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Statement from Secretary LaHood and FAA Administrator Huerta

For Immediate Release
February 7, 2013

As part of our ongoing efforts to determine the root cause of recent Boeing 787 lithium-ion battery incidents, the FAA will permit Boeing to conduct test flights of 787 aircraft to gather additional data.   The traveling public’s safety is our highest priority.  These test flights will be an important part of our efforts to ensure the safety of passengers and return these aircraft to service.

Test flights are commonly used as part of research and development.  In this case, the primary purpose of the test flights will be to collect data about the battery and electrical system performance while the aircraft is airborne.

As with all test flights, these will be subject to a number of restrictions, including extensive pre-flight testing and inspections and in-flight monitoring in order to ensure the highest levels of safety.  The flights will be conducted in defined airspace over unpopulated areas.  

The test flights will be conducted through a Special Airworthiness Certificate (for the purpose of Research and Development) under the following requirements:

In addition to the FAA’s root cause analysis, the FAA is conducting a comprehensive review of the 787’s critical systems, including the aircraft’s design, manufacture and assembly.

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