Boeing has amped up the flight test program for the 787 program in recent weeks. The program has been lagging in the the number of flight hours flown but Boeing has certainly stepped up the flight test in terms of the number of sorties flown as well as the number of hours flown during each sortie.
In the last one week (May 17th to May 23rd inclusive) the 787 test fleet amassed just a shade under 120 flight hours. During that week of flying ZA004 flew a 12 hour and 30 minute NAMS mission which is the longest 787 flight to date. Also during that time, the test flight achieved over 25% of the 3,100 flight test hours that the fleet will fly. The grand total now stands at 824 flight test hours spread over 265 sorties. They are one third of the way for the certification of the Roll Royce Trent 1000 powered aircraft.
Boeing will need to maintain this tempo over the next 6 months in order to achieve the certification of the airplane prior to first delivery in December.
Lastly, Saj Ahmad is making a case for the 787-9 to be a replacement for the 777-200 and 777-200ER aircraft and a direct competitor to the A350-900 now that the Boeing is close to finalizing the design with weight saving improvements in the aircraft to boost it's range while improving fuel burn. More over, Saj says that Boeing will identify more improvements in the 787-9 that will move it's range beyond 8,150 nm and may even be a replacement for the 777-200LR. Read on:
Fleetbuzzeditorial.com - On the 9