787 achieves initial airworthiness milestone

written by australianaviation.com.au | January 16, 2010
ZA001 in flight. (Boeing)
ZA001 in flight. (Boeing)

Boeing says the 787 has completed initial airworthiness testing, one month after the aircraft made its first flight on December 15 last year.

The initial airworthiness milestone allows the expansion of the flight test program, allowing more crew members to be carried on flights and more aircraft to join the flight test program.

“This is an important step forward,” said Scott Fancher, VP and general manager of the 787 program, in a January 15 statement. “We are very pleased with the results we have achieved so far. The airplane has been performing as we expected.”

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To date the two flying 787s (ZA001 which was the first to fly, and the ANA painted ZA002 which first flew on December 22) have completed 15 flights totaling almost 60 flight hours. Six different pilots have flown the 787s, which have taken the aircraft to an altitude of 30,000ft and a speed of Mach 0.65 thus far, and seen initial stall tests, other dynamic manoeuvres, and an extensive checkout of the aircraft’s systems completed.

“The pilots have told me the results we are seeing in flight match their expectations and the simulations we’ve run,” said Fancher.

The 787 is expected to reach altitudes of more than 40,000ft and a speed of Mach 0.85 “in the weeks ahead”, Boeing says.

Other 787s are due to join the flight test program shortly, Flightblogger reports, with ZA004 to fly in early February, followed soon after by ZA003 (which has been fitted with a partial passenger interior), and the GEnx powered ZA005 and ZA006 in March and April respectively.

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