Dreamliner test flights resuming

Dec 23, 2010

Most of the Boeing Company is taking a break  for the holidays.  But, not crews involved in test flight activities for the 787 Dreamliner.  The new jet is resuming test flights after a six-week grounding because of an electrical fire.

The fire was caused when somehow, a foreign metal object got into the power distribution panel of one of the Dreamliner test jets.  Smoke entered the cabin, forcing an emergency landing at Laredo, Texas.  Boeing still doesn't know how the object got into the panel.  But spokeswoman Lori Gunter says they have a fix.

"There have been changes made to the software of the airplane that will help it isolate a fault more quickly, so an incident like that is more easily dealt with."

The software is temporary and the tests that are resuming will be for company use only.  Official FAA flight tests will resume later.  But Gunther says it's still a relief for those working on the Dreamliner.

"Absolutely, it's a great Christmas present for all of us on the program to have that airplane back in the air."

Boeing has already delayed the program six times and is nearly three years late in delivering the first 787 to Japan's All Nippon Airways.  The company says it's still analyzing the schedule and won't announce a new timetable until January at the earliest.