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Tue 26 Mar 2013 08:39 AM

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Dreamliner test flight ‘went according to plan’

Boeing has performed test flight to check new battery system of 787

Dreamliner test flight ‘went according to plan’

A test flight to check the 787 Dreamliner’s new battery system “went according to plan”, said Boeing.

The US aircraft manufacturer has redesigned the 787’s battery after several high-profile malfunctions which led to the grounding of the entire fleet earlier this year. Because of the grounding Boeing have been prevented from delivering new Dreamliner craft to customers, and some estimates suggest the company is losing US$50m per week.

Boeing has said it will analyse the data that the test flight has produced and prepare for a second test flight in the coming days which will be aimed at demonstrating the system to regulators.

The Dreamliner’s woes date back to January, when a fire started in a battery pack in a Japan Airlines 787 in Boston, and an All Nippon Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing due to a battery fault.

After the grounding of the entire 787 fleet, Boeing submitted plans to redesign the batteries, which are the first lithium-ion batteries in use on airplanes. They are lighter, hold more power, and recharge more quickly.

As well as redesigning the batteries, Boeing have redesigned the battery enclosure system to prevent any possible overheating from affecting the rest of the aircraft.

Earlier this month the battery redesign plan was approved by the US Federal Aviation Administration, but regulators told Boeing they had to conduct ‘extensive testing and analysis’.

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