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Four of the five Boeing 787 flight test airplanes were conducting remote test operations last week, whilst ZA005 continued testing from its base of operations in Seattle.
ZA001, the first 787, is taking a break from operations out of Edwards Air Force Base in California for a week’s worth of testing in Roswell, N.M. This is ZA001’s second visit to Roswell. Last month the airplane conducted wet-runway testing there. Testing in the days ahead will include rejected-takeoff conditions. ZA001 has been on remote deployment to Edwards Air Force Base for several weeks, with a focus on takeoff- and landing-performance conditions.
The second 787 is conducting high-latitude and cold-weather testing at Keflavik Airport in Iceland. “”We’ve been watching for the right weather conditions for some time,”” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “”The team was happy to see the forecast in Iceland met our needs and we deployed to Keflavik earlier this week.””
The hot weather in Yuma, Ariz., with temperatures in excess of 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius), has provided the necessary conditions for another set of tests happening on ZA003. Its deployment is expected to last about another week.
ZA004 has spent an extended time operating out of Victorville, Calif., conducting flight loads survey testing. This testing measures external pressure distributions throughout the flight envelope. ZA004 is set to do testing in Glasgow, Mont., after it wraps up its California testing.
Artificial ice shapes have been affixed to the leading edges of the wings and horizontal and vertical stabilizer of the fifth 787 to complete another group of tests required for certification. Ice-shape testing verifies the airplane’s performance in the presence of ice. Natural ice testing has already occurred.
“”Flight test is staying very busy,”” said Fancher. “”We continue to be very pleased with the performance of the airplane. We’re definitely putting it through its paces, subjecting it to the harshest environments and conditions to ensure it is ready for revenue service.””
The 787 flight test fleet has conducted more than 1,650 hours of flying over more than 540 flights.
Boeing has also now said that it now expects delivery of the first 787 in the middle of the first quarter 2011. The delivery date revision follows an assessment of the availability of an engine needed for the final phases of flight test this fall.
Boeing said last month that the cumulative impact of a series of issues, including supplier workmanship issues related to the horizontal stabilizer and instrumentation delays, could push first delivery of the 787 a few weeks into 2011. The delay in engine availability has extended that estimate to mid-first quarter 2011.
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