By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
On Monday, Boeing wrapped up a short 787 test flight, the jet’s second since federal authorities grounded Dreamliner commercial flights on Jan. 16.
Dreamliner pilots called both flights “uneventful,” Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel wrote in an email.
Boeing flight crew members monitored the 787’s lithium-ion batteries on both the Monday flight and a test flight conducted on Saturday. The Federal Aviation Administration grounded the Dreamliner after two 787s experienced battery failures within two weeks of one another. The investigations into those incidents are ongoing.
Boeing workers will analyze the battery test results in the coming days. Boeing said it can’t share details about the tests due to the ongoing investigation. There are no additional 787 test flights scheduled.
Like the Saturday flight, the 787 flight Monday was limited to 13 Boeing test personnel. The flight took off at 10:17 a.m. from Boeing Field, where it returned one hour and 29 minutes later.
The 787’s flight path can be viewed on FlightAware.
The FAA gave Boeing the OK to conduct test flights last Thursday. In doing so, the agency made several requirements, including that the 787 could not fly over heavily populated areas and that Boeing check the aircraft’s batteries before the flight.
On Jan. 7, the battery on a 787 operated by Japan Airlines caught fire as the jet was parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport. A second 787, this one operated by All Nippon Airways, experienced a battery failure, which forced the jet’s pilots to make an emergency landing Jan. 15 in Japan. The FAA grounded the 787 the following day.
The Chicago-based company had delivered 50 787s to customers at the time of the grounding.
Last week, the chairman for the National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating the Jan. 7 incident, called into question the assumptions used by Boeing to certify the 787’s lithium ion batteries.
“We know that some of the assumptions that were made … were not met,” the NTSB’s
Deborah Hersman told reporters last Thursday.
Boeing said the test program to certify the 787 was a rigorous one. The company’s engineers and experts are working around the clock to return the 787 to commercial flight, Boeing said.
”We are working this issue tirelessly in cooperation with our customers and the appropriate regulatory and investigative authorities,” according to a Boeing statement released last week.
Boeing’s shares were down 65 cents to $75.91 before close on Monday.