Boeing cleared one of the last hurdles in its campaign to return the 787 to service Friday afternoon, when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced it had approved its design modifications for the airplane’s battery system. The FAA said the changes address risks at the battery cell level, the battery level and the aircraft level.
Boeing moved one step closer toward returning the 787 to service on Friday, when it flew Dreamliner Line Number 86 on a one-hour, 49-minute mission to demonstrate conformity of its battery system modification to U.S. certification authorities. Painted in LOT Polish Airlines livery, LN 86 took off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington, at 10:39 a.m.
Boeing took a significant step toward returning the 787 to service on Friday, when it flew Dreamliner Line Number 86 on a one-hour, 49-minute mission to demonstrate conformity of its battery system modification to U.S. certification authorities.
Boeing executives expressed what they consider a “reasonable expectation” that the 787 Dreamliner would return to service in a matter of a few weeks at a briefing last Friday in Tokyo during which they detailed the company’s plan for certifying a solution to the “issues” surrounding the airplane’s lithium-ion batteries. However, Boeing Commercial Airplanes CEO Ray Conner and 787 chief program engineer Mike Sinnett acknowledged that the timing will depend completely on the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s certification schedule and a smooth execution of the testing.
The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) continues to focus on the design, certification and manufacturing processes of the lithium-ion battery system used on the grounded Boeing 787.
When someone says Gill, most aviators and mechanics think “battery.”
“That’s definitely the way we want to be associated,” said Thomas Jones, sales manager in Redlands, Calif. for Teledyne Battery Products, manufacturer of the Gill line. That said, the line of products at the Gill booth (No. C2407) in the Heli-Expo exhibit hall sports a new device that, despite its diminutive size, is designed to keep aircraft in the field “start-ready” at all times.
Only one business jet thus far has been certified with a lithium-ion main-ship battery, Cessna’s Citation CJ4, which employed lithium-iron phosphate technology, unlike the lithium-cobalt oxide chemistry in the Boeing 787 batteries. No other business jet has been certified with a lithium-ion main-ship battery, although Gulfstream had planned to employ a lithium-ion battery in the G650 before switching to a nickel-cadmium battery while the aircraft was still working its way toward certification.
Duncan Aviation is authorized to modify the Universal Avionics UNS-1C flight management system to include an extended-life battery. A Duncan Aviation tech rep told AIN, “The original battery voltage was 3.6 volts and the new one is 3.93 volts. While the voltage increase in this lithium watch-type battery seems small, it makes a big difference. Previously a battery warning meant a day or two at most until you had a databus failure locking up the entire system. The new battery gives you about three months [after a warning],” he said.
Airbus has decided against using a lithium-ion main ship battery for the A350 XWB following the findings by the U.S. National Transportation Board of short-circuiting and “thermal runaway” in the APU battery that caught fire on January 7 in a Japa