Boeing 787 Test Flight Awaits FAA Greenlight
Boeing Co. (NYSE:BA) performed a two hour test flight Friday of its grounded 787 commercial jet. The planes have been grounded since January by the FAA and a number of national aviation authorities following a series of incidents that resulted in the planes being deemed unsafe to fly passengers until modifications were made. The majority of the incidents involved the 787′s lithium-ion batteries. A battery fire erupted in a 787 parked at a Boston airport on January 7th, 2013. Then, nine days later, a 787 made an emergency landing in Japan after a battery pack started smoking. This lead to the grounding of all 787s worldwide, according to the New York Times.
Since the problems were discovered in the 787′s lithium-ion battery packs and the batteries’ charging equipment, Boeing has been hard at work revising them so that the planes can fly again. The 787 uses technology and manufacturing processes not used previously in commercial jets and while Boeing sees the plane as the future of commercial aviation, the delivery of 787s to airlines has been repeatedly delayed. Flaws in the manufacturing process were discovered in 2009, leading to delays in the plane’s first test flight, according to the Wichita Business Journal. The battery problem has only been the latest hiccup in Boeing’s 787 program.