The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is one step closer to starting normal operations around the world — that is a good thing. Saturday, August 13th marked the final flight needed to certify the 787 Dreamliner with Rolls Royce Trent 1000 engines using the ninth test aircraft, ZA102. Certification testing will continue for 787s with GE engines. The nine test aircraft have flown just over 1,700 flights and more than 4,800 flight hours to perform more than 25,000 tests.
Test pilots have taken the aircraft to its limits and beyond to make sure the 787 is able to handle any possible future situation. “I’m used to landing the airplane 100,000 pounds overweight,” said Captain Mike Carriker , chief pilot for the 787 via Boeing’s website. “I’m used to flying it with the overspeed warning going on for hours on end or flying the airplane with an engine turned off.”
It is expected that ANA will take delivery of their first 787 (ZA101) sometime next month and then start flying the aircraft in Japan starting in October (and you can win tickets on one of the flights). Even though ZA101 is being prepared for delivery, to date it still has not flown. Boeing is not saying exactly when it will first fly, but I have been told that they will give notice, allowing fans the opportunity to catch a glimpse.
The video on this story from Boeing highlights the flight test program and has some pretty sweet footage. If the video is too serious for your taste and you need a little action, check out this 3D animation of a Boeing 787 vs an Airbus A380 put to Top Gun music found on FlightBlogger’s site.
Yesterday, United Airlines also announced its first 787 (the 45th Dreamliner) started it final assembly phase of construction. United will be the first North American airline to receive a Dreamliner, currently schedule in early 2012. In a press release they announced that, “the first United 787 will be configured with 36 flat-bed seats in BusinessFirst, 63 extra-legroom seats in Economy Plus and 120 seats in Economy.”
Both United and Continental Airlines had 25 of the aircraft ordered, meaning the new United will receive 50 aircraft. The airline previously announced that they will operate their first flight from Houston to Auckland and aim publicize the 787′s precise schedule later this year.
“We are proud to be the first North American airline to receive the 787, which will be a game changer for the new United and the industry,” said United Airlines President and CEO Jeff Smisek. “The 787 will be a very comfortable, customer pleasing aircraft, and with its range, fuel efficiency and superb operating economics, the 787 will allow us to enter new long-haul markets and also replace older, less-efficient widebody aircraft.”