The aircraft manufacturer has yet to pinpoint a problem, but as the groundings continue it's biggest challenge will be to convince regulators that the corners they allowed Boeing to cut shouldn't be revisited.
Boeing conducted a second test flight of its 787 on Monday as it looks for the cause of battery problems that have grounded the planes. It said no more tests are currently planned.
Boeing said Monday’s flight lasted one hour and 29 minutes and was uneventful. Flight-tracking service FlightAware showed that the plane flew from Boeing Field in Seattle, east over Washington State, and back.
Federal officials grounded the 787 on Jan. 16 because of battery problems that caused one fire and forced another plane to make an emergency landing. Boeing won permission from the Federal Aviation Administration last week to conduct test flights under special conditions, including that the planes fly over unpopulated areas.
Boeing said Monday’s flight included two pilots and 11 flight test personnel. The test plane includes special equipment that lets it track the conditions of its two big lithium-ion batteries during the flight. It’s one of Boeing’s fleet of six 787 test planes that were used for flight testing before the plane went into full production.
Boeing said it will be analyzing data from the flight in the days ahead. It said the data is part of the investigations into the battery incidents, so it wouldn’t release any details about what it found either on Monday’s flight or on the earlier one conducted Saturday.
Boeing is continuing to build 787s while the planes are grounded, but it can’t deliver them to airline customers.
In an annual filing on Monday, Boeing Co. said it is too soon to estimate how much the 787 problems will cost. The financial impact will depend on what the cause turns out to be, how long it takes to find it, and the fix required to get 787s flying commercially again, the company said.
Shares of the Chicago-based company fell 69 cents to $75.87.
Copyright (2013) Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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Photo Credit: A grounded Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner that was allowed to fly back to Boeing in Everett, Washington from Meacham International Airport in Fort Worth, Texas, Thursday, February 7, 2013. Max Faulkner / Fort Worth Star-Telegram/MCT
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