Photo: flickr / INABA Tomoaki
Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners have been grounded by the FAA for more than two weeks after a series of issues and fires caused by its lithium ion batteries. Now Dominic Gates at the Seattle Times is reporting that the company’s filed a formal request with the FAA to start test flights The FAA is apparently reviewing the request, and may grant it as soon as this evening. These initial test flights would let Boeing gather data on the faulty batteries, and possibly test a potential fix.
That doesn’t mean the plane’s will be carrying passengers anytime soon.
Gates cites sources telling him that the planes won’t be back in airline service for weeks, if not months as engineers find, design, build, and thoroughly test a fix.
The company has a couple of ideas, he writes:
“One fix Boeing is looking at closely is a way to strengthen the lithium ion battery’s ability to contain any internal overheating and to improve the venting system whereby hot liquid or gaseous products exit the battery box and are directed outside the aeroplane, two sources said.
However, the initial flights will simply gather data on how the battery is affected by changes in temperature during the flight cycle as well as the impact of vibrations during landing and take-off.”
Still, the company hasn’t even been able to get the planes off the ground for tests yet, so this could be a positive development after weeks of bad news.
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