Boeing ready to move on 787 fix, if FAA approvesBy JOSHUA FREED
The Associated Press | March 05,2013Boeing said Monday that it is set to move quickly to get its 787s back in the air if it gets federal approval for a fix for the batteries that have grounded the planes.
The Federal Aviation Administration is considering a plan that Boeing submitted on Feb. 22 for fixing the batteries. The FAA has said it expects its experts to recommend this week whether to accept the plan. Ray Conner, who runs Boeing Co.’s commercial airplane unit, described the process to industry analysts at a J.P. Morgan aviation conference in New York.
The FAA certifies parts used on planes, and changes can prompt the need for a part’s re-certification. The agency has to first certify Boeing’s fix, then it has to approve testing for the fix, Conner said. Then Boeing will be able to install the fix on the 50 787s that have been delivered so far.
Once it gets FAA permission, “this will move really fast in terms of being able to get the airplanes back into the air,” Conner said. “We are prepared, we are ready to go.”
Conner didn’t say how long he thought all that would take.
Boeing’s fix has been described as a long-term solution aimed at making sure that short-circuiting in one battery cell can’t spread to another.
The 787 has been grounded since Jan. 16 after one plane had a battery fire, and a smoking battery on another plane forced an emergency landing.
Deliveries of 787s are halted, but Boeing is still building them. It’s making five per month now, and is moving to seven per month, on its way to 10 by a month by the end of the year. Boeing is still following its plan to speed up production.
“Obviously that could change if something were to go sideways with the FAA,” Conner said.
Boeing has teams working on the speedup and some 200 engineers working on the battery fix.
“I’m kind of working both at this point in time,” Conner said. “That’s why I only live on four hours of sleep a night.”
Boeing is about to begin building the 787-9, a longer version of the plane it makes now, with more seats.
And it has been tentatively planning to make a longer-still 787-10 if there’s enough interest.
“Clearly having the fleet down right now has slowed things down a bit,” Conner said, referring to the 787-10. “I think we would have been in much better shape from having people cross the finish line” if not for the battery problem. He said, however, he thinks interest is strong enough that Boeing will soon be able to commit to build the plane.
Chicago-based Boeing’s stock fell 19 cents to $77.09.MORE IN National / World BusinessWASHINGTON — The U.S. economy powered its way to a respectable growth rate of 3. Full Story
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1618, English author, poet, soldier, adventurer Sir Walter Raleigh is beheaded for conspiring to overthrow King James I, but more likely to mollify offenses to Spain. His executioner has to implore him for silence.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1492, Italian explorer, admiral of the ocean sea, Christopher Columbus, sailing for the Spanish crown, 'discovers' Cuba; on this day in 1964, U.S. officials deny American involvement in bombing North Vietnam.
- Video: Fire engulfs house on Pine Street
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1936, Mrs. Wallis Warfield Spencer Simpson, mistress of King Edward VIII, is granted her second divorce, enabling her to marry the king. The government, the Church of England and the London Times have another idea.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: V-2 No. 13, launched this day in 1946 from White Sands, New Mexico, takes first photographs of Earth from the edge of the planet's outer atmosphere; 1947: Walt Disney testifies before HUAC, names employees he says are communists.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Vermont's brand discussed at Killington, state's attorney candidates Marc Brierre and Rose Kennedy profiled, Curtis reports about Rutland police chief's new job, and four arrested, charged for heroin, crack sales.