Wednesday, May 12, 2010

ZA005 starts engines; about to enter gauntlet testing

Boeing Photo
In the last few steps before its first flight, the first GEnx-1B powered 787 started those same GE engines for the first time yesterday. It had undergone fueling tests at the Boeing fuel dock last week and is now on the road to its gauntlet testing which hopefully should occur very soon. It should take to the air around May 24th. Boeing would have achieved another major milestone by getting this airplane in the air albeit late compared to what they were aiming for. The last test flight airplane, ZA006, should take to the air by June 21st.

Boeing also reported that all four of its Rolls Royce Trent powered aircraft were in the air at the same time last Saturday (May 8th).

This is a first for their program and yesterday, the test flight fleet exceeded 20% of the required (3,100 hours) test flight hours. They are now over 620 flight test hours and the program is seemingly gaining more momentum and increasing the test flight tempo.

UPDATE: Boeing just put out a video of the first engine run on ZA005:

Starting up a new generation of engines

UPDATE 2: Boeing just put out a press release:

Boeing Completes First 787 GEnx Engine Runs

EVERETT, Wash., May 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The first General Electric GEnx engines on a Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner came to life Monday with initial engine starts. Customers can choose between the GEnx engines and the Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines to power their 787s.

"This is another exciting step in our progress on the 787 test program," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 Program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.

"Our partners at GE have worked diligently to ensure their engines are ready for the testing that is going to occur both before first flight of ZA005 and throughout the flight test program."

Video of the engine run is available at

Following engine testing, ZA005, the fifth 787 to be built, will undergo a series of ground tests similar to those conducted on the first 787s to ensure that it is ready for first flight later this quarter.

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