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.
United Airlines first Boeing 787 inside the Boeing Factory in Everett, WA. Photo from United.
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.”
Mock up of the Boeing 747-8I in full Boeing livery. Photo by Boeing.
A quick little update on the Boeing 747-8 Intercontinental, the Boeing 787 Dreamliner and the Boeing 737. Too much interesting news coming from Boeing to write individual posts, so here we go:
787 DREAMLINER ZA102 AND OTHERS:
Boeing announced on Monday that they expect the first 787 to be delivered to All Nippon Airways (ANA) during third quarter 2011. Boeing stated, “The new delivery date reflects the impact of an in-flight incident during testing last November and includes the time required to produce, install and test updated software and new electrical power distribution panels in the flight test and production airplanes.” They have also worked additional time into the schedule in-case other issues pop up between now and then. Flight Blogger asks some important questions of these changes. ZA001, ZA002, ZA004 and ZA005 are all back in test flight status.
As of now ZA102, the ninth 787, has still not taken flight. Word was it was supposed to take flight on Monday, but as of now it still has not flown. I asked Lori Gunter, with Boeing 787 Communications, about the delay and she brought up a great point. “It wouldn’t be right to call it a delay. We are working through the disciplined process of getting to first flight. Until all of the work is complete, we won’t fly. Boeing has not committed to a first flight date on ZA102.” All the 787s are still going through the testing phase and I am sure Boeing wants ZA102 to fly more than us outside observers do.
747-8 INTERCONTINENTAL ROLL OUT DATE:
On Tuesday, Boeing announced the roll-out ceremony for the passenger version of the 747-8I (RC001) will be on February 13th — a perfect Valentine’s gift for all those airline geeks out there. The Boeing 747-8 Freighter has been conducting flight tests, but this will be the first Boeing 747-8 that will carry passengers. I have been told the first aircraft will be delivered to a private buyer. As of December 2010, the Boeing 747-8 has eight private buyers, which were all governments. I haven’t been able to track down who will take delivery of the first Boeing 747-8I. However, I have confirmed the aircraft will be in Boeing livery, but unsure if it will be the full livery or light (I am hoping for the full). At this time, Boeing does not know the exact time and of course the date could move depending on the circumstances. I will keep you updated on any changes for the roll out and first flight of the 747-8I. If you can’t make it to see in person, Boeing will be providing a live webcast of the event.
737 FUEL EFFICIENT ENGINES:
Although the Boeing 747-8 and 787 have been getting a lot of attention recently, the Boeing 737 is making a bit of news as well. United/Continental has been working with Boeing to test out a new, more fuel efficient engine on the 737. It might only be a 2% savings, but with the average flying of a Boeing 737, that can add up to about $125,000.00 in savings per airplane, per year — not to mention the environment impact. Learn more about this and watch a video on Boeing’s website.
UPDATES: Man, Boeing is just on a roll this week with exciting information. I normally do one blog per day, but have been doing two per day because of Boeing’s good stuff. Here are two more additions announced today:
777-300ER FOR AMERICAN AIRLINES
American Airlines and Boeing announced today that the airline has ordered two Boeing 777-300ER. This is the first US airline that has ordered this type of aircraft. The two -300ERs will join American’s fleet of 47 Boeing 777-200ERs. American hopes to take delivery of the new aircraft in late 2012.
CHINA ORDERS 200 BOEING AIRPLANES
Again today, Boeing announced that China will order 200 aircraft worth a reported $19billion. Boeing spokesman Miles Kotay told KOMO news that the deal is for 185 Boeing 737 jets and 15 Boeing 777s. Although exciting, this does not change the current 737 backlog numbers, but confirms the finalization of orders already announced.
Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777-200LR (ET-ANP) at Paine Field. Click for more photos.
Ah, the life of waiting for a first flight in Seattle: cold, rain, wind, but no Boeing 787 Dreamliner. ZA102, the ninth Dreamliner, was set to take off for the first time today, but it has been pushed until at least tomorrow, Tuesday. The engines started up for a while, but then shut down and the left cowl was opened up. This didn’t mean Paine Field was short of any action this morning. There were two Boeing 777’s that took off, one Boeing 747-8 (BOE503) and a few Ryanair Boeing 737’s that did touch and goes.
CHECK OUT THE EYE CANDY FROM PAINE FIELD
ZA102 sitting on the factory floor in June 2010. Photo by Jon Ostrower.
Jon Ostrower (via Flight Blogger) and Matt Cawby (via KPAE blog) have both confirmed that the 9th Boeing 787 Dreamliner (ZA102 – N1006F), will be taking flight from Paine Field tomorrow. Although Boeing doesn’t confirm the time of lift off, I assume it should be around 10am.
ZA102 will be the first Dreamliner to actually be delivered to an airline and fly passengers. It is painted in the All Nippon Airways (ANA) tail, but has a white body. It is expected that ANA will have a special livery for this Dreamliner.
If you are in the Seattle area and have Monday off, head on over to Paine Field and experience a Dreamliner taking off for the first time. The weather says it will most likely rain, but that shouldn’t stop you. I am hoping to try and do a live video feed via my iPhone, but we shall see how it goes. Follow Twitter for the updates on the first flight of ZA102.
We are all still waiting on Boeing’s updated delivery schedule for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner after ZA002’s fire. For more information on the rest of the 787 test fleet, check out Ostrower’s most recent blog.
Image: Jon Ostrower