Boeing Plans to Redesign Dreamliner's Battery

But regulators likely to be wary this time

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Feb 22, 2013 10:34 AM CST

(Newser) – Boeing executives will head to Washington today to try to convince the FAA that it has figured out how to make its 787 Dreamliner safe to fly again. The planes have been grounded ever since a fire and other incidents that are believed to have been caused by overheating lithium-ion batteries. So Boeing is proposing a redesign of the batteries that will insulate their cells, CNBC reports. It would also put each battery in a fire-proof, ventilated compartment so that if a fire did start, it wouldn't spread.

Even if the FAA goes along with the plan, expect it to require more rigorous testing than it did the first time around, experts tell NPR. The fires have already put the agency under scrutiny. "It does sort of put Boeing and the FAA in a tight corner," one aviation consultant says. "They have to be very conservative, but be realistic, in that new technologies often have issues that aren't anticipated." April is likely the earliest the planes could possibly be returned to the skies.

A Boeing 787 sits on the tarmac at Haneda airport in Tokyo.
A Boeing 787 sits on the tarmac at Haneda airport in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
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