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Dreamliner 787 flights for battery tests may resume soon

There are US reports, including this one in the Seattle Times, that the FAA will soon approve test flights by otherwise grounded 787 Dreamliners to examine while in flight its electrical system and battery performance.

It has also been suggested that the flights could then lead to testing of a fix for the battery fire risks that is rumored to be under preparation by Boeing, which after all, would have the inside running as to what is really at issue and how it can be dealt with.

However the Seattle Times report makes a point of discouraging hopes of a rapid return to service.

While the report doesn’t mention it, there are also whispers that on Wednesday US time Boeing will be making a definitive statement about the 787 program. From here, it is something worth mentioning but not endorsing as gospel.

There are also references in the industry to possible issues with high humidity or condensation occurring in the 787 electricals.

In other developments it has been confirmed that India’s aviation authority allowed two repositioning flights by Air-India 787s during the world wide grounding of the type.

From all of the omens and hints so far, it appears likely that the first of the Qantas 787-8s that are to be used by Jetstar will at best, be further delayed by only a matter of months. That could yet see the first of them delivered before the end of the year, given the vague timetable previously announced of deliveries in the second half of this year.

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  • 1
    TT
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I would be interested to know what sort of flight certificate would such flgihts be conducted under? Would it be under experimental certificate (with a big experiemental sticker at exit doors)?

  • 2
    comet
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Dreamliner woes will only get worse.

    Boeing’s incompetent management is only thinking short term. Their short sighted aim is to get a quick fix and get back into the air as quickly as possible. But this could do more harm than good.

    The Dreamliner’s technical problems are widespread. The entire electrical system needs revision. A quick battery fix (or the bizarre fire containment dome) will allow the Dreamliner to get back into the air, only to be grounded again as other problems arise.

    The Dreamliner’s reputation is already damaged, and it can’t afford further major problems down the track.

    It’s actually in Boeing’s interest to keep the Dreamliner grounded until such time all the electrical issues are resolved. It’s painful, but to prematurely fly would cause greater long term damage.

    For once, Boeing needs to listen to its engineers, and not be pressured by the executives in its marketing department.

  • 3
    COTOS
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Permalink

    A big Ahmen to that

  • 4
    keesje
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    comet thats my feeling too. A second grounding would be destructive. Looking at the Greamliner program and it string of unwelcome surprizes it is not unimageable however. Even the most pessimistic airbus fanboys proved optimistic in their predictions :(

  • 5
    Nick Brodie
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    way out of my comfort zone here but wouldn’t a solution be swapping to old battery technology (Nicad or NiMH, some heat-sinks and fans?

  • 6
    LongTimeObserver
    Posted February 6, 2013 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    All test flying is conducted under an ‘Experimental’ Category designation and special airworthiness certificate, and yes, a placard to that effect is required at the forward entry door.

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