FAA to Boeing , reports of Boeing 787 test flights "completely inaccurate"
Feb 26 (Reuters) - The Federal Aviation Administration said it is not close to approving test flights of Boeing's 787 Dreamliner with a proposed fix for the plane's troubled batteries, denying news reports that such tests could start as early as next week.
"Reports that we are close to allowing 787 test flights are completely inaccurate," spokeswoman Laura Brown said on Tuesday in an email to Reuters.
Boeing declined to comment.
Batteries overheated on two jets last month, prompting regulators to ground the 50 Dreamliners in service worldwide. The grounding saddled Boeing with mounting costs and airlines with expensive planes that cannot be flown and in some cases are stranded far from their home airports.
Boeing proposed a multi-faceted fix for the battery system in a meeting with the FAA last week. The proposal included a stronger containment box, a battery with greater cooling capacity and other changes
I don’t know how BA could be from proposed flight tests of a battery fix until they have fully bench tested the proposed solution. Proving the new containment system should be simple and quick, send a few batteries in a mockup of the surrounding battery area of the 787 into meltdown, and monitor the results.
As for the second part, making the batteries less likely to go into catastrophic failure. That is going to take a lot more time. I will require testing the new battery in simulated discharging and recharging cycles like the battery will see in flight at an accelerated rate. If I was the FAA I would want the old batteries subjected to the same testing for comparison, and proof the new battery less prone to failure. I would if needed have the tests ramped up as needed to the point a lot of the old batteries would fail, and not see any of the new ones failing until they are operating well beyond expected operating parameters.