Boeing 787 makes test flight to check battery

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SEATTLE (AP) — A Boeing 787 with a redesigned battery system made a 2-hour test flight on Monday, and the company said the event “went according to plan.”

The test flight was an important step in Boeing Co.’s plan to convince safety regulators to let airlines resume using the plane, which the company calls the Dreamliner.

Boeing will analyze information from the flight and prepare for another flight — using the same plane — to demonstrate the 787’s performance to the Federal Aviation Administration, said company spokesman Marc Birtel.

The timing of that demonstration flight has not been set, Birtel said. Boeing hopes to get 787s flying again within weeks, not months, but that decision will be made by aviation regulators in the U.S., Japan and elsewhere. Worldwide, airlines own about 50 Dreamliners.

The fleet has been grounded since January after lithium-ion batteries aboard two planes overheated.

Boeing added insulation around battery cells and a steel casing on the outside to prevent fires. Company officials have said that they might never know the cause of the smoldering batteries. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and Japanese authorities are investigating the incidents.

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