Boeing applies for 787 Dreamliner test flights

Chicago, Feb 6 (IANS) Boeing Co. has submitted an application with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for permission to conduct test flights of its 787 Dreamliner after recent incidents revealed safety issues of the new aircraft, a media report said.

In response, FAA said only that it is evaluating Boeing's request, reported Xinhua citing Chicago Tribune.

Boeing, headquartered in Chicago, said that it is making progress in finding a solution to the battery problems that grounded the 787 fleet in January.

The 787's battery systems were called into question Jan 7 when a smouldering fire was discovered on the underbelly of a Dreamliner in Boston operated by Japan Airlines.

In a separate incident Jan 16 involving a 787 operated by All Nippon Airways, smoke was seen swirling from the right side of the cockpit after an emergency landing related to the plane's electrical systems.

Recent events have become a public relations nightmare for Boeing, which has long heralded the Dreamliner as a forerunner of the 21st century air travel.

On Feb 1, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released its seventh update on the investigation into the lithium-ion battery systems, saying it has begun CT scanning the battery cells to examine their internal condition.

Boeing 787, a twin-aisle aircraft that can seat 210 to 290 passengers, is the first large commercial jet with more than half its structure made of composite materials rather than aluminium sheets. It's also the first large commercial aircraft that extensively uses electrically powered systems involving lithium-ion batteries. Boeing's lithium-ion batteries are made in Japan by Kyoto-based GS Yuasa Corp.

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