The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration is evaluating a request from Boeing to fly a 787 to test potential fixes to allow the airplane to re-enter service, the agency confirmed on Tuesday. The FAA gave no word on when it might respond to Boeing, however, nor would it confirm reports that the airplane could fly as early as this week.
Although Boeing also confirmed that it submitted an application, it too would not comment on details. All 50 Boeing 787s remain grounded as aviation authorities from the U.S. and Japan continue their investigations into two cases of “thermal runaway” in lithium ion batteries in 787s.
Boeing’s request comes as investigators from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board this week start a non-invasive “short cell” test of all the cells within in exemplar battery in an effort to detect any short circuits. The NTSB also sent an investigator to France with the airplane’s battery contactor, which connects a wiring bundle to the battery, for examination at its manufacturer, Thales.