6 in the air

TOKYO — It’s great to have six airplanes in our flight test fleet. ZA006’s first flight today was just as spectacular as our other first flights and just as disciplined. And now, our flight test fleet is complete.


Captains Christine Walsh and Bill Roberson fly away in our sixth 787 flight test airplane.

The crew got a maintenance message during flight and made the prudent decision to land at Boeing Field a little earlier than expected. The airplane will now go into a post-first-flight layup where we will inspect the airplane, address the maintenance message and install some flight test equipment.

The video below shows some of the key testing activities that we’ve completed in the last couple of months and it includes some of the more dramatic testing. Check out the crosswinds in Iceland - Capt. Randy Neville and the ZA002 crew sure know their business. And Capt. Mike Carriker and the ZA001 crew took the airplane through its paces in wet runway testing, braking tests, minimum takeoff speed testing and rejected takeoffs.

And while it’s not as visual, Capt. Heather Ross and the ZA004 team have been leading on flight loads survey testing in Victorville. She told us after she flew ZA004 on its first flight that she was looking forward to this testing because it is unique in a flight test regime. This testing gives us a thorough understanding of the aerodynamic loads on the airplane throughout operations - very important for the technical community.

ZA003 and its crew have been busy with noise testing in Montana among other activities. And ZA005 and crew have been focused on icing tests and will be heading out for some other extended remote testing in California soon.

Like the other flight test airplanes, ZA006 will head into a layup period following first flight - giving us the chance to perform post-flight inspection and install the unique equipment required for its first round of tests.

We’re watching this week as we approach 2,000 hours of testing, a real milestone. But even more important than hours, we’ve completed nearly 65 percent of our test conditions for 787s with Rolls-Royce engines.

Comments (1)

Norman (Long Beach, California, United States):

The VMU minimun unstick test must be one of the more harrowing maneuvers in the testing process of the 787.

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