Here are some more details of the conditions imposed on Boeing by the FAA to enable 787 flight tests to begin. Echoing some of the provisos levied on Boeing when it conducted today’s ferry flight of a 787 from Texas back to Everett, Wash, the FAA granted Boeing a “Special Airworthiness Certificate (for the purpose of Research and Development)” to conduct the testing. In particular these include the requirement that before flight, the crew must perform “a number of inspections to verify that the batteries and cables show no signs of damage.” The FAA says the pre-flight checklist will also include a mandatory check for specific status messages that could indicate possible battery problems.
Once airborne, the agency says the crew “must continuously monitor the flight computer for battery related status messages, and land immediately if one occurs.” Before the initial test flight, the crew must also inspect the airplane’s smoke barriers and insulation to verify that they meet the approved design. It also adds that experimental research and development flights will only be flown with Boeing aircrews that include only personnel essential to the flight.”