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Number 1 was historic. 2 was spectacular. And the 3rd to fly was something special.

And now 4. Having 4 787s in flight test is satisfying, for sure.

It means we’re doing what we said – adding airplanes to the Dreamliner flight test fleet and marching through the required testing, proving that this airplane is the game changer we knew it would be.

image/photo

ZA003 takes off from Paine Field. With this mission there are now 4 Dreamliners flying.

Sunday’s flight of ZA003 – the 3rd flight test airplane, but the 4th to fly - like all of the other 787 first flights, had no surprises, and that’s just what we expect.

Captains Ray Craig and Mike Bryan spent a little over three hours putting the airplane through its initial paces.

ZA003, by the way, is the flight test Dreamliner that includes passenger interior features. In addition to demonstrating interior certification, this airplane will also test systems, noise performance, flight-deck operations and avionics among other elements.

You know, I was just thinking that the only “challenge” with the addition of ZA003 to the fleet is that it’s now going to start getting a bit interesting to visually keep track of these airplanes. Until now, each flying airplane has had a unique livery.

I’ve actually had the pleasure of seeing the airplanes flying over Seattle during the past weeks, and I could tell which airplane it was just by looking at it. But ZA003 has the same look as ZA004 (and ZA005 and ZA006 will match too)!

Oh well, as long as my only worry on the 787 program is keeping track of whether I’m seeing airplane 1, 2, 3 or 4 as it soars overhead, I guess I’ve got no complaints.

Comments (14)

P.Sumantri (France):

So there are four 787 and two 747-8 in the air.

Flying those aircraft is the "fun" and visible part of the iceberg. Processing the huge amount of data gathered during each test flight must be challenging for those who are on ground.

Thiagarajan (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia):

Beautiful Dreamliner just don't happen..Boeing makes it happen...Congrats Boeing.

Tom (Germany):

Randy,

good feeling for the four test teams - as long as the weather is fine and not too bumpy!

What about the bird that will never fly, but must hopefully sustain loads, no 787 will ever encounter?
Did the load test already start?

Don Harrington (Bellevue, WA):

With the addition of ZA003 with it's full interior, we get closer to first delivery. Great job 787 team. Keep up the great work.

And thank you, Randy, for keeping us all so well informed!

Alessandro (European Union):

#4 hasn´t flown since maiden flight more than 2 weeks ago, whats up?
Stats on www.b787testflight.com is often faulty,
especially number of flights, but even the adding of total flight time sometimes, is it outsourced to somebody who
can´t count or use Windows Excel?

David Balton:

Here's an idea- if it's not too late, for the 5th & 6th test aircraft, paint them in the "light" livery but use different color shades; i.e. ZA005 could use red, ZA006 could use green, etc. What do you think?

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

Now the four 787's can fly in a finger tip formation!

Donald:

Early images of the 787 had winglets. What happened to them?

jmx53 (Springfield, Oregon):

Thanks for keeping us informed Randy and congratulations to all the talented people at Boeing on progress with all the various programs including 787 & 747-8.

Will be any publicity photos of multiple 787s flying in formation? Maybe all 6 of the test aircraft in one frame...That would be a fantastic photo!

Kevin (Los Angeles, CA):

Indeed a six ship formation would be great, with 4 787s forming a diamond and one 747-8 on each side.

Donald,
the winglets in lieu of raked wingtips were for the 787-3, intended for ANA short/medium range markets. With a reduced wingspan, it was to fit into many more existing gates. ANA has since then converted its -3 orders for -8.

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

With the four 787s flying a great family picture can be made and many places can be visited wowing the onlookers where ever they go.

Alex Erochenko (santiago, Chile.):

Convince the high rollers to bring a Dreamliner to the FIDAE 2010 airshow down to Chile if at all possible, I bet this early in the testing phase is not that simple.

But you guys would make a killing!!

Scott Putnam (Redding, CA):

Thanks again for the continuous company updates. You're a great resource for people like me who have no affiliation with the aerospace industry, but who are interested in Boeing's engineering/technological innovations. Great job, truly.

I have a question regarding the interior design of 787 #3. The color scheme and seat design are very different than the beige/orange, modern interior design presented in the mock-up(s). Is this just another design vision or is #3's design a reflection of the testing regimen?

-----------

Thanks for the question, Scott.

The answer is, the latter. It is a testing interior and not reflective of an in-service customer interior.

-- Randy Tinseth

P.Sumantri (France):

Correction to my comment above, please read:
"So there are four 787 and three 747-8 in the air."

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