The final Boeing 787 Dreamliner to join the
flight test fleet made its first flight on Monday.
ZA006, is the second 787 equipped with General Electric GEnx
engines to fly. Captains Christine Walsh and Bill Roberson were at
the controls during the 1 hour and 4 minute flight.
"It's great to have our last flight test
airplane join the fleet," said Scott Fancher, vice president
and general manager of the 787 program. "We have been focused on
completing the testing required for certification of the 787 with
Rolls-Royce engines, because that is the first model we deliver. A
great deal of the testing that we've done also applies to the 787s
with GE engines and won't need to be repeated."
There is, however, a smaller portion of testing that is unique
to the engine/airframe combination. In general, this portion
includes noise testing, extreme weather operations, function and
reliability, and extended operations. In addition, testing to
verify the airplane handles the same regardless of engine type and
that the systems work on both models is required.
additional flight tests will be performed on one of the production
airplanes, the ninth 787 to be built, but it is not considered a
full-time member of the flight test fleet.
The 787 flight test program has logged more than
1,900 hours over 620 flights and completed more than 65% 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.
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.
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