The special conditions for 787 battery certification were published in November 2007. In March 2008, industry standards body RTCA published safety guidelines for use of lithium-ion batteries in aircraft, but the 787 rules were not changed “because Boeing had already supplied data showing strong compliance with the special conditions the FAA had developed, and the new standards did not indicate anything unsafe,” she says.
Gilligan also defended the long-established use of designees to determine manufacturer compliance with certification regulations on behalf of the FAA. In place since 1938, the designee program “is critical to the success and effectiveness of the certification process,” she said.
The FAA review of 787 certification, started in early February after the two battery incidents, is to be completed in the summer, Gilligan said. The review is looking “beyond the battery, at all operational data from the aircraft from entry into service, to see any trends or set of incidents,” she said.
“We have identified a couple of areas and launched deeper dives. We expect the review to produce findings and recommendations for process improvements and other actions.”