Within the next few hours Boeing is expected to fly 787 test aircraft ZA004, marking what it describes as a ‘return to flight’ after the roughly six-week stoppage caused by the in-flight electrical fire on ZA002. The aircraft, which last flew on a short ferry flight from Boeing Field to Everett on Nov 21, will today return to flight test headquarters at Boeing Field. Although the flight has been approved by the FAA, it is not believed to mark a resumption of the certification testing which is widely expected to begin again next month.
ZA004 - Getting ready for flight at Everett.(Guy Norris)
As some measure of the gravity of the situation facing Boeing as it attempts to get the test program back on track, the company has also ramped-up activity in its laboratory and flight deck simulation complex. In particular, the flight deck systems engineering development unit, ECAB-1, is now being prepared for a series of tests early in January which will evaluate display and head-up-displays. The tests are thought to be aimed at checks of improved software developed in the wake of November’s fire on ZA002.