Boeing's Dreamliner not in the clear yet
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Aircraft manufacturer Boeing's 787 Dreamliner appeared in news reports once again this week. The manufacturer filed a request with American aviation authority FAA this week to commence test runs with the troubled aircraft last Monday, following months of technical errors. The 787 Dreamliner has been in development for many years, and was revealed to the general public in 2007. The jet, a commercial aircraft made by American manufacturer Boeing, was to be highly efficient and economical. This was to be achieved by its composition of carbon fibre and plastic (as opposed to the much heavier metal), a new generation of engines and its advanced aerodynamics.
This enables the aircraft to operate with a 20-percent reduction compared to equivalent jets of competitors, according to Boeing. The Dreamliner was said to do its name justice, as it offers more comfort to its passengers due to a more spacious cabin, noise reduction and even adjusted lighting, ensuring the passenger arrives at his destination jetlag-free. But this dream seemed to be doomed from the birth of the new airplane.
After its successful initial flight on December 15, 2009, approval of the vessel was delayed. The jet didn't become operational until August 2011 – over three years later than initially planned. Japanese airline All Nippon Airways was the first buyer, and also operated the first commercial flight with the Dreamliner, from Narita (Japan) to Hong Kong, on October 26, 2011. Boeing received many orders for their new aircraft, and managed to deliver twice as many of the 787s as expected.
Image source: NU.nl
Critics were worried that the high pace of production would be detrimental to the quality of the planes delivered. And indeed: a number of Dreamliners started encountering technical errors in January of 2013. One of All Nippon Airways' carriers was forced to make an emergency landing that month, when smoke started forming in the cockpit fifteen minutes after takeoff. The smoke was presumably caused by battery issues. After the emergency landing, ANA decided to ground her fleet, after which Japan Airlines did the same. These and other similar problems, such as a rip in a cockpit door and a fuel leakage, resulted in the American FAA grounding the Dreamliner worldwide. The influential aviation authority also initiated an investigation into the Boeings.
This week, the Seattle Times reported that Boeing issued a request with the FAA to perform new test runs. The manufacturer believes to have found a solution to the battery issues. However, it may be weeks or even months before passengers will be allowed to be transported by the Dreamliner, according to the newspaper.
Written by: Flight-Delayed