Boeing preps 787 for first flight

Chicago (IL) – Boeing is inching the 787 Dreamliner towards its first flight scheduled to take place late this quarter. The company said that the plane has been moved to the flight line and fuel testing.

Fuel testing is the first test in what the company calls a phase of extensive checks the airplane must undergo to be prepared for its maiden flight. ZA001, or plane #1, completed a “rigorous series of tests”, including build verification tests, structures and systems integration tests and landing gear swings, Boeing said. According to the company, this plane also passed a full simulation of the first flight. The company said that the simulation tested all flight controls, hardware and software. The simulation also included manual and automatic landings and an “extensive suite of subsequent ground tests.”
Boeing said all 787 structural tests required on the static airframe prior to first flight to be complete as well. “The final test occurred April 21 when the wing and trailing edges were subjected to their limit load – the highest loads expected to be seen in service. The load is about the same as the airplane experiencing 2.5 times the force of gravity,” the company stated.

“We are making great progress, and moving ever-closer to first flight,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 Dreamliner program.

ZA001 is now scheduled to go through airplane power and systems tests as well as engine runs, which will be followed by final systems checks and high-speed taxi tests. Once those tests are complete, the 787 will take off for its first flight.

Boeing currently has 886 orders for the 787.