US regulators approve Boeing plan to fix 787 Dreamliner's batteries
WASHINGTON (AP) - A Boeing plan to redesign the 787 Dreamliner's fire-plagued, lithium-ion batteries won approval on Tuesday from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), although officials gave no estimate for when the planes would be allowed to fly passengers again.
The plan includes changes to the internal battery components to minimise the possibility of short-circuiting, which can lead to overheating and cause a fire. Among the changes are better insulation of the battery's eight cells and the addition of a new containment and venting system, the FAA said in a statement.
A series of tests, including flight tests, must be passed before the 787 can return to service. So far, flight tests of two 787s with prototypes of the new battery design have been approved, the agency said.
The plan is an outline for a recertification of the plane's batteries, the FAA said. The 787 has two identical lithium-ion batteries, one of which is located toward the front of the plane and powers cockpit electrical systems, the other toward the rear and used to start an auxiliary power unit while the plane is on the ground, among other functions.