As Boeing is prepares to add the fifth 787 to the test flight program, the current Rolls Royce test fleet is accumulating test flight hours though at a lower pace compared to a month ago. ZA004 and ZA001 have been out of the test flight picture with ZA001 receiving new engines and just recently returning to the sky and ZA004 receiving some needed instrumentation for the upcoming flight loads testing. ZA004 should return to the air by the end of the month.
Six months after ZA001 took to the air, the combined test flight hours stand at a shade under 983 hours. The average per flight hours is 4 hours and 12 minutes but thus far in June, the test flight fleet has flown 22 missions for almost 105 and half hours making the average flight last 4 hours and 47 minutes. Over the past three months the average hours per flight has steadily increased with Boeing flying longer missions on each of the airplanes and accomplishing more tasks on each flight.
Later this week it is expected that the total 787 test flight hours flown will break the 1000 hour mark and by early next week Boeing would be 1/3 of the way through its flight test program.
In order to achieve the 3,100 test flight hours by mid November of this year (22 weeks), the test flight fleet would have to fly 96 hours and 13 minutes per week. With the addition of ZA005 to the test flight program tomorrow and the anticipated first flight of ZA006 on July 13th, Boeing should be able to achieve its certification goals by mid-November.