Boeing completes 'uneventful' Dreamliner test flight
Chicago, February 10, 2013
Boeing completed what it called an uneventful flight on Saturday of a test 787 Dreamliner, its first since the airplanes were grounded more than three weeks ago after a series of battery-related problems.
The test flight to gather detailed information on the airplane's lithium-ion batteries lasted two hours and 19 minutes, taking off from and returning to Boeing Field in Seattle, Boeing said.
"The crew reports that the flight was uneventful," Boeing said in a statement.
The 50 Dreamliners in commercial service were grounded worldwide on January 16 after a series of battery-related incidents including a fire on board a parked 787 at Boston's Logan International Airport and an in-flight problem on another airplane in Japan.
The groundings have cost airlines tens of millions of dollars, with no solution yet in sight.
The US Federal Aviation Administration said on Thursday it would allow 787 test flights, under more stringent rules, to monitor the batteries in flight.
Boeing said the information gathered during the flight was part of the investigations into the battery events that occurred in January and that additional details could not be shared.
The airplane is Boeing's fifth 787 flight test airplane, marked as ZA005, and the only member of the test fleet in service. The flight had a crew of 13, including pilots and testing personnel, Boeing said.
Boeing said no flights of the airplane were planned on Sunday, but it planned to resume flights early in the coming week. Boeing does not provide advance flight schedules.
Meanwhile, the chief executive of International Airlines Group said he was confident that Boeing would overcome problems with its 787 Dreamliner jet, but added that they could take months to resolve.
"I am confident that Boeing will come up with a technical solution to the problems that they have identified," IAG chief Willie Walsh told an audience at an economic forum at Dublin's Trinity College university.
"I don't know how long it's going to take for them because they will have to do some redesigning of the battery system and I'd expect it to take a couple of months."
Walsh said he still considered the 787 "a fantastic aircraft" and expected IAG to take delivery at the end of May of the first of the 24 planes it has ordered. "We remain committed to the orders that we've placed with Boeing." - Reuters
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