US OKs Dreamliner Battery Fix

But no word on when 787s could be flying again

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Mar 13, 2013 12:03 AM CDT

(Newser) – A Boeing plan to redesign the 787 Dreamliner's fire-plagued lithium-ion batteries has won approval from the Federal Aviation Administration, although officials gave no estimate for when the planes would be allowed to fly passengers again. The 787 fleet worldwide has been grounded by the FAA and civil aviation authorities in other countries since January, when a battery fire on a Dreamliner parked in Boston was followed by an emergency landing of another 787 in Japan.

Before the FAA will let the 787 resume flights, its redesigned battery will have to pass 20 separate lab tests, followed by flight tests. "This comprehensive series of tests will show us whether the proposed battery improvements will work as designed," Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said in a statement. "We won't allow the plane to return to service unless we're satisfied that the new design ensures the safety of the aircraft and its passengers."

An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 Dreamliner parks on the tarmac at Haneda airport in Tokyo.
An All Nippon Airways Boeing 787 "Dreamliner" parks on the tarmac at Haneda airport in Tokyo.   (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara, File)
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