Boeing (Chicago, Seattle, Wichita and Charleston) yesterday (October 4) added its sixth 787 Dreamliner to the flight test fleet. The airliner made its first flight from Paine Field in Everett, WA. The airplane, 787-8 N787ZA (msn 40695), disgnated as “ZA006”, is the second 787 equipped with General Electric GEnx engines.
Captains Christine Walsh and Bill Roberson were at the controls during the 1 hour and 4 minute flight. The airplane landed at Boeing Field at 12:45 p.m. (1245) (Pacific time).
In addition to achieving first flight of ZA006, the Boeing test team has completed a number of flight test milestones in recent weeks.
Boeing wrapped up a series of natural and artificial icing tests, meeting all requirements with no changes required. Pilots reported that the airplane continues to handle well even in the presence of ice.
Flight loads survey testing, which demonstrates the pressure distribution on the airplane structure throughout the phases of flight in a variety of configurations, also has been completed. The team conducted this testing on ZA004 primarily at the airport at Victorville, CA. Analysis of this testing continues.
A dramatic series of tests that stress the airplane’s brakes, called maximum brake energy testing, was completed in late September at Edwards Air Force Base, also in California. ZA001 conducted this testing as well as a series of extreme takeoff and landing conditions including minimum takeoff speed testing. Earlier in the month, ZA001 completed wet runway testing at Roswell, NM.
ZA003 flew to Glasgow, MT, to complete community noise testing. All results were within expectations.
As a result of these tests and others, all takeoff performance and handling characteristics testing is complete for the initial version of the 787. Additional testing will be required for 787s equipped with GE engines.
The 787 flight test program has logged more than 1,900 hours over 620 flights and completed more than 65 percent of the flight test conditions for 787s with Rolls-Royce engines.
Equally important to the testing required in the air is the ground testing required to certify a new airplane. Boeing has completed well over 4,000 hours of ground testing on the same airplanes that are in the flight test program.
In addition, fatigue testing has started at a test rig in Everett. Fifteen flights have been simulated. Federal regulations require Boeing to conduct twice as many flight cycles as any airplane in revenue service. Boeing plans to have completed 10,000 flight cycles prior to first delivery.