A GEnx-1B powered Boeing 787 is busy writing out the number 7..8..7..-..8 in numerals hundreds of miles long across at least eight states as it racks up another 19 flight hours as part of the final F&R and ETOPS certification phase. The aircraft, ZA236, eventually destined for Air India, is conducting a small number of repeat Etops flights and 150 hours of F&R flying that was required by the FAA. A full set of Etops flights and 300 hours of F&R was already completed on test aircraft ZA006 late last year. Both ZA236 and ZA006 flew with Block 4 standard GEnx-1B engines, while ZA005 – which is currently completing non-engine related airframe certification work, is powered by an upgraded PIP 1 engine.
The 787 is scheduled to fly for around 19 hours tonight – and, as I post this, still has around 15 hours to go before returning to Boeing Field early tomorrow. The feat of mega sky-writing repeats an epic test flight across the country made by a 747-8 test crew in August 2011.
On a related note here is the first image of GE’s second upgrade package (PIP 2) on its maiden flight aboard GEs 747-100 flying testbed over California on Feb 3. The engine is set to chip more than 1% off the fuel burn shortfall experienced with the original GEnx-1B, and will be certified later this year.