Boeing puts grounded Dreamliner through its paces

The company said the tests went "according to plan" and Boeing is now planning a second test to gather data for the Federal Aviation Administration, which has to give its approval before the 787 is allowed to fly commercially again.

Boeing had delivered just 50 of the jets when lithium-ion batteries on two of the planes caught fire. The two incidents, one in the United States, another in Japan, triggered a global grounding for the Dreamliner.

Investigators in Japan and the US are now looking into what went wrong and have so far concentrated on the planes' battery systems. It is the first time that lightweight lithium-ion batteries have been used so extensively in a large passenger jet.

"During the functional check flight, crews cycled the landing gear and operated all the backup systems, in addition to performing electrical system checks," Boeing spokesperson Marc Birtel said in a statement.

Boeing is believed to be testing a new casing for the battery and a venting system that would dispel potentially flammable gases.

On January 7, one of the 787's batteries burst into flames while the plane was parked at Boston's Logan airport. The National Transport Safety Board has concluded in an interim report that short circuits across its eight cells may have triggered the fire. The board has, however, not yet identified a root cause for the fire. On January 16 in Japan, the battery on a second 787 triggered a smoke alarm while in flight, leading to an emergency landing.

The board will hold a meeting on lithium-ion batteries in April, at which the controversial technology will be discussed by airline and freight executives as well as safety experts and scientists. Lithiumion batteries have caused fires in smaller planes, cars, computers and mobile devices in the past. Freighting the product by plane is also carefully regulated.

Boeing is losing an estimated $50-million a week while the 787 is grounded. Rival Airbus has dropped lithium-ion battery technology from its A350 passenger jet. — © Guardian News & Media 2013


My hardest story: Reporting on being queer in Tunisia

Reporting on queer issues is always tough. But Tunisia was something else

South Africa could use a communist party

The SACP is not building socialism, or even social democracy. Sadly, it has become just another party advancing the politics of patronage

Miners speak out against Sibanye

Not a year into buying Lonmin, Sibanye is accused of mistreating the mineworkers who were injured eight years ago during the Marikana massacre. But the platinum giant says it is a miscommunication. Athandiwe Saba and Paul Botes visit Marikana to find out the truth

Press Releases

Request for expression of interest on analysis of quality and outcome indicators for regional and district hospitals in Lesotho

Introduction The Ministry of Health of Lesotho with the support of the World Bank funded Nutrition and Health Systems Strengthening...

MiX Telematics enhances in-vehicle video camera solution

The company has launched the gold MiX Vision Bureau Service, which includes driver-coaching tools to ensure risky driver behaviour can be addressed proactively and efficiently.

Boosting safety for cargo and drivers

The use of a telematics system for fleet vehicles has proved to be an important tool in helping to drive down costs and improve efficiency, says MiX Telematics Africa.

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Silencing the guns and firearms amnesty

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

Gender-based violence is an affront to our humanity

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

UK-Africa investment summit 2020: Think Africa Invest SA

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

The changing role of marketing

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...