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Monday, April 8, 2013

Boeing Completes FAA Certification Flight Test for New 787 Battery System

By Woodrow Bellamy III

Boeing announced Friday the completion of the final certification test required by FAA for the new 787 lithium-ion battery system.


The final test was a demonstration flight lasting nearly two hours to demonstrate that the new battery system performs as intended during normal and non-normal flight conditions. The company said it would analyze the results of several weeks of testing and then forward the results to FAA “in the coming days.”

In March Boeing released details on the new 787-battery system, stating that the internal battery components have been redesigned to minimize the initiation of a short circuit within the battery, better insulation of the cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system.

These changes were made after two Japanese airlines experienced fires on their 787s that are believed to have originated from short circuiting occurring in one of the battery’s eight cells.

FAA issued an airworthiness directive (AD) in January that lead to the grounding of all in-service 787s worldwide, after a 787 operated by Japanese Airlines (JAL) caught fire while parked at Boston’s Logan International Airport (BOS).

Certification testing included the introduction of flammable gas in the presence of an ignition source to simulate the most severe in-flight conditions. The new battery system’s power pack is encased in a steel box, packed with added insulation, heat-resistant material and larger holes on the side of the case to allow a failed battery to vent gases from overheating directly outside of the airplane.

Boeing did not release an estimated return to service date for the Dreamliner. 

Related: Boeing's Redesigned 787 Battery System

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