Boeing conducted a successful test flight of its troubled Dreamliner 787 Monday, clearing a minor hurdle on the way to being allowed to return the plane to commercial service.
The more important flight — which will put the Dreamliner's new battery system through its paces — is yet to come.
Monday's 2-hour, 9-minute test flight, conducted with a crew of six onboard, was meant to check that all systems, including the landing gear, backup and electrical systems, functioned correctly.
The data will be analyzed by Boeing, which said in a statement that the "flight went according to plan."
The Dreamliner has been out of service since the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on January 16, following two incidents in quick succession where the lithium-ion battery short-circuited, leading to smoke in both cases and flames on one aircraft.
The new "comprehensive and robust" three-part plan calls for stopping battery cells from short-circuiting in the first place, preventing such failure from spreading throughout the battery, and making sure the plane is not damaged if all that happens anyway, with a sealed battery enclosure.
The solution, approved by the FAA on March 12, does not address the root cause of the failures. That cause is still unknown, and likely to remain that way.
The passenger jet used for Monday's flight, owned by Boeing and built for LOT Polish Airlines plane, took off and landed at Paine Field in Everett, Washington, where the planemaker is based.
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