Boeing said yesterday the Boeing 787 Dreamliner has passed initial airworthiness tests, thus clearing the way for others to fly in plane besides two test pilots.
"The airplane has been performing as we expected," said Boeing vp and gm of the 787 program Scott Fancher. That means technicians, engineers and others relevant to the ongoing test flight program can fly in the plane. Also, other 787s presumably besides the first two ZA001 and ZA002 can be flown now. Six planes are part of the test program.
"Since the first flight in mid-December, the program has conducted 15 flights, achieving several key accomplishments. Pilots have taken the airplane to an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 meters) and a speed of Mach 0.65. Nearly 60 hours of flying have been completed. Initial stall tests and other dynamic maneuvers have been run, as well as an extensive check-out of the airplane's systems. Six different pilots have been behind the controls of the 787," according to Boeing's press release.
The only problem Boeing has confirmed was debris in the fuel filter of ZA002 (the second 787 test plane) which was scheduled to fly yesterday from Boeing Field in Seattle back to Boeing's massive Everett, Wash. plant for a fuel tank cleaning, according to FlightBlogger. Cheese cloth debris was found in the plane's fuel filter.
Now, Boeing will take the 787 up to 40,000 feet and speeds of Mach 0.85. Testing the plane beyond its typical operating conditions will also begin.
Flight testing will continue to the end of this year when the first 787 is expected to enter service on All Nippon Airways.
Boeing has about 840 orders for the 787 Dreamliner, which first in flew for the first time on Dec. 15. The 787 is Boeing's newest commercial jetliner since the 777, which rolled out in 1994.
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