Boeing gets FAA approval on redesigned 787 battery; 2 test flights greenlighted

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Boeing received some good news today when the FAA announced that it approved the aircraft manufacturer's redesigned 787 battery system and got the green light to conduct two test flights.

A thorough review of Boeing's modification and plans to demonstrate the system's ability to meet FAA requirements led to the go-ahead to begin to evaluate the 787's return to flight. Boeing is required to conduct extensive testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance with applicable safety regulations.

“This comprehensive series of tests will show us whether the proposed battery improvements will work as designed,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We won’t allow the plane to return to service unless we’re satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers.”

Boeing's improvements to the battery system include a redesign of the internal battery components to minimize initiation of a short circuit in the battery, better insulation of the cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system, according to an FAA statement.

“We are confident the plan we approved today includes all the right elements to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the battery system redesign,” said FAA Administrator Michael P. Huerta. “Today’s announcement starts a testing process which will demonstrate whether the proposed fix will work as designed.”

A series of tests which must be passed before the 787 can return to service. FAA engineers will monitor the testing. Two aircraft have also been approved for limited test flights.

The FAA will approve Boeing's battery redesign only if the company successfully completes all required tests and analysis to demonstrate the new design complies with FAA requirements, the agency said.