Boeing 787 Dreamliner hits problems after launch

787 dreamliner

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has finally come into service in Japan, the US, and elsewhere. The light carbon fiber body is said to provide greater fuel efficiency, making new routes possible, while the airplane has other new features such as electronically dimmable windows.

But the 787 has run into issues since making its inaugural flight, with a series of emergency landings and battery failures ultimately leading to the FAA's order to ground the plane in the US. Follow this stream for updates on Boeing's efforts to get the plane of the future back in the air.

28 updates and 1310 comments below.

Jan 14 12:59p

Smoking Boeing 787 Dreamliner battery raises alarms in Japan

Boeing spent much of the first half of last year battling problems with its 787 Dreamliner airplane — battery problems led to a number of fires, which led the plane to be grounded entirely in the US and Japan for months while the company worked on a fix. Unfortunately for Boeing, the 787's battery is back in the headlines today. Maintenance workers at Japan's Narita airport noticed smoke and an unidentified liquid coming from a 787's main battery two hours before the plane was scheduled to...

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Aug 14 4:49a

Faulty fire extinguisher wiring found on three Boeing 787 Dreamliners

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has hit its latest problem — Japanese airline ANA says that three of its 20-strong fleet have shown an electrical wiring issue with their engine fire extinguishers. An airline spokesperson told Reuters that the discovery was first made during pre-flight maintenance in Tokyo.

Jul 18 11:16a

UK investigators blame a new kind of battery for Ethiopian Airlines 787 fire

The fire that caused significant damage to an Ethiopian Airlines 787 Dreamliner sitting on the tarmac of London's Heathrow airport last week is now officially being blamed by British authorities on batteries — but not the same ones that led to the 787's months-long grounding earlier this year. This time, the focus is on an emergency locator transmitter (ELT) manufactured by Honeywell, which uses lithium-manganese batteries and sits in the upper rear portion of the aircraft's fuselage.


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Jul 13 2:14p

Investigators say Boeing 787 fire at Heathrow unrelated to battery design

Another Boeing 787 Dreamliner caught fire yesterday, but reports indicate that unlike previous outbreaks the latest incident is unrelated to the aircraft's lithium-ion battery design. Though the fire's actual cause is still unknown, the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch said on Saturday that there was no evidence that the aircraft's battery had been the source of the fire. A full investigation is expected to take several days.

The 787 had been idle on the ground for eight hours at the...

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Jul 12 12:32p

Boeing 787 catches fire at London airport just months after battery redesign

After months of investigation and repairs, it appears Boeing's new 787 Dreamliner is having troubles again. Both runways at London's Heathrow airport were shut down this evening local time after a fire broke out on a passenger jet. A statement from the airport provided to the BBC says that "the aircraft was parked on a remote parking stand" and adds that "there were no passengers on board and there are no reported injuries at this time." The plane in question is a 787 run by Ethiopian...

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Jun 24 12:45p

Latest incidents mean little for young Boeing 787 Dreamliner

A scheduled United flight to Denver on Sunday needed to return to its originating airport, Houston's George Bush Intercontinental, after a cockpit indicator suggested a possible problem with the aircraft's brakes. Such issues happen dozens of times per month around the world, but this particular incident is getting extra scrutiny due to the type of aircraft involved: Boeing's 787 Dreamliner, which has gotten off to a rocky start since its 2011 launch with Japanese carrier ANA.

In the month...

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May 20 12:17p

Boeing 787 returns to active duty in the US with flight from Houston to Chicago

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner airplane has officially returned to the skies in the US following an embarrassing and costly battery problem that grounded the company's flagship plane for most of 2013. United Airlines flight 1 left Houston on time just after 11:00AM CT and is scheduled to land in Chicago at 1:35PM CT. Hopefully for Boeing, this will be the end of the 787's problems — the FAA lifted the 787 flight ban near the end of April after approving Boeing's battery redesigns. At the time,...

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Apr 27 1:34p

Boeing 787 returns to skies in Ethiopia with first commercial flight since January

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner has made its first commercial flight since the entire fleet was grounded this past January following two separate incidents involving the lithium-ion batteries equipped on the planes. Ethiopian Airlines flight 801, which departed Addis Ababa at 9:45AM local time and arrived in Nairobi at 12:38PM, made the trip without incident. The 787 used for the trip is one of four in the airline's fleet, and it is the first that has successfully been retrofitted with the battery...

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Apr 26 12:30p

Japan gives Boeing 787 clearance to return to service once battery fixes are implemented

Japan's transportation minster has announced that the country will allow the troubled 787 Dreamliner airplane to return to the skies once Boeing deploys its battery modifications, reports the Associated Press. This comes one day after the US Federal Aviation Administration gave a similar all-clear order to the 787, though the fix won't be completely deployed in Japan until June. "We have reached a conclusion that there is no problem with the judgment by the FAA," said Japanese transportation...

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Apr 25 12:21p

FAA ends Boeing 787 flight ban after approving redesigned battery system

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner will soon return to the air with passengers onboard — the Federal Aviation Administration just announced that it has lifted the airplane's flight ban following the approval of its redesigned battery system, reports Reuters. The lifting of the restriction at this point isn't a big surprise, as the FAA approved the fixes Boeing made to the 787's battery system last week, but now the plane is all clear to get back into the air. This comes after more than three months of...

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Apr 19 2:50p

FAA approves Boeing 787 design modifications, grounding order to be lifted next week (update)

Following news last night that the FAA was close to giving the Boeing 787 approval to return to the skies, the administration has officially approved proposed design modifications to make the plane safe for flight. In a press release, the FAA says that it will give airplane operators instructions on how to implement the design fix next week and it will lift the grounding order that has kept the Dreamliner from flying. The ruling will require operators to "install containment and venting...

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Apr 18 9:58p

FAA will soon approve redesigned Boeing 787 battery, reports WSJ

The beleaguered Boeing 787 Dreamliner could soon return to the skies. The Wall Street Journal reports that the Federal Aviation Administration intends to approve the aircraft as soon as Friday, endorsing battery improvements designed to prevent and contain fires. In February, the FAA denied a previous Wall Street Journal report that it was close to approving test flights, but such test flights did begin in late March, and now it sounds like the Dreamliner might not be the lemon some had...

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Mar 25 5:51p

Boeing 787 Dreamliner returns to the sky for a test flight

Boeing's much-feted 787 Dreamliner returned to the skies today for the first time since January, when it was grounded by the FAA. It was the first of two flights designed to test recent changes to the plane's lithium-ion battery, which had previously caused a number of mid-flight fires. The test flight went off without a hitch, taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Washington and flying for two hours, 300 miles down the Pacific coast and back without incident.

It's good news for Boeing,...

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Mar 14 10:00p

Boeing details Dreamliner 787 battery fixes, says airplanes were 'not at risk'

Earlier this week the Federal Aviation Administration took the first steps towards approving a set of proposed battery fixes for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and today the company took the opportunity to detail the changes — as well as try to downplay the severity of the issue. During a press conference, Boeing's vice president and chief project engineer Mike Sinnett struck back at media reports about the Dreamliner's problems, saying that the planes were never in any real danger. The problems,...

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Mar 12 4:55p

FAA approves certification program for Boeing 787 battery fixes

Last month Boeing presented a series of proposed fixes to the Federal Aviation Administration intended to address problems with the Boeing 787 Dreamliner's lithium-ion battery system — and today the FAA has taken the first step towards approving those changes. In a press release, the FAA states that it has approved the "certification plan" — essentially allowing Boeing to begin a testing process to prove whether the battery fixes will get the job done. As part of that plan, the FAA is...

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Feb 26 7:32p

FAA denies reports that it will soon approve testing of Dreamliner battery fixes

The Federal Administration Aviation is disputing reports that it will soon approve testing of a set of battery fixes for the troubled 787 Dreamliner. Last week Boeing presented a number of proposed changes to the FAA intended to address concerns with the plane's lithium-ion batteries. Today The Wall Street Journal reported that the FAA would likely be giving the all-clear next week, with flights to follow sometime thereafter. However, FAA spokesperson Laura Brown has since told Reuters that...

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Feb 20 4:36p

Boeing will reportedly present Dreamliner battery fixes to FAA this week

The Federal Aviation Administration agreed to let Boeing conduct test flights of the troubled 787 Dreamliner less than two weeks ago, and the company may already have some fixes in mind. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Boeing will propose a 10-item suite of temporary fixes to the FAA on Friday that are intended to address problems with the plane's lithium-ion batteries. A new fireproof enclosure, checklists for the cockpit crew, and a different venting system are said to be among...

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Feb 14 8:26p

Airbus will drop lithium-ion batteries from A350 after Dreamliner grounding, says WSJ

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Airbus' upcoming A350, the company's competitor to Boeing's high-tech 787 Dreamliner, will drop all use of lithium-ion batteries. The Dreamliner has run into serious problems since going into service around the world last year, and all planes are currently grounded pending an FAA investigation into battery fires. Airbus is reportedly concerned that scrutiny of the Dreamliner's batteries could delay initial A350 shipments; the aircraft is expected to...

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Feb 07 6:34p

FAA approves test flights for Boeing's grounded 787 Dreamliner

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be returning to the air — but only so Boeing can gather information about the battery fires that led the Federal Aviation Administration to ground its new planes in January. In a statement, Boeing said the FAA has approved flights by one of the Dreamliners, something that will allow investigators to collect data about the plane's battery and electrical systems and hopefully lead to answers that could let Boeing fix the problem. As part of the approval, the crew...

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Feb 04 8:32p

FAA may approve Boeing 787 Dreamliner test flights as early as this week

The Federal Aviation Administration grounded all flights of the Boeing 787 Dreamliner last month due to ongoing safety concerns — but the troubled aircraft may soon be authorized for a limited return to the skies. The Seattle Times reports that Boeing has asked the FAA for permission to start test flights of the Dreamliner in order to gain additional information about the battery system that has caused so much trouble for the aircraft. The company reportedly has a fix it wants to try as part...

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Feb 01 8:08p

Boeing 787 investigation has no deadline, could take months or years

While history suggests that the Boeing 787 Dreamliner could one day be a productive part of the skies, that day may not come soon. Experts tell Bloomberg that the investigation into the aircraft's battery-related fires — which grounded all Dreamliner planes around the world — could take months or years to conclude.

Outgoing US Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that there's "no pressure" to get the 787 flying again, and a National Transportation Safety Board representative reiterated...

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Jan 29 8:25p

Elon Musk calls 787 Dreamliner battery structure 'inherently unsafe'

The high-powered lithium-ion batteries used in Boeing's 787 Dreamliner planes have come under a harsh spotlight in recent weeks; a pair of battery-related fires have resulted in the grounding of fleets across the globe. Yet while Japanese investigators said this week that they are yet to find any factory-level problems with the batteries, SpaceX and Tesla Motors head Elon Musk — who competes with Boeing in commercial space ventures — believes that there is a more fundamental issue in play.

Jan 17 1:15p

Is the 787 Dreamliner a lemon?

Yesterday's decision by the Federal Aviation Administration to ground all US-based Boeing 787s — the crown jewel in Boeing's commercial aviation product portfolio — is unquestionably an alarming one: it halts the most advanced airliner ever designed from carrying passengers until Boeing can get to the bottom of lithium ion battery fires that have disrupted one flight and left another aircraft smoking at the gate. United, which owns all six of the US 787s currently in service, will be forced...

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Jan 16 6:13p

FAA grounds all Boeing 787 airplanes in the US after second battery-related fire

Following All Nippon Airways decision to ground its fleet of Boeing 787s Dreamliners, the Federal Aviation Administration has announced that all 787s in the US are to be grounded pending an investigation into the recent lithium-ion battery failures that have caused fires in Boston and Japan. Just yesterday, a 787 had to make an emergency landing in Japan after a fire started on the aircraft and sent smoke into the cabin.

The 787 is to be grounded until operators are able to prove to the FAA...

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Jan 15 9:05p

Japanese airlines ground all Boeing 787s after emergency landing (update)

A Boeing 787 Dreamliner was forced to make an emergency landing this morning in Takamatsu, Japan, when smoke was found emanating from the cockpit, reports NHK. ANA Flight 692 made the emergency landing at 8:45 this morning on its way to Haneda Airport in Tokyo, shutting down the runway, and NHK’s camera shows that the plane’s emergency slides deployed. According to airport officials, the vessel appeared otherwise normal. The 137 passengers and crew on board are reported to be safe. According...

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Jan 11 9:44a

FAA will review Boeing 787 Dreamliner after latest mishap

Bloomberg reports that the power system for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner will be reviewed by the Federal Aviation Administration in the wake of a fire that damaged the plane's battery pack after a flight this past January. Both the design of the plane and its manufacturing will be included in the investigation. The Dreamliner has been touted for its long list of innovative features, including its carbon fiber construction, lithium-ion batteries, and electrochromic windows that dim without the...

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Nov 04 11:40p

Boeing 787 Dreamliner enters US service with United Airlines

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner is officially now in service on US domestic routes, following its first international landing on American soil back in April. The state-of-the-art aircraft landed at Chicago's O'Hare airport on Sunday morning after a flight from Houston operated by United Airlines. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the plane landed almost 15 minutes ahead of schedule to an ovation from the passengers and crew.

United has ordered 50 Dreamliners, of which two have been shipped so far;...

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Sep 21 1:45a

Boeing to outfit planes for in-flight cellphone use by 2013

Boeing has announced plans to outfit some of its aircraft with equipment that would allow for in-flight cellphone use. In a press release issued Wednesday, the company said it has begun installing connectivity systems on all 747 and 777 planes, and that they should be completely cellphone-friendly by 2013. The manufacturer's 787 Dreamliner planes already include kits that allow for cellphone use, though Boeing plans to upgrade them with additional capabilities by the end of the year.


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Apr 24 7:49a

Boeing 787 Dreamliner makes US debut with nonstop flight from Tokyo to Boston

Boeing's 787 Dreamliner made its US debut on Sunday, with a commercial Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo to Boston. The aircraft has already been incorporated into All Nippon Airways' fleet of passenger planes, but Sunday's flight marked the 787's first foray into the US, as well as its maiden transpacific voyage. Japan Airlines also became the first carrier to offer non-stop service from Boston to Asia.

The 787 Dreamliner completed its first trip to Europe in January, and began offering...

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