The Herald of Everett, Washington
HeraldNet on Facebook HeraldNet on Twitter HeraldNet RSS feeds HeraldNet Pinterest HeraldNet Google Plus HeraldNet Youtube
HeraldNet Newsletters  Newsletters: Sign up | Manage  Green editions icon Green editions

Calendar

Splash! Summer guide

Weekly business news
HeraldNet Newsletter Delivered to your inbox each week.
Published: Thursday, February 7, 2013, 3:56 p.m.

FAA authorizes special 787 test flights for batteries

Strict conditions for Boeing-only crews include flying over unpopulated areas; fleet still grounded

  • A Boeing 787 lands at Paine Field in Everett Thursday morning. Boeing received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly one Dreamlin...

    Mark Mulligan / The Herald

    A Boeing 787 lands at Paine Field in Everett Thursday morning. Boeing received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly one Dreamliner from Fort Worth, Texas, to Everett. Later in the day, the agency approved test flights over unpopulated areas under special conditions.

The Boeing Co. will be allowed to conduct test flights of the grounded 787 model to gather additional data, federal regulators said Thursday.
"These test flights will be an important part of our efforts to ensure the safety of passengers and return these aircraft to service," FAA Administrator Michael Huerta and Department of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement.
The FAA's decision came Thursday afternoon, following a specially authorized "ferry" flight of a Boeing 787 from Fort Worth, Texas, to Everett. The plane, destined for China Southern, was in Texas for painting. It landed late Thursday morning at Paine Field.
The FAA grounded Boeing's 787 on Jan. 16 after two Dreamliners experienced battery failures. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is investigating a Jan. 7 battery fire on a Japan Airlines 787, on Thursday challenged assumptions used by Boeing to win FAA certification of the 787's lithium-ion battery.
The commercial in-service fleet of about 50 Dreamliners remains grounded.
In its release, the FAA said 787 test flights "will be conducted in defined airspace over unpopulated areas." The agency also has several other requirements, including a pre-flight check of the jet's batteries and continuous monitoring of the batteries during flight. Before the first test flight, Boeing must "inspect the airplane's smoke barriers and insulation to verify that they meet the approved design," the FAA said.
Only essential personnel will be allowed on the flights. Boeing will gather data on the batteries as well as the jet's electrical system while in flight, the FAA said.
Boeing said in a separate statement it will use its fifth test 787, known as ZA005, for the flights.
"The company has marshaled an extensive team of hundreds of experts and they are working around the clock focused on resolving the 787 battery issue and returning the 787 fleet to full flight status," Boeing said.
The company expressed regret for the inconvenience customers have suffered due to the 787's grounding. The Dreamliner's launch customer, All Nippon Airways, has canceled all 787 flights through the end of March, the airline said Wednesday. With 17 787s in its fleet, the airline will have scrapped 787s on a total of 1,887 flights by the end of March.
A 787 operated by ANA experienced a battery failure Jan. 15, which prompted an emergency landing in Japan. Japanese aviation officials are conducting a separate investigation into that incident and are sharing information with the NTSB and FAA.
Michelle Dunlop: 425-339-3454; mdunlop@heraldnet.com.
Story tags » 787Air travelAerospace

Share your comments: Log in using your HeraldNet account or your Facebook, Twitter or Disqus profile. Comments that violate the rules are subject to removal. Please see our terms of use. Please note that you must verify your email address for your comments to appear.

You are logged in using your HeraldNet ID. Click here to update your profile. | Log out.

Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.

comments powered by Disqus
digital subscription promo

Subscribe now

Unlimited digital access starting at 99 cents, or included with any print subscription.

HeraldNet highlights

Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan
Brosnan, Pierce Brosnan: No Bond, but 'November Man' fills bill for spy fans
Unforgettable Kris
Unforgettable Kris: She was the last of Oso slide victims
Lunchbox ideas
Lunchbox ideas: Send kids off to school with healthy, tasty food
Tradition of generosity
Tradition of generosity: Casinos are just newest way tribes give to their community