ZA006 the sixth and final test flight 787 finally has flown after a lengthy delay due to numerous unspecified issues that plagued the aircraft in the month leading up to today flight. The airplane took off at 11:43 AM local time and flew for exactly one hour before diverting to Boeing Field at 12:43 PM. According to Flightaware.com, the airplane was supposed to fly for about 2 hours before landing at Moses Lake and then take off and fly direct to Boeing Field. Boeing later said to the Seattle PI (Aubrey Cohen) that maintenance issues forced the flight to be terminated early. Apparently the gremlins that has plagued its first flight are still around.
At this point in the test flight program the 787 should be mature enough that there wouldn't be a need for extensive flight control checks or testing especially if ZA006 has flown with modification arising from issues discovered during the test flight program to date.
This airplane is minimally instrumented and will undertake ETOPS testing as well as HIRF (High Intensity Radiated Field) Testing, and electromagnetic effects testing.
In the meantime, Flightblogger and Guy Norris each have put up posting about ZA006 as well as some flight testing updates. ZA001 and ZA002 should be back in the air tomorrow and ZA004 should be flying again sometime this weekend.
Flightblogger: Better Know a Dreamliner - Part Six - ZA006
Guy Norris: 787 - show time for ZA006
Production has restarted on the 787 final assembly line in Everett with ZA232 (LN 28) moving into the first position to be assembled.
In other 787 news, the 787-9 seems to be getting popular amongst current 787 customers. ANA and know Vietnam Airlines are now customers for the larger 787 mainly because of the better projected performance of this version over the 787-8. Vietnam Airlines converted its 16 787-8 into the 787-9. ANA converted 15 of it 55 787-8 into the 787-9. This version of the 787 is due to be delivered to Air New Zealand at the end of 2013.