Boeing 787 back in the air in Charleston - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

Boeing 787 back in the air in Charleston

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The Boeing 787 aircraft has been approved for flights by the FAA, and today, the first Charleston 787 took a test flight.

The Federal Aviation Administration approved the flights after a satisfactory solution to the battery problem was developed. Boeing will be retrofitting the battery and battery compartment in each aircraft. That process takes about 5 days per aircraft. The company is sending some 300 employees across the world to handle the job.

A local Boeing spokeswoman says none of the Charleston crew members will be part of that group of 300.  

While Boeing South Carolina would not speak on camera, they did release a statement. The statement says, "Boeing South Carolina is pleased that our South Carolina-built 787's are returning to flight. We have integrated battery system modifications into the airplanes and are beginning Boeing production test flights today, under approval of the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration. The flights we are conducting are a normal part of the production process and are not related to the new battery system. We are flying under an FAA-issued Alternate Method of Compliance (AMOC) that allows us to fly with the new battery enclosure structure and baseline model batteries that have been carefully screened to new levels of acceptance criteria. We will install the redesigned batteries as they become available. All 787's will have the new enclosure and battery system installed prior to delivery."

News 2 spoke with the former Inspector General for the US Department of Transportation, Mary Schiavo. She believes the fact that Boeing self-certifies may have hurt the company, "I think that downfall was part of the problem. It probably would have helped Boeing if the FAA had been involved from the start."

Schiavo says she has done research into new planes over the years, and after the first year and a half to two years, they are usually the safest planes in the air. We asked Schiavo if she would be comfortable flying on a 787 today, "I like to give them time to work out the bugs, and then I'll happily get on... I'm gonna let some other people fly around on them awhile, but next Christmas, sure."

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