Boeing is preparing to fly the 787 out of Washington State for the first time and will send ZA002 to Victorville, California for testing on Tuesday. The flight, originally scheduled to depart tomorrow (Monday Mar 8), is thought to have been pushed back by unsettled weather over the area. Take off time is currently scheduled for close to 8 am with an expected flight time of just over three hours and touch down at the Southern California Logistics Airport before noon.
ZA002 is the first of up to three 787 test aircraft expected to be based temporarily out of Victorville, a former USAF air base in the high desert close to Palmdale where the 747-8 flight test effort will soon be located. The use of Victorville for 787 testing, emerged early in January when local planning documents first revealed Boeing’s intentions. In those documents it was stated that Victorville would reap around $150,000 in landing and fuel fees, and that the local economy might potentially benefit from the associated spending of up to 300 test team employees.
California here we come! ZA002 is expected to fly southbound this week. (Guy Norris)
The ZA002 test team, which is focusing on propulsion, systems, avionics and stability and control work, will make the most of southern California’s clear skies and the airport’s 11,050-ft long main north-south runway. For an interesting perspective on the facility check out Flightblogger’s report.
In other 787 test developments Boeing is expected to begin two days of system gauntlet tests on ZA003, the cabin and interior systems test focus, on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. The gauntlet phase signals that the upcoming first flight of ZA003 should occur around mid-month, assuming no glitches crop up this week.
The first 787, ZA001, is meanwhile set to conduct its 17th day of flutter tests tomorrow while ZA004 continues to go through intense ground tests. The next phase of work is expected to focus on an updated version of the flight control system software, as well as the engine indicating and crew alerting system. Meanwhile, ZA005 safely ensconced out of the weather in building 40-24 with fellow GE-powered stablemate ZA006, continues to undergo pre-flight ground tests. The team is currently re-working the GEnx-1B strut nacelle drain test – an issue which ironically led to some delay to first flight of the GEnx-2B powered 747-8.