Flightblogger and Guy Norris reported just yesterday that the FAA has moved one step closer to giving Boeing approval for type commonality for crew qualifications between the 787 and the 777 aircraft. Boeing wants to have this approval to allow 777 pilots to be qualified to fly the 787 after only 5 days of training. In doing so this would allow airlines to have one pool of pilots that would be able to fly both aircraft with minimal costs. The savings would be huge and bolsters the 787s economic case.
According to Guy Norris, the approval needs to be completed in three steps. The first is systems which has been completed. The second is handling qualities...both aircraft should have similar handling qualities. It is this second step that has been completed and approved. The last step is validation of the training course for pilots which includes the 787 check rides with the FAA. There is no word on when the third step will be completed but I have to assume that Boeing would like to have it done prior to first delivery to ANA who is a large 777 operator.
ZA001 is still in layup after having its engines changed out and should fly again towards the end of the month. Boeing is also adding artificial ice shapes to the leading edges for tests and then the airplane should be at Edwards Air Force Base later this summer for Vmu (velocity minimum unstick) testing. Here ZA001 will basically drag its tail on the ground and see what the slowest speed the 787 can take off at. ZA004 is also expected to be back in the air by the end of June for flight loads testing. It is currently getting additional instrumentation in order for them to conduct the testing. ZA002 and ZA003 are currently flying with the Boeing test fleet accumulating over 938 hours.
Guy Norris : 787 closer to 777 commonality approval
Flightblogger : Carriker: 787 designed with 777 handling in mind
Flight testing appears to be going very well for the 787. So much so that Boeing is closer to deciding to send the 787 to Farnborough. As I had reported earlier, Boeing will most likely not make a decision until early July but odds are that they will send ZA003 to Farnborough. Flightblogger reported yesterday that Boeing is planning to send both ZA003 (787) and RC503 (747-8F painted in Cargolux livery) to Farnborough. Later Boeing tweeted that they're "planning on the 787" but "the 747-8 is looking less likely." This is pretty much true in my opinion as Boeing is behind in flight testing of the 747-8F. I don't think they could spare the aircraft or the time to send the aircraft to Europe.
Flightblogger : Boeing's Farnborough Outlook ZA003 and RC503
Lastly, Boeing showed solid proof of the progress of the 747-8I. The first fuselage panels of the aircraft are now in Everett. The first airplane should be rolled out towards the end of this year with first flight early next year.