Friday, September 20, 2013

787-9 flight testing picks up as production 787 flight test tempo increases ahead of planned deliveries

Boeing Photo

Exactly 196 weeks or 3 years and 9 months after the first flight of ZA001 on December 15, 2009, Boeing successfully flew the next member of the 787 family, the 787-9.

Just a few days after the first 787-9 took to the air, the aircraft is packing on flight hours just a few days after taking its maiden flight.  Boeing is leveraging off the flight tests of ZB001's smaller sibling, the 787-8, to aggressively e 787-9's flight test envelope.  Because the aircraft is a  stretch of the 787-8 with the same wing and many of the same systems.  There are differences beyond the stretch of the airframe and these will be tested but given that Boeing has a ton of data already on the aircraft from the 787-8 testing they can pursue a higher flight rate.  It is still Boeing's plan to have a 6 month flight test/certification program.

There are still 2 more 787-9 in production.  The next one, ZB002, is almost complete.  ZB001 took 110 days from the start of final assembly on May 30 to first flight on September 17th.  If ZB002 takes the same amount of time (110 days) and using the July 12th date as the start of final assembly, this aircraft can possibly fly around October 30th.  However, I do expect that Boeing will apply lessons learned during the run up to ZB001's first flight to shorten that time.  It is entirely possible that ZB002 can fly around mid October.  Of course this is all dependent on finishing assembly activities and successful completion on ground testing.  ZB002 should roll out sometime in the first week of October if not earlier.

ZB021, the test aircraft that will be equipped with GE engines started final assembly on August 21st should roll out to the flightline around mid November and should fly by around early to mid December.

In the meantime Boeing is increasing the tempo of production flights has increased in the last few days as Boeing attempts to deliver around 10-12 787s this month.  So far 1 has been delivered.  We should see a good number of deliveries next week including 787s from the Charleston facility.

Lastly, I am attempting to document the 787-9 flight test program on a spreadsheet which is linked below.

Full 787 List

Current 787 Production List

Delivered 787 List

787 Monthly Delivery Tracking

787 Customer Delivery

787-9 Flight Test Hours



Andrew Boydston said...


Suggestion for 787-9 flight activity chart. It would be of interest to add the the highest achieved elevation and the achieved Knots during flight at a foot note to testing. After first flight the pilots indicated small steps in achieving ceilings and airspeed. Yesterday, as an example, BOE001 achieced 30,000 feet ceiling and some 443 KTS. Today is a different story, 20,000 ceiling and 353 Kts.
By measuring the upper limits or lower limits indicates maximum effort that day or when aircraft is put into a tall. I noticed on the 787-8 testing during some flight, Flightaware would indicate sub 100 KTS and a Delta ceiling change of 10,000 feet in one minute. This indicates a stall tests and its interesting to know where they are on the testing with these item, relative to constant ceiling feet and airspeed during tests.

Darrell Sawyer said...

Any idea what was with the 13 minute test flight on 19 Sept? Was it a scrubbed flight? Seems like a lot of effort would go into pre-flight for a 13 minute test.

Uresh said...

The flight from Moses Lake back to Boeing Field only takes about 15 - 20 minutes.

TurtleLuv said...

I'm really curious if if Boeing is having some problems crop up in production or customers are just getting pickier. It seems to me they're flying each frame more often now before delivery. Wish you had stats from the earlier deliveries, but I remember it being around 4-5 flights on average, and now it seems to be around 7-8. And then there's Charleston, where they seem unable to get anything out the door.

graeme77 said...

Anyone know what the story is with the Qatar bird stuck now for over two months in Charleston? That nasty Ali Baker character has been making his usual noises again recently. He'd best sharpen up his manners, Boeing has a clear advantantage in the wide bodies from the B788 and all the way up and through to the 777-9X. If he's not careful he'll be stuck with that automatic plastic Euro stuff.

Anonymous said...

Hi Uresh
Ive seen that you have several frames listed for delivery but ive seen on a net that they are still completing b or c flights. Have you just done this as to what ones will be delivered this month?or another reason.

Also JQ first delivery pushed further back now oct 7th was supposed to be of this month.not sure the reason on this

Randy Austin said...

Blogger graeme77 said...
Anyone know what the story is with the Qatar bird stuck now for over two months in Charleston?
Flying a C-1 this afternoon

David Cummings said...

What reg is the qatar one thats been stuck?

David Cummings said...

Does anyone know what reg the qatar bird is

graeme77 said...

It's A7-BCF
It flew yesterday for the first time in about 6 weeks

Jozef said...

LN107 delivered:

Joostdg said...

Hey Uresh,

Question, do you know why ZB001 hasn't flown in almost a week? They started with almost 20 hours in the first 5 days and now nothing? Thanks for any insight you can give.


Uresh said...

Probably changing out some test equipment/maintenance work and/or doing some ground testing

larmeyers said...

ZB001 is in the air now...

Uresh said...

Yup. I know.

Winston said...

Uresh -
Thanks for all the data you collect on the 787...I enjoy reading nearly every day. A couple questions:
1) any thoughts on the apparent return of one of the two Norwegian 787s due to a seemingly inexplicable number of maintenance issues?
2) any ideas where LN149 is headed?

Thanks much.

Matthew Redhead said...


I think that the TUI aircraft LN 137 is going to Jetairfly and not as G-TUID to Thomson Airways for delivery Nov 2013.

Kevin Flanagan said...

Sounds like more Air India money woes, LN91 might be grounded for a while yet.

greg said...

Amazing all eight of Qatar Airways' 787s are in the air right at this moment, flying from/to Doha to/from:

* London
* Stockholm
* Oslo
* Copenhagen
* Dubai
* New Delhi
* Frankfurt
* Munich

Norwegian is perhaps a bit unlucky. They may also be less experienced than some other airlines.

1coolguy1 said...

Norwegian may be best to get a few tech loaners from ANA, JAL or United, all of whom do not appear to have a problem keeping their 787's in the air.
Who knows, maybe they simply got the (1) "lemon" of the 88 delivered, but I doubt it.

TravelingMan said...

Or maybe the plane legitimately has issues and Norwegian isn't incompetent, as suggested. Can we not give them the benefit of the doubt, considering all the teething problems the 787 has had thus far? Is it right to slander Norwegian without any evidence of incompetence on their part?

Boeing will fix the issues and learn from them, hopefully. Slandering their customers does nobody any good.

Karl Perez said...

That is very true TravelingMan.

I supposed that if the airplane is not able to fly to its intended destination is because it can't, be a a defective parts or replacement of part(s) needed. And I doubt that the Norwegian mechanics will be that incompetent.

Surely Boeing will get to the bottom of these issues for Norwegian Air.

graeme77 said...

A rather dismal month for Boeing re the 787. The only exception being the 789 first flight. Not only is there a problematic public image of the aircraft, but there is also a confidence crisis with customers such as Norwegian, LOT and Qatar. Perhaps others too. September has seen a disappointing delivery tally, indicative of all the aforesaid. It would appear from afar, that there is a problem with Charleston's product, whether real or percieved, by nervous customers. Hopefully Boeing will rise and overcome with this beautiful aircraft.

Henman said...

Hi Uresh,

Taking a look at Flightaware over the last week or so, I was surprised to see pretty low ANA 787 utilisation. Around 8 airplanes in the air at the most. Sometimes Qatar as well as JAL has more airplanes in the air. Anyone have any thoughts on this? Looks like they're using 767s and 777s domestically primarily (of course in addition to the narrowbodies).

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to add to the Norwegian discussion that they have a Goldcare agreement with Boeing meaning Boeing is responsible for the maintenance of Norwegians 787 fleet. Therefore you can't really blame them no matter what the problem is. According to Swedish media the biggest problem seem to be that Boeing did not have spare parts on any of Norwegians destinations which caused huge delays when they had to be flown in from London every time.

According to the same source Boeing has now promised to keep a full set of spare part at every Norwegian destination.

Alumino said...

Regarding Norwegian and the Goldcare agreement: interesting discussion at a*.net on that. Apparently Goldcare is not a contract to assume all maintenance responsibilities, it is to manage maintenance activities. There is a difference... the significance of that difference, however, is interpreted quite differently by forum posters.

Anonymous said...

What's clear however is that Boeing agreed it was their responsibility to keep spare parts at Norwegians destinations. I also have a hard time seeing that Norwegian is in anyway way to blame for the particular aircraft having so many problems considering it's brand new. According to Norwegian CEO Björn Kjos Boeing apparently "took complete responsibility" for all the problems they have been having.

Anonymous said...

That being said Norwegians long haul enterprise is problematic. Their aircrafts are scheduled to operate 24/7 with a maximum turnaround time of 2,5 hours per stop. Without having a spare plane or any deals with other airlines in case of trouble Norwegian are bound to be haunted with constant delays and trouble getting passengers to their destinations.

Any aircraft are going to have occasional delays and canceled flights due to mechanical issues so Norwegian is going to have to change something for this to work in the long run.

Frantan Freddie said...

Hi, does anyone out there know how long it is taking to build a 787 a) from scratch i.e. at the start of the subcontractors bit, and b) how long from the final assembly at Everett to the roll out? I'd love to know the time lines here, please?

1coolguy1 said...

There are (2) places to see the 787's there: type in "787" and then "b788". Between the 2 screens a number of ANA's planes show.
I don't know why there are 2 different, unique lists for the same aircraft: Does anyone know?