Boeing's first stretched 787-9 is undergoing initial ground tests at Everett, Wash., in readiness for first flight, which is expected to take place this month.
Trials began in late August with evaluations of the fuel system and the aircraft's gross weight processor, following a low-key rollout in front of employees and customers on Aug. 24. The auxiliary power unit in the aircraft, a 20-ft.-longer derivative of the baseline 787-8, was started for the first time on Aug. 28. Assuming no issues are discovered during system activation and initial “gauntlet” testing, taxi tests and first flight are likely to take place around the middle of the month. The first 787-9 is scheduled to be delivered to launch customer Air New Zealand in mid-2014.
Boeing is allocating three dedicated test aircraft to the approximately six-month-long certification and test effort, and will introduce a fourth fully configured aircraft late in the program for function and reliability work.