August 2012

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787 Flight Test Update: Month Two

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Last we left the pair of flying Dreamliners, they had accumulated just shy of 61 hours since ZA001's first flight on December 15 and the first two aircraft had just completed initial airworthiness trials on January 15. ZA002 was parked on the Everett flight line for an aqueous wash following a FOD discovery in the fuel tank and ZA001 was beginning two weeks of planned post IAW layup work at Boeing Field. 

Through February 15, ZA001 has accumulated just shy of 98 hours of flight time on 28 total flights, while ZA002 has flown just shy of 44 hours over 16 flights.

Both have been airborne simultaneously on five separate days in the last month. Additionally, both were flying at the same time as RC501's first flight on February 8. ZA001 and ZA002 are pushing forward with more dynamic evaluations of the aircraft and its primary flight control systems as the program moves closer to Type Inspection Authorization.

Also see - 787 Flight Test Update: Month One

The first Boeing 787 returned to flight on February 5th after 22 days on the ground for a planned layup that among other things, saw the duplication of the yarn pattern on the aircraft's left side to visualize the airflow over the wing.

Indicative of its new flight test methodology in action, ZA001 flew seven days in a row between the 5th and the 11th of February. 

On February 11th, ZA001 had planned to conduct high power fuel cuts near Whidbey Island NAS, but was stymied by unfavorable weather over Puget Sound, so the flight test team went east toward Moses Lake to conduct sidesteps and contrary to what Flightaware reported, ZA001 never landed at Whidbey Island NAS.

The first 787 began flutter testing on February 14th at an altitude of 15,000 feet and a speed of mach .6 and will continue to work toward VMO (maximum operating velocity) of mach .92 in level flight. The aircraft is just beginning to explore the higher speed envelop above mach .6 and beyond and will ease into different conditions at different altitudes and speeds as the wing is evaluated for aeroelastic flutter.

The aircraft flew again on January 27th after two weeks in Everett following an aqueous wash of the fuel tanks. ZA002 also flew for the first time with test engineers aboard for the first time on a multi-state flight that took the 787 as far south as Eureka, California to test the oxygen content of the fuel systems onboard the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 powered aircraft. 

Since then, ZA002 has been concentrating on stability and control and stall testing of the 787's flight control systems and handling. The aircraft also visited Spokane on February 1st. On February 8th, ZA002 returned back to BFI with a very visible leak in its left outboard fuel tank. While program sources say the cause was traced to an inadvertent emergency fuel jettison, the aircraft returned to flight test on February 11th. 

ZA003 & ZA004
Both ZA003 and ZA004 are on the flight line preparing for entry into the flight test. ZA003 was towed to the compass rose on February 13th for navigational systems calibration. ZA004 is scheduled to fly as early as Sunday, February 21st with ZA003 to fly by March 2nd at the latest. 

ZA005 & ZA006
ZA005 and ZA006 are parked inside Building 40-24 and sources say that both have completed side-of-body modifications and are at various stages of restoration. Both are moving toward joining the flight test program in late March and late April, though first flight could come as early as mid-March and early-April, respectively. ZA006 was moved on the February 5th from ATS to the factory. ZA005 was set to be fitted with its twin General Electric GEnx-1B engines this week.

Airplane 7 - ZA100 - (JA801A) was moved to ATS for side-of-body modification on February 16th, while Airplane 8 - ZA101 (JA804A) remains on the flight line. Airplane 9 (N6066Z) is being modified inside the flight line tent. Airplane 10, the first 787 for LAN is painted in white on the flight line, along with a fully painted Airplane 11 and 12 for ANA which left the paint shop on February 4th, which is now hosting Airplane 13. 

Meanwhile inside the factory Airplane 14, 15 and 16 (second for LAN) are in the factory. Airplane 17 - ZA150 - is adorned with a banner that reads "First 787 for Royal Air Maroc" on the side, while the wings for Airplane 18 are now in the laydown position for pre-integration.

Photos Credit JPLPhoto (2) & Wings777 (3)

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