United Airlines’s first 787 Dreamliner has taken its maiden production flights as Boeing prepares to deliver the aircraft at the end of September.
The 787 took off from Boeing’s Paine Field in Washington state on Sunday and made a three hour flight around the Seattle area as part of planned tests of the aircraft’s controls and systems, Boeing said. Crew members examined the aircraft’s onboard systems at high and medium altitudes and checked backup and safety elements including cabin pressurization, avionics, navigation, and communication systems.
Boeing has sought to streamline the 787 delivery process by cutting down on the number of test flights. Early production 787s were flown as many as eight times prior to delivery, well above the one or two test flights typically flown by established jetliners like Boeing’s 737 and 777. The 787 is already more than three years behind schedule.
Boeing last week delivered a 787 to Ethiopian Airlines, the third carrier and the first outside of Japan to receive the composite-built jet. Air India and United are among an estimated seven airlines expected to receive 787s this year.
United inherited orders for 50 787s in its merger with Continental.