Boeing 787 battery flight means it’s now all up to FAA
Qantas-to-Boeing: Waiting, waiting, waiting for Jetstar 787 delivery date
The most unanswered question of the hour is now when will the FAA decide to lift the current grounding order on 787 Dreamliners, and how soon will it recover lost production, a question of critical importance to Qantas as it awaits the first of 14 787-8s for Jetstar, which is supposed to be handed over in Seattle in August.
This is the Boeing statement:
Boeing completed a 787 certification demonstration flight today [Friday, April 5] on Line number 86, a Boeing-owned production airplane built for LOT Polish Airlines. Today’s flight marks the final certification test for the new battery system, completing the testing required by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
Today’s flight departed from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. at 10:39 a.m. Pacific with a crew of 11 onboard, including two representatives from the FAA. The airplane flew for 1 hour and 49 minutes, landing back at Paine Field at 12:28 p.m. Pacific.
The crew reported that the certification demonstration plan was straightforward and the flight was uneventful. The purpose of the flight was to demonstrate that the new battery system performs as intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions.
Boeing will now gather and analyze the data and submit the required materials to the FAA. Once we deliver the materials we stand ready to reply to additional requests and continue in dialog with the FAA to ensure we have met all of their expectations.
However Boeing is also known to be building and stockpiling, and on some reports, dispatching the modified battery containments or super fire boxes which are expected to take five days to install on the 50 Dreamliners grounded because of heavy duty lithium-ion failures in two 787s in January, in JAL and ANA aircraft respectively.
Also under question is whether the FAA will approve the super fire boxes before the NTS, the safety investigator, conducts an investigative hearing in Washington DC on 23-24 April to examine issues relating to the design, testing, and certification of the heavy duty lithium-ion batteries used in the Boeing 787, with particular reference to the one that burned uncontrolled for at least 99 minutes in a JAL Dreamliner on the tarmac at Boston Airport on 7 January.
The reputation of the FAA came into question following the grounding order, and including from itself, when it was confirmed that Boeing’s safety statements and certain assumptions about the risk of failure in the batteries in 2008 during the certification process for the 787 were wrong. The degree to which the FAA delegated some elements of the certification of the Dreamliners to Boeing also became controversial.