I get around

I’m back in Seattle after wrapping up an event-filled week attending MAKS 2009, better known as the Moscow Air Show.

But I wanted to take a moment to reflect on an exciting week in Everett while I was away. The second 787 Dreamliner (ZA002), performed a series of low-speed taxi tests at Paine Field. We completed three full days of testing on the airplane last week.


It’s great for the whole program to see this airplane, painted in the ANA livery, propelled under its own power and preparing for flight.

I’ve gotten to know a number of colleagues at ANA over the years, and I know it has to be an honor for them as well to see their livery on this airplane. It’s an appropriate tribute to our partnership with ANA.

During the taxi testing, multiple pilots, including Randy Neville, Regis Hancock and Heather Ross took the airplane through a series of laps down the runway – getting a little faster each time – to test the steering and braking. Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, the 787 reached speeds of approximately 100 knots (about 115 miles per hour).

Flight engineers now will review the data and then proceed into more ground testing.


Watch a video of the low speed taxi tests for 787 Dreamliner ZA002 here, or just click on the image above.

What I think is especially interesting is that each lap down the runway during taxi test includes a specific testing objective - sometimes multiple objectives. For example, on Wednesday we tested the braking system by using only the brakes. Typically the brakes are employed along with thrust reversers. Since this was a brakes-only test, the brakes had to be cooled in between runs.

By precisely performing each test and documenting the results, the team can analyze the data and make adjustments where needed.

It’s amazing to contemplate the volume and variety of the testing the 787 team completes each day. They have to be precise in their preparation, implementation, documentation and analysis of an astounding amount of complex material. The team tells me the airplane is performing well, and completing this testing now will be very helpful as we get closer to first flight on Airplane #1.


So where do we stand? Completing taxi testing on Airplane #2 puts us a step closer to being ready to fly after we complete the side-of-body modification on our flight test airplanes. As we’ve mentioned, our focus is on developing and implementing a detailed plan for design, analysis, component tests, full-scale static testing and production modification. This takes time, resources and many organizations working together. We plan to announce the new program schedule later this quarter.

In the meantime, we’re maintaining flight-readiness status - keeping our crews proficient and prepared to start flight testing. As we know and expect, issues will pop up – in which case we’ll knock them down. Our 787 team is relentless and I know they’re doing everything in their power to get the job done.

We’ll continue to keep our heads down, staying focused on getting the 787 Dreamliner in the air.

Comments (7)

Paulo M (Johannesburg, RSA):

Nice that the brakes are working - that's another myth-buster. :) That's a beautiful plane you got there.

What's in the title of the post 'I get around'?



See this.

-- Randy

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

A great video of ANA's first 787 taxing and breaking. ANA has great livery on the 787, it will definitely a head turner at the airport when the plane comes into service as it does now in the field.

Amy (Houston, TX):

What? No smoking, squealing tires? Awww. . .that's no fun!

Barun Majumdar (Seattle, WA, USA):

I really like your concluding sentence. At this historic moment, we should never tend to forget the famous quote of our founding father William "Bill" E. Boeing as "We are embarked as pioneers upon a new science and industry in which our problems are so new and unusual that it behooves no one to dismiss any novel idea with the statement that 'it can't be done!' ". This visionary statement is stunningly true at this trying time.

Jim Hasstedt (Everett, WA, USA):

In answer to Paulo's question, my guess is that "I get around" is a nod to the 1964 song by the Beach Boys.

Hopefully the light at the end of the tunnel is near for the 787, and soon we'll be singing "Up, Up and Away!"

Patrick (Everett, WA):

That 787 wing is just plain sexy, even more so in person!

Stephanie Strange (Miami, Florida):

I received this link from one of our graduates from the Florida International University College of Engineering and Computing in Miami. This is a beautiful plane. We have over 100 students from FIU CEC working for Boeing in the last five years and we are very proud.

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