The FAA has given Boeing the expanded TIA (Type Inspection Authorization) for the 787 last night. This now means that Boeing and the FAA will undertake test flights and ground tests to certify the 787. Boeing is still planning for first delivery by the end of this year to ANA. Boeing also announced that ZA003 is in Florida to undertake extreme weather testing after flying 5 hours from Boeing Field to Eglin Air Force Base. Boeing also noted that the 78 test fleet has now exceed 500 test flight hours. I'm still trying to find out when flight test will start to take place with FAA inspectors and engineers aboard but I anticipate that it will be soon. Here's Boeing's press release.
News Release Issued: April 20, 2010 11:14 PM EDTBoeing 787 Flight-Test
EVERETT, Wash., April 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) granted Boeing (NYSE: BA) expanded type inspection authorization (TIA) today, clearing the way for its personnel to fully participate in future test flights and for the collection of required flight-test data. Initial TIA was granted Feb. 11, which supported the collection of flutter certification data.
The expanded TIA marks the FAA's confirmation that the airplane and team are ready to collect additional certification data. Boeing achieved the expansion by demonstrating the readiness of the airplane throughout a variety of speeds, altitudes and configurations.
"This TIA expansion is another significant step toward delivering airplanes to our customers. We remain on track to deliver the first airplane to ANA this year," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, Commercial Airplanes.
In addition to receiving expanded TIA, Boeing finalized the aerodynamic configuration of the 787.
"We have completed sufficient testing to decide that no additional changes to the external lines or shape of the airplane are required," said Fancher. "Having an airplane match its expected performance with so few changes is rare and speaks to the maturity of the design."
The 787 flight-test fleet logged its 500th hour of flying April 16. On Sunday, ZA003, the flight-test airplane outfitted with interior elements, landed in Florida, where it will go through extreme weather testing at McKinley Climatic Laboratory at Eglin Air Force Base.
Boeing released two videos highlighting flutter and ground effects testing. These videos feature commentary by the pilots and the chief project engineer and are available on http://www.boeing.com/ and http://www.newairplane.com/.
Flightglobal had picked up this story and you can read their article here. Fligtblogger also has a post on his blog about the TIA.
Flightblogger: Boeing 787 granted Type Inspection Authorization