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Boeing may offer short-term fix to 787 Dreamliner battery problems

19 February 2013

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Boeing is likely to propose a temporary solution for batteries of its grounded 787 Dreamliner to the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) this week.

The US plane manufacturer wants to put a titanium or steel box around the battery cells, and install high-pressure tubes to vent gases outside the aircraft in the wake of a fire, reports The Seattle Times.

If the regulatory authorities give their approval for this proposal, it could mean that the Dreamliners would be flying again by May 2013.

"If the regulatory authorities give their approval for this proposal, it could mean that the Dreamliners would be flying again by May 2013."

Although Boeing is currently working to redesign the batteries, the process could last as long as nine months, which could significantly affect the sales of the variant.

All Dreamliners have been temporarily grounded since mid-January following a battery fire on a 787 that landed in Boston's Logan International Airport and another case of overheated battery, which prompted Japan's All Nippon Airways' jetliner to make an emergency landing.

In addition to battery problems, the variant has been plagued by several other safety incidents this year, including a crack in the window of the cockpit, an oil leak from a generator inside an engine, a brake problem, fuel spillage and an electrical issue caused an onboard fire.

After receiving approval from FAA, Boeing conducted the first 787 test flight for two hours and 19 minutes on 9 February, as part of its ongoing efforts to investigate the reason behind recent battery failures.

Last week, the company again conducted second test flight in Seattle.

The variant was scheduled to enter service in May 2008, but was delayed due to by various problems such as in design, supply of parts, which extended the deadline by over three years.

Of the 800 orders received for 787s, so far Boeing has delivered 50 airplanes.


Image: Boeing proposes to put a titanium or steel box around the battery cells, and install high-pressure tubes to vent gases outside the 787 Dreamliner following a fire. Photo: courtesy of Boeing.

Defence Technology