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The second Boeing 787 Dreamliner, ZA002, has begun flight-test operations outside of Washington state for the program, and will be stationed at Victorville for approximately three weeks.
The crew will conduct ground effects testing among other activities, in which the pilots fly the airplane very close to the runway to gather data regarding the aerodynamic effects and performance of the airplane during the takeoff and landing phases of flight. Quantifying this performance is part of the certification requirements for all new airplanes.
“”Victorville’s airfield is the former George Air Force Base,”” said Randy Neville, chief pilot for ZA002. “”There is ample ramp space for parking and plenty of on-site facilities. There is a long runway and plenty of level, clear land along the approach to the runway. We can operate there without disrupting air traffic control or other commercial aircraft.””
A crew of more than 150 employees will be stationed at Victorville while the airplane is there. These include the flight test engineers and support personnel required to prepare the airplane for each day’s flights and to monitor performance and test equipment.
“”Our confidence in the reliability of this airplane grows day by day,”” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “”Taking the airplane out of state for the first time is a big step, but one we’re ready for.””
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