It’s been a bit turbulent for Boeing’s 787 Dreamliners, which have been grounded since mid-January around the world after various technological problems, glitches and fires which were thought to be caused by batteries malfunctioning. The company has been feverishly investigating the planes and it seems those efforts are paying off, as the Federal Aviation Administration has given the okay to Boeing’s proposed fix.
Yesterday the FAA approved Boeing’s plan to tweak the battery systems on the much-hyped planes, but that means the company still has to prove that the lithium-ion batteries are safe. Only then can the planes take to the skies once more, reports CNN.
“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 released Tuesday.
Passengers won’t be climbing aboard just yet, in other words. There will likely be rigorous test flights and a lot of convincing of the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.
So what’s Boeing doing to fix the battery system? At its most basic, it’s a redesign of the battery to cut down on chances it’ll short circuit. That includes better insulation of the battery cells and a new containment and venting system so if it does overheat, it won’t release smoke to where passengers are.
“This comprehensive series of tests will show us whether the proposed battery improvements will work as designed,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “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.”
He previously said the FAA wouldn’t let Dreamliner fly again until they were deemed “1,000% safe.”