Boeing has announced that it will add a further two 787s to its flight test program for the type after announcing recently that delivery of the first aircraft will be delayed until the middle for the first quarter of 2011.
Unlike the six aircraft originally identified as being involved in the flight test program, the two additional aircraft are production 787s which will still be delivered to customers after the type achieves certification. Reports claim that the two aircraft will be involved in ground and ETOPS (Extended-range Twin engine Operations), which will not require heavy instrumentation or modification, and it is understood that they will be flown with full airline interiors.
A Boeing spokesperson said that the manufacturer had always intended to add two aircraft to the test fleet but that it had not been previously disclosed. There are currently five of six preproduction aircraft involved in flight test duties, with the sixth aircraft likely to fly later this month.