ZA004 undertook a very long 13+ hour test flight that took it around the country yesterday to test the 787s to test...of all things... the fuel gauge of the aircraft. According to Flightblogger, the test (which I initially thought was an ETOPs flight) was to see how the Fuel Quantity Indication System. The test added a large amount of flight test time to the 787/RR test flight fleet and bought them closer to the 2,430 flight hours needed to certify the 787/Trent 1000 engine combination and allow for deliveries to start to ANA. The Trent 1000 powered 787 test flight fleet has accumulated well over 1,900 flight test hours thus far and the total 787 flight test hours has exceeded 2,100 hours leaving 1,000 flight test hours needed to complete the test flight program.
Flightblogger: 787 goes cross country to check the gas gauge
While the test flight program continues to make progress, there are signs of production troubles on the 787 final assembly line. ZA233, the 29th 787s to be assembled was initially supposed to start final assembly on Oct. 4th. It was pushed back to late October, then early November and now I got news that it won't start assembly until around November 17th...over 6 weeks late. To add to the mystery, Matt Cawby got video of a rear and forward 787 fuselage sections being loaded back on to the 747 LCF in Everett instead of being offloaded. Now the LCF did not depart Everett so my guess is that they might be being stored on board the 747 LCF. I am hoping to hear from Boeing about any production pauses on the 787 line and what reloading of the fuselage sections on the LCF may mean.