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

Teddy, an English bulldog, models Zentek Clothing’s heat regulating dog jacket. (Ian Terry / The Herald)
Everett clothing company keeps your dog cool and stylish

Zentek uses space-age fabrics to moderate the temperature of pets and now humans.

Everett engineers learn lessons from Mexico City catastrophe

Structural scientists went to help after the September earthquake there and studied the damage.

Providence said to be in talks for merger with Ascension

The two Catholic health organizations have been exploring joining forces, sources say.

DaVita to sell off medical groups including The Everett Clinic

Another round of health care consolidation means The Everett Clinic could soon get new ownership.

Engine trouble hits Air New Zealand’s 787 Dreamliners

A Rolls-Royce engine was shut down and was afterward found to be seriously damaged.

Washington, Amazon sue company over seller training programs

Braintree is accused of using deceptive ads promising information on how to make money on Amazon.

Bitcoin futures soar amid frenzy over virtual currency

Trading began Sunday, and theprice rose as high as $18,850.

Lockheed-Martin dominates global arms sales, Boeing is 2nd

The combined sales of U.S.-based companies totaled $217 billion.

The Marine Corps’ version of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is designed to land vertically like a helicopter. (Lockheed Martin)
F-35 fighter costs, $1 trillion over 60 years, draw scrutiny

Pentagon’s ability to repair F-35 parts at military depots is six years behind schedule.

Most Read