Dream on

Dreamliner #1, the flight test airplane we call ZA001, is on the flight line in Everett. It’s a big step for the 787 on the road toward first flight.


ZA001 moving from paint hangar to flight line - first stop, the fuel dock.

Sunday’s move means we’re about to begin the next phase of extensive testing required before the airplane takes to the sky later this quarter. Fuel testing for the Dreamliner begins in the next few days.

For those of you keeping track, ZA001 is now “shop complete.” While on the flight line, the airplane will go through some additional power and systems tests as well as engine runs. After final systems checks and high-speed taxi tests, she’s ready to fly.

In April, ZA001 finished a series of tests including build verification, structures and systems integration, landing gear swings and factory “gauntlet” - the full simulation of the first flight using the actual airplane.


The static test airframe - seen here in tests last month to subject the wing and trailing edges to their limit load.

Structural tests on the static airframe required before first flight are also completed - the final test was April 21 when the wing and trailing edges were subjected to the highest loads expected to be seen in service, or about the same as the airplane experiencing two and a half times the force of gravity.

At the end of last week, ground vibration testing was completed on the second flight-test airplane (ZA002 - measuring the airplane’s response to flutter. This means that all the structural tests we needed to perform before the first flight are now completed.


ZA001 in the fuel dock on Sunday.

Moving a new airplane to the flight line is a big moment. If you love airplanes like I do, you can’t help but be excited as we enter the home stretch. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I know that completing that work successfully - like all of the efforts now behind us – will be due to the amazing efforts of our 787 team.

I don’t need to tell you that it’s been a tough, tough couple of years – on many levels – and we’ve taken a lot of knocks and endured a lot of criticism. Through it all, though, the teamwork, emotional resilience and dedication of this Boeing team - and our partners around the world – has been nothing short of incredible. It’s been a nearly superhuman effort getting to where we are today.

For that, I want to offer my personal appreciation, and offer my congratulations and best wishes as the team moves ahead toward flight test and first deliveries.

But their work never ends. Now that Airplane #1 has been turned over to Flight Test, the team is back in the factory bringing Airplanes 2-6 to completion.

Comments (22)


Onward and Upward! Congratulations...Good Luck !!

Mike (USA):

What an amazing, beautiful aircraft!

Chris C (South Africa):

The super-efficient Boeing 787 Dreamliner is simply an absolutely beautiful airplane!! Wow, those super-critical wings are simply amazing! Truly a magnificient airplane the 787, and without a doubt, the 21st century flagship.

All the best for first flight preparations! http://www.boeingmedia.com/imageDetail.cfm?id=15432&KeyWord=&BuId=1&caid=0&prid=0&sc=med&pn=1

Don Harrington (Bellevue, WA):

Exciting times! I feel like I did as a kid (and sometimes still do) on Christmas morning! I can't wait for first flight!

Michelle (Normandy Park, WA) (Normandy Park, WA):


Brock (Auburn, WA, USA):

Nice to see it out of the factory! Great photos! I can't wait to see it in the air.

Mohamed EAK (Dubai, United Arab Emirates.):

Waiting to see the real aircraft ASAP.

Jason Yuhara (Everett, WA):

I truly hope that this is the indication of our future success. Regardless of the delay, which for sake of discussion is standard in such dynamic projects, this quality aircraft will lead the way. Other companies though they try, will not be able to compete as long as we strive to make market accomplishments such as this. Efficiency is key and I hope to be part of another generation of Boeing projects that take the lead.

Michelle (Puget Sound):

Woohoo! This is such a relief for many of us on the program.

Joanna (Everett, WA):

Very proud to have a small part in this. Kudos to all involved!

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Beautiful. And so the world turns its eyes to Everett... Great distraction & inspiration for me as I race to remind myself of basic math & physics.

Tim (Long Beach, CA. (USA)):

To Our Teammates Up North!

Congratulations Dreamliner Team!

Ready for 1st Flight --- Rock N' Roll!!

martin nix (everett):

Watching the 787 all composite aircraft come to life, has me thinking about the next composite airplane. I think Sales and Marketing should seriously review an all composite 50 seat jet, that burns cleaner fuel (biojet), flys higher and above existing traffic (50,000 feet or higher), and faster (subsonic), and flys longer distance (ie. 6,000 to 12,000 miles), and lands on short distance runways.

Historically, Boeing hasn't competed well in the under 100 seat aircraft market, surrendering this to other manufacturers (Dehaviland, Lear, Embarer, etc). There are literally a thousand or so ultra-thin routes (ie. Albuquerque to South Africa), that have 50 or so passengers a day. Instead of building a new 737 composite aircraft, maybe a delta wing, subsonic, long range clean fuel jet in the 50 passenger range would be a best seller.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

It's nice to see the 787 out in the Sun after seeing the plane in the hanger for a long time. You know when the plane is getting fueled, it means it is only a short amount of time until the engines start running.

Yvonne Fang (Tianjin, China):

Finally, the dream comes!

Rob (Las Vegas, NV):

Some day we will all be riding on the 787.
Looking forward to ride on the 747-8I too.

Nguyen Hoang, Duc (SGN, Vietnam) (Halle, Sachsen - Anhalt, Germany):

How beautiful it is! Totally great. Even though I heard some troubles with the weight of first 20 aircrafts, I do believe, that Boeing can absolutely solve this problem. Moreover, I wish all 787 Dreamliners will demonstrate more efficient than expected.

Good luck!!! ^_^

hamilcar (Philippines):

The experience gained in these two years could be one of Boeing's best assets. Aside from an excellent airplane, Boeing may have created a way in that all planes in the future will be, and must be, made.

DanM (San Diego, CA):

It's been quite a wait, but it is unbelievably exciting to see this airframe finally on the flightline. I (along with the rest of the aerospace community) am anxiously awaiting first flight and EIS.

One question: Can you enlighten us on the paint scheme for the flight-test aircraft? Folks have been speculating!

Gregory Schmitz (Anchorage AK):

I have not been able to find out what Ground Vibration Testing is.

You have more detail than most (flutter), but there is no details as to how it is done and what is being done.

It almost sounds like a high speed taxi test.

Could you clarify that whole subject in good detail?

I have googled it, and asked my knowledgeable brother and nada on details.

alexandar (oakland):

What about the new airbus A330-200 upgrade to go 7200nm? Is there enough leap advantage from the 787?

Matt Eisler (Williamsburg):

Truly stunning airplane and a wonderful achievement.
It is nice to see her outside in the Washington state sunshine. Now it's on to the skies above.

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