Boeing Begins Final Phase Of 787 Flight Testing


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Boeing Begins Final Phase Of 787 Flight Testing

By Eddy Metcalf

June 28, 2011 - Boeing has begun Function & Reliability (F&R) testing and extended operations (ETOPS) demonstrations on the 787 Dreamliner. This is the final phase of flight testing prior to certification of the airplane. 

"We are ready for this final phase of flight testing," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. "The team has created a solid plan for accomplishing the hours and test points required for F&R and ETOPS testing in support of delivery to our customer ANA in the August to September time period." 

F&R testing simulates various normal and non-normal operations for the airplane, in a realistic airline-like flight environment. ETOPS refers to extended operations ? for twin jets, flights that are more than 60 minutes away from a suitable landing field. During ETOPS demonstrations the company validates the airplane's ability to safely divert for a variety of reasons, including long diversions with one engine shut down. 

In addition to F&R and ETOPS testing for the 787 with Rolls-Royce engines, Boeing continues certification testing on 787s with General Electric engines and will conduct a separate F&R/ETOPS test program for that version of the airplane. Other activities will continue on the flight test fleet to support Boeing objectives including examining potential technologies for the 787-9 and testing engine improvement packages. 

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is a long-range, mid-size wide-body, twin-engine jet airliner developed by Boeing Commercial Airplanes. It seats 210 to 330 passengers, depending on the variant. Boeing states that it is the company's most fuel-efficient airliner and the world's first major airliner to use composite materials for most of its construction. The 787 consumes 20% less fuel than the similarly-sized Boeing 767. Some of its distinguishing features include a four-panel windshield, noise-reducing chevrons on its engine nacelles, and a smoother nose contour. 

The aircraft's initial designation was 7E7, prior to its renaming in January 2005. The first 787 was unveiled in a roll-out ceremony on July 8, 2007, at Boeing's Everett assembly factory, by which time it had become the fastest-selling wide-body airliner in history with 677 orders. By March 2011, 835 Boeing 787s had been ordered by 56 customers. As of 2011, launch customer All Nippon Airways has the largest number of 787s on order. 


The 787 development and production has involved a large-scale collaboration with numerous suppliers around the globe. It is being assembled at the Boeing Everett Factory in Everett, Washington. Aircraft will also be assembled at a new factory in North Charleston, South Carolina.  


Both sites will deliver 787s to airline customers. Originally planned to enter service in May 2008, the project has suffered from repeated delays and is now more than three years behind schedule. The airliner's maiden flight took place on December 15, 2009, and it is currently undergoing flight testing with a goal of receiving certification in mid-2011 and entering service with All Nippon Airways in the third quarter of 2011.

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