I’m pleased to announce that our 787-9 team is starting a significant new phase of flight testing after earning type inspection authorization (TIA) for the airplane. The FAA will now bring its personnel to join the Boeing team on 787-9 test flights to gather the data required for certification.
The 787-9 during flight test. Photo by John Parker.
The authorization applies to 787-9 test airplanes powered by Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, which are ZB001 and ZB002, the first two members of the fleet. We expect to earn TIA soon for the third 787-9 test airplane, ZB021, which is powered by General-Electric GEnx engines.
The first three 787-9 airplanes in a group photo at Boeing Field. Photo by Adam Tischler.
With more than 100 flights and 285 hours in the air so far, the 787-9 fleet continues to fly extremely well. To earn TIA, Boeing Test & Evaluation test crews flew the 787-9 fleet at a variety of speeds, altitudes and configurations to demonstrate the capability of the airplane throughout the flight envelope. For example, Boeing successfully completed flutter testing for the 787-9 fleet, demonstrating structural integrity. Test crews also put the airplanes through various maneuvers at high speeds to try to induce vibration into the airframe and demonstrated it dampened out without problems.
Photo by John Parker.
Now, test crews will begin exploring extreme operations with the 787-9, including very hot and cold weather.
With the dedicated flight test fleet complete and the fourth airplane now in ground test, we’re on track to complete 787-9 testing in the spring, followed by certification and delivery to launch customer Air New Zealand in mid-2014.
It’s been a busy end of the year for the 787-9 team. Congratulations on these great accomplishments.