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787 ground tests continue before fleet goes into holding pattern

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ZA001andZA002_560.jpgA few important tidbits to wrap up the week before heading into the holiday weekend here in the US. The first half of this week was certainly an interesting one and I took the opportunity during the latter half to catch up on a lot of non-blog items that had previously eluded me. I'll be off until Monday celebrating Independence Day so this weekend will be a good chance to catch my breath.

For the last two days, Boeing confirms that ZA001 has been progressing through its final gauntlet of system checks and a program source indicates it should be wrapped up by the close of this week. The final gauntlet was significantly shortened from eight days to just two while moving tests initially planned for this phase to the extended intermediate gauntlet. The intermediate gauntlet was completed on June 7th

If the schedule progresses as planned, Boeing's ground testing will continue on Monday with the start of taxi testing for ZA001. The company said in its recent delay announcement that low-speed taxi tests are still permissible for the 787s without the proper fix to the upper wing section.

After these tests are completed, the first two 787s will go into a holding pattern of sorts while an interim fix for the side of body is developed, tested on ZY997 and installed on ZA001 before any green light is given to fly. No timeline has been specified internally as Boeing retools its planning, but several sources indicate that the revised plan should be available by August.

Several flight line stalls down in Everett, ZA002, painted in launch customer ANA's colors, underwent the traditionally smoky first engine start on July 1st. Boeing says the engines underwent both dry and wet test spools in the morning, minus formal ignition. The twin Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine were lit for the first time later that afternoon. 

In other 787 news, ZA003 and ZA004 will be registered for their respective flight test campaigns as N787BX and N7874, respectively.

Photo Credit AS

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