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Boeing wants short-term 787 fix

Feb. 17, 2013 at 6:58 PM   |   Comments

EVERETT, Wash., Feb. 17 (UPI) -- Boeing said it will propose to U.S. regulators a short-term fix to get its Dreamliner back in service while batteries are redesigned for a more permanent fix.

The Boeing plans to propose to the Federal Aviation Administration, possibly this week, a box around the 787s' battery cells that would contain fires such as those resulted din the grounding of the planes a month ago, The Seattle Times reported Saturday.

The idea is to get the planes transporting passengers while the company works on a redesign of the lithium-ion battery, which could take nine months or longer, the newspaper said.

The interim solution involves a heavy-duty steel or titanium containment box around the battery cells, and high-pressure evacuation tubes that, in the event of a battery fire, would move gases to the outside of the plane, the report said.

It was unclear whether the FAA will accept containment of an overheated battery cell rather than prevention of recurrences.

If the FAA accepts the proposal, it would take at least three months to design, test, certify and retrofit Dreamliners with containment boxes, a source knowledgeable about Boeing's proposed solutions said.

"This cannot drag out for six to nine months, from a financial standpoint. Think about nine months of airplanes just sitting there. This is a gut-wrenching issue," the source said.

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