Transport Airlines

Boeing takes Dreamliner on first test flight since grounding

Feb 10, 2013 9:05 am

Skift Take

Many Dreamliner flights went off without a hitch before the grounding so a single successful test flight does not mean the aircraft is ready for deployment again.

— Samantha Shankman

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Boeing Co 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 Jan. 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 U.S. 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.

The test flight departed Boeing Field at 12:32 p.m. Pacific time (3:32 p.m. ET/2032 GMT) and landed at 2:51 p.m. (5:51 p.m. ET/2251 GMT), the company said.

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