SEATTLE – In Washington, D.C. this afternoon, Boeing commercial chief Ray Conner met with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta on a fix for the 787 battery.
Both Boeing and the FAA released statements after the meeting.
The FAA's statement said: “The FAA is reviewing a Boeing proposal and will analyze it closely. The safety of the flying public is our top priority and we won’t allow the 787 to return to commercial service until we’re confident that any proposed solution has addressed the battery failure risks.”
Boeing proposed a two-level approach to fixing the battery issues. First, to build a strong containment box around the battery and vent any smoke or debris directly outside the airplane in the case of another battery incident.
The company also is proposing changes to the battery in the wake of the National Transportation Safety Board investigation of the post-landing fire of a 787 rear battery on January 7.
So far, that investigation has found that one of the cells shorted and overheated, spilling out gooey electrolyte, in what’s called “thermal runaway.” The NTSB says once a cell overheated, adjacent cells also overheated, a condition Boeing did not expect.
Boeing's second solution is to separate the battery’s eight individual cells with a barrier between them, so if a cell does overheat, it won’t spread to the cells around it.
In a statement, Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel called the meeting “productive.”
The end of his statement read: “We are committed to taking every necessary step to assure our customers and the traveling public of the integrity of the 787, and won’t hesitate in our efforts to continually improve the safety and reliability of our products.”