ZA004 re-entered the 787 flight test program earlier today when it began the first loads-test flight at Victorville, Calif. The aircraft has spent more than a month being prepared for the test which carefully measures loads on the structure which are then compared with pre-flight design assumptions. Festooned with sensors, ZA004’s load test work will provide a key input to final certification which is expected before year end.
ZA004 makes its first landing at Boeing Field. The aircraft is currently based out of Victorville, Calif. (Joe Walker photo)
The only other 787 currently flying is the first General Electric-powered aircraft, ZA005, which is set to begin its fifth day of flutter tests on July 8. As of July 7 the test fleet had amassed 1,102 flight hours over 340 sorties – figures that are expected to quickly grow later this month as the second GE-aircraft (ZA006), enters the program and ZA001, 002, 003 re-enter flight test work. In case you are wondering how soon all this is due to happen - according to All Things 787, ZA002 “should fly again around July 9th. Both ZA001 and ZA003 will return to the air on July 12th.”