Our 787 chief pilot Mike Carriker, and our 787 systems director Mike Sinnett had an awesome experience earlier this month. They “flew” the Dreamliner with the “Blockpoint 8” software for the first time - in a successful test of the 787 integrated avionics and flight systems hardware and software that are now in final development.
The “flight” took place in the 787 engineering flight simulator.
The testing of software and hardware took place in this 787 engineering flight simulator, which functions in a true airline operational environment.
During the test, Mike and Mike demonstrated most of the operational procedures required by a flight crew - pushback and engine start at Sea-Tac airport near Seattle, taxi and takeoff, climb, cruise, simulated engine failure, descent, approach, single-engine go-around, landing, taxi and arrival at the gate at the Portland, Oregon airport.
It’s an important first step in the validation of the Blockpoint 8 software that I mentioned. This is the family of software created exclusively for the 787, and that will support initial flight test. This flight software system is more highly integrated with many more features for crew efficiency, comfort, and situational awareness than flight systems in use today.
So what’s next? With this “first” behind us, we’re continuing our testing - improving and validating the systems on the road to real first flight of the Dreamliner.