways, owned by Britain’s TUI Travel (TT.L) told Reuters delivery of its first Dreamliner, originally scheduled for the end of February, had been “moved out of the month” and it had not been given a new delivery date. Norwegian Air Shuttle (NWC.OL), meanwhile, said it had been notified byBoeing that its delivery schedule was at risk because of an investigation by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board into the aircraft and the extent of the possible delay was not yet known. Authorities around the world grounded the technologically advanced 787 on January 16 after a battery fire in Boston and a second incident involving a battery on a flight in Japan. The groundings have cost airlines tens of millions of dollars. Thomson launched an advertising campaign in Britain in April last year for its new fleet of Dreamliners, which it said represented the “future of long-haul travel”. It planned to start using the planes in May.
On the other hand, it is interesting that Boeing’s main European competitor and global sircraft producer Airbus is closely monitoring the investigation into Boeing’s lithium-ion battery problems:
Airbus ‘very interested’ in 787 investigation – USA TODAY
Boeing’s European competitor, Airbus, said Friday it’s closely monitoring the investigation into Boeing 787 problems with the lithium-ion batteries aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Airbus plans to use a different manufacturer’s lithium-ion batteries in its new A350 aircraft, which like the 787 is projected to much more fuel-efficient than other planes. Airbus has no plans to drop the proprietary battery yet, but says it could change depending on what safety investigators recommend. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the 787 on Jan. 16, the day a smoldering battery forced an emergency landing of a plane in Japan and after a battery fire Jan. 7 in a parked plane in Boston. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said Thursday it found that the fire began in one of eight cells of the battery on the Boston plane. To find the cause, investigators are checking how the battery was charged, manufactured and designed. Meanwhile, the FAA is reviewing the plane’s entire design while focusing on the battery. The agency gave approval Thursday for Boeing to conduct test flights, to help figure out what went wrong.
But the actual cause of the fire on Boeing 787 on January 16, is not yet known although the air safety investigation is narrowed to the aircraft battery’s eight cells:
US regulator zeroes in on Boeing 787 battery certification – Reuters
An air safety investigation of a battery fire on a Boeing 787 Dreamliner last month has narrowed the source to one of the battery’s eight cells, though the actual cause of the fire is not yet known, the head of the National Transportation Safety Board said on Thursday. Regulators should now reconsider the assumptions used to certify the plane’s lithium-ion batteries, Deborah Hersman said at a news conference in Washington, adding to the uncertainty of when the cutting-edge plane might be cleared to fly again. The 50 Dreamliners in service were grounded worldwide on January 16, after a series of battery incidents, including a fire on a parked 787 in Boston and an in-flight problem on another plane in Japan. The groundings have cost airlines tens of millions of dollars, with no end in sight. The NTSB probe is focused on the Boston fire, and Hersman said investigators now believe multiple short circuits in a single cell may have led to a chemical reaction known as a thermal runaway, which cascaded to other cells and spread the fire.
Finally, it is for sure right now that the Boeing 787 deliveries are to be set out of their initial timeline schedule.