Resolving The Battery Issue Taking Longer Than Originally Anticipated
Boeing says that it is half way through the testing process that it hopes will return the world's 787 fleet to service, with the rest of the ground and flight tests coming in the next week or so.
Boeing presented a potential fix to the lithium-ion battery problem to the FAA March 15th, and the agency gave its go-ahead for a flight test program. The batteries aboard a JAL Dreamliner caught fire while the airplane was sitting at a gate at Boston Logan International Airport in January. That and other issues with the batteries eventually led aviation safety agencies worldwide to ground the fleet of 49 delivered airplanes.
Reuters reports that ground testing is continuing at Boeing's labs in Seattle, and while the testing of the new battery configuration is going more slowly than the company had hoped, it is moving forward. "We are all working toward returning the 787 fleet to service in the most expeditious manner possible, but we are being thorough and won't shortcut the test and certification process," Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel said on Wednesday in a written statement.
The FAA will have to certify the new battery installation, which includes better insulation between battery cells, and a better-vented, more-robust enclosure. Additional flight tests are expected "in the coming days," Birtel said.