FAA OKs Boeing plan to prove battery redesign

  • By Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
  • Tuesday, March 12, 2013 1:45pm

Federal regulators on Tuesday approved the Boeing Co.’s plan to redesign 787 lithium-ion batteries, the first step in returning the grounded Dreamliner jet to passenger service.

Boeing will need to “conduct extensive testing and analysis” of the battery redesign, the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement Tuesday.

“We are confident the plan we approved today includes all the right elements to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the battery system redesign,” FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta said in a statement.

The FAA grounded Boeing’s 787 on Jan. 16 after lithium-ion batteries on two 787s failed. Ray Conner, president of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, presented the company’s proposed solution to the FAA in late February.

On Tuesday, the FAA said Boeing’s proposal includes “a redesign of the internal battery components to minimize initiation of a short circuit within the battery, better insulation of the cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system.”

The FAA said Tuesday that it will allow limited test flights on two Boeing 787s to allow the company to verify that the battery redesign will work. In the meantime, the Jan. 16 grounding remains in effect.

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