The RTCA test will be used on an extensive new battery system Boeing unveiled on Friday. It adds safeguards to prevent fire, keep fumes from entering the cabin and ensure the jet’s ability to fly and land are never compromised.
Boeing said it already is about one-third through testing with the tougher RTCA regimen, known as “DO-311” and is likely to finish “within a week or two.”
Asked why Boeing had not used the RTCA standard, a senior Boeing engineer on Friday suggested the standard was too broad.
The RTCA standard “covered a wide range of lithium-ion batteries and it contained roughly 104 requirements,” said Ron Hinderberger, vice president of 787-8 engineering. “Some of those requirements went beyond the requirements that were established in the special condition.”
The FAA did not respond to questions on why it did not apply the standard earlier or Boeing’s decision to use it now. The FAA adopted the standard in April 2011.
Richard Lukso, the former head of Securaplane Technologies, the Arizona company that supplied the charging unit for the 787 battery, said Boeing should have asked its battery subcontractor, GS Yuasa Corp of Japan, to use the RTCA standard. GS Yuasa declined to comment.
“It was (Boeing’s) responsibility to request that test,” Lukso said.