Dreamliner Battery Tests Complete


FAA Administrator Michael Huerta says Boeing “has completed all required tests and analysis” of fixes for battery problems suffered by its 787 Dreamliner, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday, but no decision had yet been made to clear the jet for flight. Huerta also noted that the FAA has not yet determined whether it will allow the airliner to fly over-water routes beyond three hours’ flight time from a suitable landing site. Regulators grounded the jet in mid-January after two of the jets experienced battery fires. The events have levied new scrutiny on the FAA’s certification process.

The GAO has warned that budget constraints may challenge the FAA’s ability to keep pace with the development of emerging technologies. The FAA has not seen an increase in government spending for certification programs and has not shifted more funds toward certification. In the case of the Boeing 787 (and other aircraft), the agency often relied on company representatives for information and component testing. The DOT’s inspector general’s office (DOT IG) has criticized the FAA for failing to ensure that company personnel designated by the FAA to perform such tasks receive clear guidance. Boeing flew a test flight of a 787 equipped with its modified battery system on April 5. It is now waiting for the FAA to approve the new system for installation.