SEATTLE – Boeing sent a 787 up on a test flight Saturday, the first since the new airliner was grounded three weeks ago because of a battery fire.
The aircraft took off from Boeing Field in Seattle and spent nearly two and a half hours flying back and forth over the Columbia Plateau. It landed at Boeing Field shortly before 3 p.m.
The Federal Aviation Administration granted permission for the flight.
The 787 is the first commercial airliner to rely heavily on lithium-ion batteries. Each plane has two of the 63-pound blue power bricks, one near the front to provide power to the cockpit if the engines stop, and one near the back to start up the auxiliary power unit.
On Jan. 7, a battery on a plane that had recently landed in Boston short-circuited and caught fire. Nine days later, a battery on an All Nippon Airways plane started smoking, forcing an emergency landing in Japan. Boeing said Saturday’s flight was to assess the in-flight performance of the batteries.