The Dreamliner prepares to take off for its test flight.
The single test flight to evaluate the redesigned battery system Boeing wants to implement in its Dreamliner passenger jet took place this afternoon.
Results of the uneventful flight, which was meant to demonstrate that the new system performs as intended, have not been released.
The plane, a Boeing-owned 787 built for LOT Polish Airlines, took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., and was in the air for about two hours.
Its path can be tracked on FlightAware.com.
The Dreamliner has been out of service since the FAA issued an emergency airworthiness directive on January 16, following incidents in which the battery systems in two planes failed in quick succession.
The "comprehensive and robust" three-part plan calls for stopping battery cells from short-circuiting in the first place, preventing such a failure from spreading throughout the battery, and making sure the plane is not damaged if all that happens anyway, with a sealed battery enclosure.
It does not address the root cause of the failures, which is still unknown, and likely to remain that way.
Today's flight is accompanied by extensive testing on the ground, which Boeing says is actually more effective than testing in the air.
Boeing Vice President Ron Hinderberger told the Chicago Sun Times:
In our lab, we are actually able to not only simulate the airplane environment, but we are able to do so with a much greater degree of instrumentation and monitoring than we could on the airplane. That combined with the fact that the battery really doesn’t provide much from a functionality standpoint in flight led us and the FAA to confidently conclude that the single flight test was appropriate for demonstrating compliance to this change.
The final decision to return the Dreamliner to flight in the U.S. rests with the FAA.
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