Boeing has broken the 200 flight hour barrier on the 787 test program following successive flights today by the initial pair of workhorses – ZA001 and ZA002. The milestone was marked as ZA001 conducted its 11th flutter flight test and ZA002 performed another stability and control flight.
As of a few minutes ago, the Boeing 787 flight test site indicated the three flying 787s, ZA001, 002 and 004, had between them amassed 64 flights – 38 for 001, 25 for 002 and a single sortie so far for 004. Flightaware is meanwhile indicating both ZA001 and 002 recently touched down at Boeing Field and Moses Lake respectively, so expect those numbers to be revised accordingly.
Boeing expects to begin the run-up to gauntlet tests and first flight on the third 787, ZA003, next week following its decision (reported initially by Flightblogger) to install additional test equipment originally scheduled for later in the certification effort. It is not yet known what additional instrumentation is involved. ZA003 is tasked primarily with validating and testing the cabin and community noise features of the 787, as well as providing ‘beta-test’ data for the airlines as a pseudo in-service aircraft. ZA003 is therefore intended to carry thermal survey instrumentation, some of which was observed first hand during the recent display of the aircraft for the media, as well as environmental control system monitoring equipment.
ZA002 is set to continue low-speed flight tests with the 19th day of stability and control work set for tomorrow.
Flight deck noise and hydraulic systems are under test today on RC521 - next 747-8 destined for flight. (Guy Norris)
Tests of the 747-8 have meanwhile progressed to initial airworthiness (IAW) block 2 following the successful completion of IAW block 1 over the weekend. The current work is focused on handling with the flaps – newly configured with double-slotted inboard and single-slotted outboard – at greater deflection angles of 30 deg, as well as more tests of the alternate gear extension system. Tests of RC521, the second 747-8 test aircraft, are meanwhile building up towards first flight which will only occur once IAW testing is complete on RC501. Current work, which includes engine runs, is targeted at flight deck noise and hydraulic system tests.