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Boeing 787 Dreamliner test flight

12:24 PM, Mar 25, 2013   |    comments
A Boeing 787 Dreamliner accelerates down the runway while taking off on its long-awaited first flight Dec. 15, 2009 at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. (Photo: Stephen Brashear Getty Images)
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Bart Jansen, USA TODAY

Boeing plans a test flight shortly for one of its 787 Dreamliners built for LOT Polish Airlines to check whether its redesigned lithium-ion batteries work.

The Monday afternoon flight is intended to confirm that the batteries work as intended for the plane's electrical system, including all backup systems and landing gear, according to Boeing spokesman Marc Birtel.

The flight plan can be viewed at FlightAware.com, which can also will track the airplane's route, location and progress throughout the flight.

The two-hour flight will take off at Paine Field in Everette, Wash., at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. Boeing isn't providing access to the plane or its facilities before or after the flight.

"Following the completion of the functional check flight, we will analyze the data from the flight and prepare for certification ground and flight demonstration in the coming days," Birtel said. "The plan is to conduct one certification demonstration flight."

Boeing is working to return the innovative 787 to the sky after the Federal Aviation Administration and other safety regulators worldwide grounded the fleet on Jan. 16. The grounding came the same day a smoldering battery aboard an All Nippon Airways flight forced an emergency landing in Japan, and a battery fire occurred Jan. 7 in a Japan Airlines plane parked in Boston.

Boeing executives have acknowledged they may never figure out what caused those problems.

But Boeing redesigned the batteries with more glass insulation between the cells to prevent overheating, and a fireproof steel shell around the batteries to prevent a fire from erupting and a titanium tube to carry flammable electrolytes and smoke off the plane.

The FAA approved those plans March 12, pending testing and certification.

USA TODAY

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