Boeing has received approval from the Unites States Federal Aviation Administration to test and certify improvements to the 787 Dreamliner battery system. Successful completion of each step within the plan will result in the FAA’s approval to resume commercial B787 flights.
“The certification plan is the first step in the process to evaluate the 787’s return to flight and requires Boeing to conduct extensive testing and analysis to demonstrate compliance with the applicable safety regulations and special conditions,” the FAA said in a statement yesterday (Tuesday).
Ray Conner, President and Chief Executive of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, said: “Working with internal and external experts in battery technology, we have proposed a comprehensive set of solutions designed to significantly minimise the potential for battery failure while ensuring that no battery event affects the continued safe operation of the airplane.
“Our proposal includes three layers of improvements. First, we have improved design features of the battery to prevent faults from occurring and to isolate any that do. Second, we have enhanced production, operating and testing processes to ensure the highest levels of quality and performance of the battery and its components. Third, in the unlikely event of a battery failure, we have introduced a new enclosure system that will keep any level of battery overheating from affecting the airplane or being noticed by passengers.”
Design feature improvements for the battery include the addition of new thermal and electrical insulation materials and other changes. The enhanced production and testing processes include more stringent screening of battery cells prior to battery assembly. Operational improvements focus on tightening of the system’s voltage range. A key feature of the new enclosure is that it ensures that no fire can develop in the enclosure or in the battery.