It’s a video that should, theoretically, fill even the most nervous flier with confidence in aircraft capabilities. Although let’s face it, we really wouldn’t want to take-off like that!
Footage has emerged of a Boeing 787 Dreamliner aeroplane being tested to the limits of its ability; just days after the long-grounded aircraft passed a final safety test which could see it allowed back in the skies sometime in the next few weeks.
The video shows a Qatar Airways Dreamliner, piloted by a Boeing commercial pilot but one seemingly with the skills of someone putting an F-18 though its paces, on an extreme take-off, various acrobatic manoeuvres, and a relatively calm landing.
During take-off the plane soars dramatically, launching into a steep climb. Once the plane reaches its target altitude it levels out before it sets about performing various stunts, including sharp turns and flying almost on its side.
The video was uploaded to YouTube by user Wonkabar007, and was apparently filmed at the Farnborough International Air Show in Hampshire last year.
But just months after the footage was recorded, the entire Boeing 787 Dreamliner fleet – 50 planes owned by eight airlines worldwide - was grounded after an overheating battery system led to smoke-filled cockpits, an emergency landing and a fire on the tarmac at Boston Airport.
On Friday, however, the plane passed a final safety examination after three weeks of rigorous testing.
Although the cause of the overheating battery has not yet been diagnosed, Friday’s test flight near Boeing’s factory in Seattle involved a plane that had numerous modifications to the battery system.
These include more insulation for the lithium-ion battery, encasing it in a steel box and an overhauled circuitry system.
According to Boeing, the changes address more than 80 potential causes of the overheating battery issue.
All that remains for the Dreamliner to be allowed back into the air is for regulators at the European Aviation Safety Agency, the US Federal Aviation Administration and Japan’s Civil Aviation Bureau to approve the modifications.
The cost of the changes and the testing is thought to be around £325 million but, seeing as the launch of the Airbus A380 was hit by similar problems and subsequently went on to take 262 orders, investors have remained faithful to the project.
That faith looks set to be restored after the International Airlines Group confirmed an order of 18 Dreamliners for British Airways. That deal is worth £2.6 billion for Boeing.
The updated battery system will be added to grounded planes first, before Boeing begins installing it on the as yet unsold planes it has continued building at a rate of five per month.