The 787 will fly again today – if only briefly. Boeing has decided to ferry two of the ‘stranded’ test 787s back to Seattle with minimum crew, while the rest of the fleet remains grounded pending the outcome of investigations into the Nov 9 fire on ZA002. The first test aircraft ZA001, will return from Rapid City, South Dakota, while ZA005, the first General Electric-powered 787, will be flown home from Boeing’s temporary flight test unit at Victorville, Calif.
ZA003, ZA004 and ZA006 are already at Boeing Field, while ZA002 is on the ground at Laredo, Texas where it continues to be inspected and repaired following its emergency landing last week.
Homeward bound - ZA005 and ZA001 will be heading back to Boeing Field today. (Joe Walker)
The return of ZA001 was widely expected, given its relatively remote location, however the repatriation of ZA005 from an already established Boeing outstation could be indicative of the need for more serious rework. At the time of the Nov 9 incident, ZA001 was in Rapid City for test work on steering, ground handling and brake testing, while ZA005 was into its eighth day of nautical air miles fuel-burn testing.