Just over an hour ago Boeing 787, ZA001, took to the air again with a test flight from Roswell, New Mexico where it has been grounded for the past week following an engine surge on Sept 10. The test flight is planned as a gentle ‘rub-in’ run for the tip clearances inside the new Trent 1000 engine that was shipped to New Mexico to replace the damaged unit.
If all goes well, Boeing hopes to pick-up where it left off last Friday with additional braking, rejected take-off and handling tests, and will be looking to catch up on lost time.
Tests are meanwhile underway on ZA002, which has close to 500 flight hours on the clock since its recent long range flight to Iceland for cross wind tests. The aircraft is back at Being Field where ground tests of the aircraft’s fire detection and suppression systems are planned. Hamilton Sundstrand's Kidde Aerospace & Defense subsidiary provides the cargo and engine fire detection and suppression systems which comprise smoke and fire detectors, fire suppression bottles and nozzles.
The interiors test airframe, ZA003, is set to undergo ground tests for precipitation static (P-static) at Boeing Field. The aircraft has over 240 flight hours in the log book, but has not flown since returning from Florida at the start of the week. Tests in Florida included high-humidity ‘rain-in-the-plane’ evaluations to deliberately stress the environmental control system.
P-static is one of several natural electrostatic effects, such as lightning, that can cause severe degradation to aircraft and mission systems. The test is another key evaluation of the 787’s largely composite primary structure and its ability to provide protection against these effects. The P-Static environment will be simulated using a device that uses high-voltage charging probes.
ZA004, which has also been on the ground for around a week, is believed to have completed the long drawn out flight loads survey which culminated with sonic fatigue and thrust reverser tests. Following a functional check out flight at Victorville, Calif, where it has been based for several months, ZA004 is due to fly on Saturday to Glasgow, Mont, for the start of community noise tests. Flights will be made over and around the former Strategic Air Command base which is equipped with an array of noise detectors.
ZA005 has also returned to flight (LIz Matzelle)
Engine checks continue on ZA005, the first General Electric GEnx-1B powered 787. The aircraft, which has not flown since Sept 4, also resumed flights today with a test sortie for the left engine. No sign of when ZA006 will yet join the flight test campaign which, as of an hour ago, has logged 1,850 flight hours over almost 600 flights.