Boeing 787 lands after battery test flight

Boeing tested the 787’s redesigned battery system on a flight today in an effort to gain approval from aviation authorities to return the jet to commercial service.

The Dreamliner left Paine Field at 10:39 a.m. The 787, painted in a LOT Polish Airlines livery, returned to Everett one hour and 51 minutes later at 12:30 p.m. The flight plan can be viewed at FlightAware.

“Today’s demonstration flight is the final certification test for the new battery system,” Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel wrote in an emailed statement. “The purpose of the test is to demonstrate that the new system performs as intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions.”

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the Dreamliner on Jan. 16 after two battery incidents on 787s. The FAA will review the data gathered during today’s flight and previous ground tests before determining whether the 787 can return to passenger service.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood declined to say today when he will decide whether to end the grounding.

Boeing must convince regulators the Dreamliner and its battery upgrade are safe before flights can resume, LaHood said after speaking at a conference sponsored by the Export-Import Bank in Washington, D.C. The concept for the fix on which the FAA signed off in March “was a good plan,” and regulators are now waiting to see the results, he said.

“We want to get it right,” LaHood said. “We want to make sure that everything’s done correctly. We want to be able to assure the flying public that these planes are safe.”

Boeing’s ground tests included overheating the system to evaluate a stainless-steel enclosure designed to eliminate the possibility of fire and a tube that would vent any liquid or vapors outside the plane. The design also increases the spacing and insulation for the power cells to prevent the spread of any overheating and includes new circuitry for the battery chargers.

The 787’s lithium-ion battery will be the subject of a two-day forum held next week by the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB continues to investigate the Jan. 7 battery fire on a parked 787 operated by Japan Airlines. Japanese aviation officials also are investigating a Jan. 15 battery problem on an All Nippon Airways Dreamliner.

The NTSB will hold a hearing April 23 and 24 about the Jan. 7 incident.

The Dreamliner’s battery woes also has drawn the attention of the U.S. Senate. The transportation committee will hold an April 16 hearing on the FAA’s ongoing investigation of the 787.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.

More in Herald Business Journal

Health-care consumers need to take the lead, so get smart

David Russian, CEO of Western Washington Medical Group, writes our third essay about fixing health care.

More business, more competition for Everett kidney dialysis center

Nonprofit Puget Sound Kidney Centers sees large for-profit competitors enter state market.

Boeing makes investments in future of autonomous flight

“We believe these are … technology enablers that could change the future of aviation.”

Behavioral economics still requires some development

It promises a better understanding of human decision making and a better economic model.

Molina Medical holds fall carnival for families in Everett

Molina Medical is hosting a free event for families in the Everett… Continue reading

Leadership Snohomish County celebrates 20 years of service

Leadership Snohomish County is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The organization was launched… Continue reading

Snohomish, Monroe manufacturers honored for innovation, excellence

Two Snohomish County companies have been honored with Manufacturing Excellence awards at… Continue reading

Remodeled home tours planned this weekend

This weekend, Edmonds-based Chermak Construction will participate in the 2017 Remodeled Homes… Continue reading

Barron Heating to celebrate anniversary at Marysville showroom

Barron Heating and Air Conditioning is celebrating its 45th anniversary from 10… Continue reading

Most Read