FAA Issues Airworthiness Directive Allowing Dreamliner to Fly

By Paul Riegler on 25 April 2013
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ANA's Dreamliner in Seattle for launch flight in 2012

ANA’s Dreamliner in Seattle for launch flight in 2012

Ending a three-month long saga that kept Boeing’s high-tech 787 Dreamliner grounded, the Federal Aviation Administration Thursday issued an airworthiness directive that formally approved of Boeing’s battery redesign and allows the aircraft to return to the skies once that fix has been implemented on a particular plane.

The agency also allowed the Dreamliner to retain its ETOPS (an acronym for extended operations) rating which means that the jet can fly up to 180 minutes over remote areas and oceans.  Industry observers had believed that the FAA would scale back the approved range.

The approved fix includes the installation of main battery and auxiliary power unit battery enclosures (APU) and environmental control system (ECS) ducts and the replacement of the main battery, the APU battery, and their respective battery chargers.  Once the work has been completed, the aircraft will be inspected by an FAA inspector, and the aircraft can return to service.

Last week, the FAA gave Boeing approval to start installing the new battery systems.  United Airlines, the only airline covered by the FAA directive, told Frequent Business Traveler at the time that “This is a good step forward.”

For a detailed look at what the eight operators of the Dreamliner have planned, see The Race to Relaunch the Dreamliner: Boeing “Ready for Challenge”.

(Photo: Accura Media Group)

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