Boeing will meet with the FAA tomorrow to present a series of solutions it believes will keep the lithium ion batteries in its Dreamliner jet from future failures.Ray Conner, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial aeroplanes, will present the changes to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, Reuters reported.
Together, the solutions Boeing has come up with will constitute an interim fix that will allow the planes to resume commercial flights while investigations into the causes of two battery fires continue.
An ongoing NTSB investigation has found that a short circuit in one cell cascaded to the seven others, leading to a thermal runaway: uncontrollable heat and the battery’s failure.
To limit the damage done by any future “thermal events,” Boeing may increase the gaps between cells in the battery, a solution Elon Musk publicly suggested earlier this month.
Boeing has instructed some of its machinists to build high-strength containment boxes, which would surround the batteries and contain any fires that do start, according to the Seattle Times. The battery would also be equipped with a system of tubes to vent any troublesome gases out of the aircraft.
But before any Dreamliners can take flight, the FAA must give its approval. That’s not likely to happen tomorrow, the New York Times reports, but the meeting will mark the beginning of constructive talks aimed at finding a way to return the fuel-efficient jet to service, safely.
If the FAA does give Boeing the go-ahead, the Dreamliners could be back in the air as soon as the third week of March, according to Aviation Week.
Considering the financial damage Boeing has suffered since it halted Dreamliner deliveries, that day cannot come soon enough.
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