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Boeing to conduct 787 test flight Monday

A Boeing 787 flight test jet taxies following test flight Monday Boeing Field Seattle. | Elaine Thompson~AP

A Boeing 787 flight test jet taxies following a test flight Monday at Boeing Field, in Seattle. | Elaine Thompson~AP

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Updated: March 13, 2013 6:18AM

Boeing Co. completed the second test flight of its Boeing 787 aircraft Monday, and pilots reported the flight was uneventful, as was the case in the first test flight conducted Saturday, the Chicago-based company said Monday.

A crew of 13, including pilots and 11 flight test personnel, completed a round of monitoring tests of the main and APU batteries on board its fifth test airplane, the ZA005, with a one hour and 29 minute flight Monday, Boeing said. The flight departed from Boeing Field in Seattle just before 12:30 p.m. and returned to Boeing Field at 1:46 p.m.

The round of testing also included a flight on Saturday, which lasted 2 hours and 19 minutes, Boeing said.

Special equipment on board ZA005 allowed the crew to observe and record detailed battery performance data in normal flight conditions, Boeing said. Analysis of test results will continue in the days ahead, Boeing said.

The entire fleet of 50 Boeing 787s was grounded by regulators globally last month after a battery fire on board a Japan Airlines plane parked in Boston and after battery problems and smoke in the cockpit forced an emergency landing by an All Nippon Airways 787 in Japan, prompting investigations by the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board as well as regulators in Japan.

The FAA last Thursday gave Boeing permission to conduct the test flights. The primary purpose of the test flights is to collect data about the battery and electrical system performance while the aircraft is airborne. Boeing has permission to conduct the flights over unpopulated areas and is subject to restrictions, including extensive pre-flight testing and inspections and in-flight monitoring in order to ensure safety.

Data gathered during the flight is considered part of the investigations into the 787 battery events, and consequently Boeing can’t share any additional details, the company said Monday.

The new technologically advanced 787 is the first Boeing plane to use rechargeable lithium-ion batteries for its main electrical system. Such batteries are prone to overheating and have additional safeguards that were designed to prevent fires and contain a fire should one occur.

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