Aviation News

September 3, 2010

Boeing 787 Test Fleet Keeping Busy All Around the World

More articles by »
By: BNO News
Tags: , ,

ZA001, the first Boeing 787 built, is on remote deployment to Edwards Air Force Base in California for a series of tests to demonstrate extreme landing conditions. (Photo courtesy of Boeing)

A week after revealing that the first 787 Dreamliner delivery will once again be delayed, Boeing on Friday issued an impressive rundown of what their test aircraft fleet has been up to.

While the ZA005 continues testing from its base of operations in Seattle, Washington, the ZA001, the first 787, is taking a break from operations out of Edwards Air Force Base in California during its week-long testing in Roswell, New Mexico, which marks its second visit to Roswell.

Last month the airplane conducted wet-runway testing there as testing in the days ahead will include rejected-takeoff conditions. ZA001 has been on remote deployment to Edwards Air Force Base for several weeks, with a focus on takeoff- and landing-performance conditions.

The second 787 is conducting high-latitude and cold-weather testing at Keflavik Airport in Iceland.

In contrast to the weather in Iceland, the hot weather in Yuma, Arizona, with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), has provided the necessary conditions for another set of tests happening on ZA003. Its deployment is expected to last about another week.

“We’ve been watching for the right weather conditions for some time,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “The team was happy to see the forecast in Iceland met our needs and we deployed to Keflavik earlier this week.”

Furthermore, ZA004 has spent an extended time operating out of Victorville, California, conducting flight loads survey testing, which measures external pressure distributions throughout the flight envelope. The ZA004 will be taking off to Glasgow, Montana, after it completes its California testing.

While natural ice testing has finished, artificial ice shapes have been affixed to the leading edges of the wings and horizontal and vertical stabilizer of the fifth 787 to complete another group of tests required for certification. Ice-shape testing verifies the airplane’s performance in the presence of ice.

“Flight test is staying very busy,” said Fancher. “We continue to be very pleased with the performance of the airplane. We’re definitely putting it through its paces, subjecting it to the harshest environments and conditions to ensure it is ready for revenue service.”

The 787 flight test fleet has conducted more than 1,650 hours of flying over more than 540 flights.

With NYCAviation reporting