FAA Gives Boeing The Go-Ahead For Dreamliner Test Flight

The airline manufacturer will be able to check in-air lithium battery performance a month after 787s were grounded around the world.

Boeing has been given the thumbs-up by the FAA to start in-flight testing of lithium-ion batteries on its 787 aircraft. Boeing was forced to suspend all of its U.S.-registered Dreamliners, after other countries grounded their fleets, following several safety incidents in January. The flights, which are coming after extensive nonflight safety checks, will be conducted over unpopulated areas.

Another federal body, however, has criticized Boeing's initial testing of the Dreamliner. The National Transportation Safety Board said that the aeronautics firm both underestimated the rate of "smoke events" and failed to spot that overheating in one battery could cascade to the others and cause a fire.

The U.S. Postal Service stopped international shipments of lithium-powered batteries due to safety concerns. Many electronics firms have been forced to recall products due to a propensity of lithium-based power packs to either melt or explode.

[Image by Flickr user Gordon Werner]

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