Friday, February 26, 2010

Boeing confirms ZA003 first flight in March

Boeing confirmed a story I ran yesterday (Flight Test Review) regarding the status of ZA003 which is the next 787 to fly. Because Boeing has elected to install some flight test equipment that was to be installed at a later time, the date for the aircraft's first flight has slide to March. I have been told that it'll be around mid-March.

Flightblogger put up a post on his blog describing the situation and the path forward. The aircraft is ready for flight but Boeing has elected to install the equipment now as opposed to later in the flight test program as Boeing will be able the fly ZA003 more often.

Flightblogger: Boeing confirms ZA003 first flight slide to March

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Keep the line moving........

Now that Boeing is well into flight testing let's see how production is coming along on future 787s. As always, readers can scroll down to the bottom of this blog to see where the 787s are from ZA001 to the aircraft that is just starting it's assembly at Everett.

Currently inside building 40-26 there are 4 787s in various stages of assembly. LN 14 is at position 4 and LN 17 has just started final assembly. LN 18, a 787 destined for ANA is the next one and will start final assembly on March 1st after a line pulse on February 28th. Airplane 14 will move to the paint hangar at that time and airplane 13 (for ANA) will be moved out to the Boeing flightline.

Around the middle of March, it is expected that airplane 9 (also for ANA) will complete its side of body mods in the flightline tent and be moved to building 40-24 to occupy a spot that is currently taken up by LN 5. LN 5 will be moved outside to the Everett flightline and LN 10 (for LAN) will be moved into the flightline test for side of body mods.

Looking a little forward, Boeing will be looking to assembly airplanes 19 (for Royal Air Maroc) and 20 (for Japan Airlines) in March

Flight Test Review

Boeing Photo
Yesterday was a busy day for Boeing...and this blogger! Boeing has a large staff to keep track of all the flight testing going on but I'm just all by my lonesome trying to keep up with all the events that were going on. So here's a summary plus a little look forward.

ZA001 - Took off yesterday at around 11:42 AM PT and proceeded to fly for about 6 hours easily the longest 787 test flight to date. During that time ZA001 reached speeds of about 0.93M or about 538 knots and as a high as 30,900 ft as this aircraft continues the all important flutter tests ahead of receiving the TIA (Type Inspection Authorization).

ZA002 - Took off yesterday at about 9:11AM PT and only flew for about an hour and twenty minutes. It flew no higher than about 16,000 feet and reached speeds of around 0.54M or about 310 knots. It continues to evaluate the stability and control characteristics of the 787. It landed and Moses Lake and was on the ground for a few hours (presumably conducting ground tests) then took off and flew straight into Boeing Field.

ZA004 - Flew for the first time yesterday morning at about 11:43AM PT yesterday morning and flew directly to 30,000 ft where it would cruise around at speeds of about 0.68M. The airplane flew for about 3 hours which included a touch and go at Moses Lake and then flew directly to Boeing Field in Seattle.

Going forward - I heard that we shouldn't expect ZA003 to be in the air until mid March at the earliest so for the time being we'll be entertained with the flying of Dreamliners 1, 2, and 4. Know I was told that if Boeing readies ZA005 sooner than that would be the next fly because each 787 test airplane is on its own independent assembly and test track. ZA005 does have its GEnx-1B engines installed and the pace to get the airplane ready for its first flight is quickening. It could be that ZA003 and ZA005 could fly at about the same time it all depends on how each of these airplanes progresses through the reassembly process and the pre-flight ground testing that will follow.

For now ZA004 will be conducting some ground tests but will return to the air soon according to Guy Norris and I expect that ZA001 will push out the flutter envelope further in the days to come.

Guy Norris' 787 Update

Randy Tinseth also marked the first flight of ZA004 with a blog post of his own. In it he explained the need to fly Dreamliner 4 because of data that Boeing engineers need to help with the design of the 787-9. I suspect that Boeing will quickly ramp up test flight on ZA004 as quickly as possible.

Randy's Journal - First Flight of ZA004

Boeing Photo

One last note, Boeing and United Airlines jointly announced that they had finalized United's order for 25 787-8. United also has options on a further 50 787s though I'm sure they can switch those options (as well as the firm orders) amongst the different 787 variants (current and future). Here's the joint press release from Boeing and United:

News Release Issued: February 25, 2010 11:04 AM EST

Boeing and United Airlines Finalize 787 Order

United to expand international service with fuel-efficient Dreamliner

SEATTLE and CHICAGO, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) and United Airlines (Nasdaq: UAUA) have finalized an order for 25 787-8 jetliners. The agreement includes the opportunity to purchase another 50 Dreamliners.

"Boeing and United Airlines share an 80-year partnership," said Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "United, which launched the Boeing 777, now begins a new chapter with the 787 Dreamliner, the most technologically advanced commercial jetliner ever built."

The order is valued at $4.2 billion at average list prices.

"United's Boeing 787 order represents a substantial investment in our future and will enhance the significant progress we are making in improving the global competitiveness of our company while providing the opportunity to open new profitable markets and serve a broader range of international destinations," said John Tague, president of United Airlines.

United expects to take delivery of the 787s at the same time it will begin to retire its Boeing 747s and 767s operating on international routes.
The 787 Dreamliner, currently in flight test, will provide greater fuel efficiency,
allowing airlines to add new, nonstop city pairs and the additional frequencies that passengers prefer.

The 787 also promises a more comfortable flying experience for passengers. Its innovations include a new interior environment with improvements in air filtration, higher cabin pressurization resulting in reduced physical fatigue, larger windows, more stowage space, improved lighting and other passenger-preferred conveniences.

The technologically advanced 787 will also provide airlines with up to 45 percent more cargo revenue capacity.

Including United Airlines, 57 customers around the world have ordered 876 Dreamliners, making the 787 the fastest-selling new commercial jetliner in history.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Boeing Announces ZA004 First Flight

Boeing Photo

This just out from Boeing:

News Release Issued: February 24, 2010 8:57 PM EST

Boeing's ZA004 Joins 787 Flight-Test Program
EVERETT, Wash., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A third airplane has joined the Boeing (NYSE: BA) 787 Dreamliner flight-test program. ZA004, the fourth flight-test airplane to be built, took off at 11:43 a.m. local time from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The program plan called for ZA004 to fly before ZA003 because the data ZA004 is collecting is needed more quickly both for certification and development of the 787-9.

Captains Heather Ross and Craig Bomben completed a three-hour-and-two-minute flight at 2:45 p.m., landing at Boeing Field in Seattle. Flight-test personnel were also on board to monitor airplane performance.

"Airplane No. 4 operated flawlessly today," Ross said after landing. "We've got a lot of work ahead of us but I can't imagine a better start to the flight test program for this airplane."

Ross will serve as chief pilot for ZA004. This airplane will be used to accomplish the following types of tests: aerodynamics, high-speed performance, propulsion performance, flight loads, community noise and extended operations (ETOPS) and other test conditions.

During today's flight, the airplane reached an altitude of 30,000 feet (9,144 m) and an airspeed of 255 knots, or about 293 miles (472 km) per hour. As the testing of the 787 fleet progresses, the airplane will fly at its expected in-service maximum altitude of 40,000 feet (12,192 m) and speed of Mach 0.85.

"We are continuing to make good progress on the flight test program," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The team is staying focused and disciplined in keeping the priority on safety and execution of the plan."

3 787s in the air today

Matt Cawby's Video of ZA004's first flight:

Special Thanks to Matt Cawby

Video of ZA004 taking off courtesy of Future of Flight Museum:

Boeing has three 787s in the air today though BOE2 (ZA002) has landed at Moses Lake the other 2 ZA001 and ZA004 are still in the air as of 12:15PM. Here are the links for the three flights on Flightaware:


Additonally RC501, the first 747-8 was supposed to be in the air but it is still on the ground at Moses Lake. No reason why but flightaware says it's delayed four hours.

It is hoped that once all the 787s and the 747-8 are all airborne at the same time then there should be a photo shoot with someor all of the airplanes.


or you can track all the 787s on this link:

787 Flight Test Track

It's a very busy day for Boeing flight test.

Lastly, Flightblogger has a great article dedicated to Dremaliner 4:

Better Know a Dreamliner - Part Three - ZA004

ZA004 taxi tests to start soon

UPDATE 2 (11:45 AM ET): Ok lots going on today: RC501 flying out of Moses Lake at 9:25 AM, ZA002 flying out of Boeing Field at 9:40 AM, and finally ZA004 flying out of Everett at 10:00 AM. All times are Pacific Time.

UPDATE (11:36 AM ET): In addition to having 787 ZA004 in the air today at 10:30 AM PT, Boeing will also have 747-8 RC501 in the air about an hour before ZA004 will fly. It will be interesting if they join up later on today for a photoshoot. Here is RC501's flight plan:

RC501 flight plan

According to Guy Norris, ZA004 will start taxi tests soon followed by a 10:30 AM PT departure from Everett. ZA004 entry into flight test is highly anticipated as it will test the high speed performance of the aircraft as well as the fuel efficiency of the aircraft.

Currently ZA004 is equipped with package A Trent 1000s. ZA004 will be equipped with improved Trent 1000 later in the test program. The newer engines will have improved specific fuel consumption over the older version because the Trent 1000 initially were not achieving promised fuel consumption guarantees. Rolls Royce redesigned the low pressure turbine among other changes and improvements and it is now expected that the package B Trent 1000s engines will be closer to fuel consumption specs if not meeting them. There's no word on when the the aircraft will be re-engined but it should be well before the end of the test program as Boeing and Rolls Royce will want to compare fuel consumption improvement on the 787 between the two engine packages. All Trent 1000s going to customers will be delivered with the package B improvements.

Guy Norris : Third 787 Gets Ready To Fly

Move along, nothing to see here

Boeing's first 787, ZA001 returned to the skies yesterday to the relief of many (both in the program as well as many outside observers). In recent months Boeing has taken measures to be more transparent about BCA's flagship program.

They started a 787 flight test tracking web site, something that Airbus didn't even have when it was conducting the A380 flight tests. Then Boeing had an issue with an uncommanded loss of engine thrust in one of the Rolls Royce Trent 1000 which forced an early termination of one of the flutter test flights on February 19, 2010. Boeing took the extraordinary step of informing the world of the issue and the steps they had taken to resolve the problem. Boeing is taking these steps to not only have more openness about a program that is under such intense scrutiny but to make sure there voice is heard and the wrong information is not decimated via outside bloggers (like myself), media or Wall Street analyst. If Boeing had not been forth coming about the situation then many outside Boeing would have said the that the sky is falling on the 787 program and use the diversion to Moses Lake as proof that Boeing is biting off more than it can chew and the 787 is doomed to failure. Boeing should be commended for improving its transparency of the 787 program.

To be clear this issue seems to be a non event. So much so that Boeing flew ZA001 on a 3 and a half hour flutter test flight yesterday and is planning to fly ZA004 today from Everett to Moses Lake and then on to Boeing Field where it will remain through out the test flight program. There will be issue and squaks but as long as Boeing has a plan to deal with them then it shouldn't impact the test schedule or planned deliveries.

It's time to move on, there's nothing to see over here.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

787 Flight Test Update - February 23, 2010

ZA001 took to the air with a continuation of flutter tests this evening. It just landed after taking off at 2PM local time. At several points during today's flight, the aircraft was at 30,000 ft and a speed of 0.89M or about 515 knots.. Neither ZA002 nor ZA004 flew today but we'll see about tomorrow.

Monday, February 22, 2010

787 back in the air tomorrow; 747-8 returns to the air

According to information I received the in flight anomaly that ZA001 experienced is a non issue and all airplanes will return to flight tomorrow. ZA004 should be in the air as will ZA001 and ZA002 (to continue flutter tests and S & C tests).

RC501 is in the air this evening and should land at Moses Lake where it will be temporarily based for the Initial Airworthiness Flight Tests.

Here are a couple other stories about the recent 747 and 787 events.

Aviation Week : Boeing Probes 787 Engine Issue

Guy Norris also put up an update stating that ZA001 will continue flutter tests tomorrow and ZA002 will fly an stability and control test flight. ZA004 should be flying tomorrow as well as the third 787 to join the test program.

Guy Norris : 787 and 747-8 Updates
Guy Norris : 787 hits engine snag, 747-8 returns to flight

Lastly, Aviation Week linked to an article that really describes the phenomenon of flutter very well. Here's the link for those of you who are interested:

Autopia : 787 Dreamliner Hiccups During Flight Testing

ZA001 experiences in flight engine power loss

According to Randy Tinseth in a blog post, ZA001 experienced an uncommanded loss of thrust in one of the Trent 1000 engines.

According to Tinseth: "We located replacement parts and then got the parts and the right crew to Moses Lake - beginning the maintenance activity on Saturday. Later that day, we ran the engines to confirm that the replacement had been done correctly and that there were no anomalous readings. So, Sunday morning, we flew home. The airplane is going through the maintenance and pre-flight work that would have been done had it arrived back at Boeing Field on Friday evening. I can tell you that ZA001 will soon return to flutter testing."

Randy Tinseth: ZA001 Status

Randy Tinseth says that the problem was in a pressure sensing unit in the engine. The unit was replaced and tested. ZA001 subsequently flew back to Boeing Field on Sunday afternoon after Boeing and Rolls Royce work through the issue. The aircraft is subject to more testing but it does sound like it was an issue that is not major. Guy Norris writing in his blog at AvWeek said that this may delay ZA004's first flight which is schedule for today as well as a delay for the 6th flutter test to be flown by ZA001 (to be flown today but now will be postponed until further tests are done on the ground). If the flight of Dreamliner 4 is postponed then the photoshoot with RC501 and ZA004 will be delayed until the next most opportune time for Boeing. RC501 should be lifting off at around 9AM this morning (local time) according to Guy where it will fly to Moses Lake where it will be stationed for the next several weeks while it undergoes Initial Airworthiness Flight Tests. Guy also reported that ZA002 will be conducting some taxi tests as part of nose wheel steering tests.

Guy Norris: 787 hits engine snag, 747-8 returns to flight

Sunday, February 21, 2010

787 and 747 together tomorrow?

Tomorrow, both ZA004 and RC501 (787 and 747-8F) will be flying in the air. The former for the first time and the later for the second time. Now, I'm hearing that both these airplanes may fly in formation tomorrow for an in air photoshoot. ZA004 should be in the air first followed by RC501.

In other test flight news, ZA001 spent the weekend at Moses Lake after landing there on Friday. It flew back to BFI earlier today and reports from Liz Matzelle said that there were people looking at the right engines though I have heard from other sources that there weren't any problems with this airplane. There won't be any test flights today though at least two 787s (ZA002 and ZA004) will be in the air tomorrow as will be RC501 (747-8F).

ZA004 will conduct taxi tests as well as high speed RTO and then will take off tomorrow on it's first test flight. After ZA004 departs, RC501 will take off on its ferry flight to Moses Lake and during that time should link up with ZA004 for the photo op.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Flight Test Update

Several sources are reporting that both ZA004 (Dreamliner 4) and the first 747-8F will be flying on Monday, Feb. 22nd.

ZA004 will be the third 787 to fly and will fly on to Boeing Field where it will be based for the remainder of the test flight program with the other 787s. Dreamliner 4 was running a 5 hour mini gauntlet today and may have some taxi tests tomorrow followed by its first flight on Monday. Dreamliner 4 will explore the high speed aerodynamics of the 787 (both S & C and flutter) as well as engines tests at high speeds and some ETOPS testing.

RC501 will also be flying on Monday as it takes to the air for the 2nd time to be ferried to Moses Lake International Airport where it will be based for the Initial Airworthiness flight tests that it has to complete.

Friday, February 19, 2010

787 Follow Up - Feb. 19th

It looks like Boeing is on track to get Dreamliner 4 in the air by early next week, perhaps around Monday Feb. 22nd. Boeing still has to finish gauntlet testing and conduct taxi tests prior to first flight. Stay tuned on that. Additionally, Dreamliner 3 should be in the air about a week later.

Flightblogger has an article out about the Boeing finalizing the 787-9 in about 4 months from now pending successful completion of the ultimate load test on the 787-8 wing. Both the -8 and the -9 version will share the same wing which means less fuel but Boeing still plans to have greater range with the larger payload for the 787-9 because of weight saving improvements that will be incorporated into the 787 at different block points.

Flightblogger: Boeing to finalize 787-9 in June

Dreamliner 4 to start gauntlet testing; Dreamliner fleet exceeds 150 flight hours

Matt Cawby reports in his blog that Dreamliner 4 will start gauntlet testing today (Feb. 19th). This indicates that ZA004 should join the test flight program soon. The question is how soon. Boeing has said that both Dreamliner 3 and Dreamliner 4 will be flying by the end of February.

Matt Cawby's February 18th Post

However, Flightblogger Jon Ostrower reports that Dreamliner 4 should fly around February 21st and Dreamliner 3 should fly around March 2nd. I'm not sure how long Boeing will take for the gauntlet tests but they would have to run some sort of taxi tests before first flight. I'm not sure if Boeing would be able to get her in the air by Sunday but we'll see. I'm more inclined to think that ZA004 will take to the air around the 26th but I have been wrong before.

Flightblogger's 787 Test Flight Program Update

Flightblogger's 787 Month Two Update

Dreamliner 1 and Dreamliner 2 continue flutter tests towards receiving the TIA for the 787. Yesterday, Boeing pushed ZA001 further with speeds hitting 0.88M or a little over 500 knots. The aircraft's cruising speed is about 0.92M so Boeing is certainly building up to that and will be able to do more extensive testing in the high speed regimes once Dreamliner 4 gets into the test flight program. Up through February 18th, the two Dreamliners have accumulated almost 155 hours of flight time spread over 47 flights.

In the two months that the 787s have been flying, Boeing had achieved about 5% of the flight test hours they say that they will fly by the time the aircraft is certified and delivered to ANA. Boeing aims to have about 3,100 flight hours logged by that time between the 6 test flight airplanes. They still have a very long way to go. While the addition of airplanes 3 and 4 to the test flight program will aid immensely in getting more hours logged, I have to wonder if Boeing will be able to achieve their flight hours targets given the pace of flight testing thus far. There has been some delays and some minor squaks that have kept the two Dreamliner's on the ground more than Boeing probably would like but I have been expecting that ZA004 and ZA003 would have been further along compared to where they are now. The two 787s have been flying about 4 to 5 hours on each sortie not the 8 hour average which is what Boeing had indicated that they will be flying. Again time will tell and hopefully Boeing will be able to add on the flight hours with the addition of airplanes 3 and 4.

In other news, Mike Mecham, of Aviation Week broke the news that the first 747-8F to be delivered to a customer was rolled out of the Everett final assembly building (presumably it's in the paint hangar). RC501 should return to the skies shortly. Flightblogger also reported that Vought start manufacturing the first parts for the 747-8I, the newest passenger version of the 747. This airplane should start final assembly around May rolled out late 2010 and have first flight in the first quarter of 2011 with delivery to a VIP customer in the 4th quarter of 2011.

Mike Mecham's Blog Post

Flightblogger: Vought starts 747-8I production : 747-8 Update

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

787 & 747 Tidbits

Well know that Boeing has two major programs in test flights here's some updates.


Boeing announced that the fourth Dreamlifter is now in service after the 747-400 underwent major reconstructive surgery (like it's 3 sisterships) in Taiwan. Here's Boeing's Press Release:

News Release Issued: February 16, 2010 2:51 PM EST

Final Boeing 747 Dreamlifter Enters Service
EVERETT, Wash., Feb. 16
/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The fourth Boeing (NYSE:BA) Dreamlifter – the final airplane in the fleet of specially modified 747-400s – entered service today. Dreamlifters transport the large composite structures of the 787 Dreamliner from partners around the world to Everett, Wash. for final assembly. The unique airplane, which was modified by Evergreen Aviation Technologies Corp. in Taipei, Taiwan, took off from Paine Field in Everett early this morning. Bound for Wichita, Kan., the Dreamlifter is returning the equipment used to transport the forward fuselage section known as section 41. The airplane's registry is N718BA.

I heard a couple years ago that Boeing may need as many as 6 Dreamlifter to support the higher production rate. With the Charleston Assembly Line due to start production middle of next year Boeing may have to procure two more low mileage 747-400 for conversion to LCFs to meet the higher expected output.

In the meantime ZA003 underwent more ground testing as does ZA004. Both aircraft still are expected to be in the air by the end of the month with ZA005 in the air by March and ZA006 flying by the end of April.

Flight testing continues with ZA001 starting flutter tests on February 14 with this testing expected to last a few weeks. Soon after that the 787 should receive its TIA (Type Authorization Inspection) which will be the formal start of certification flights with FAA inspectors on board the test flights.

Guy Norris has a great blog post detailing the 787 flutter tests.

787 - Forward to Flutter

On the production front, Boeing has sent airplane 13 to the paint shop after it had completed final assembly activities in building 40-26. Airplane 17 moved into position 1 for the start of final assembly and parts for airplane 18, destined for ANA, has started to arrive in Everett.


Since conducting first flight of the 747-8F, Boeing has been conducting further ground tests on RC501 as well as checking out the aircraft in preparation for the next flight speaking of which should occur as early as this coming weekend. RC521 is continuing its preparations for its first flight which should occur after RC501 as completed initial airworthiness flights. In the meantime, Boeing released some very spectacular images of RC501's first flight around the Seattle area.

All photos below are Boeing Photos:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

747-8 First Flight Round Up

Boeing Photo
Yesterday, Boeing conducted the first flight of the enlarged version of the 747 known as the 747-8 after about a year delay. The aircraft, registered N747EX, took off at about 12:39 PM PST after a two and half hour delay due to low hanging clouds in the Everett area. Boeing needed a 1500 ft cloud ceiling and during the morning the ceilings were about 700 ft. The skies finally cleared and Boeing decided to go ahead with the first flight at 12:30 PM. The airplane did circuits around the Puget Sound vicinity as well as to the south of the Sound. The airplane landed back at Paine Field at about 4:18 PM PST thus making the total flight time 3 hours and 39 minutes.

Upon completion of the first flight Boeing put out the following press release:

News Release Issued: February 8, 2010 9:12 PM EST

Boeing 747-8 Freighter Successfully Completes First Flight Newest Boeing Freighter Touches Down Safely After 3-Hour, 39-Minute Mission

EVERETT, Wash., Feb. 8/PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- The Boeing (NYSE: BA) 747-8 Freighter successfully took to the sky for the first time today before more than 5,000 employees, customers, suppliers and community leaders. The flight begins a test program for the world's most efficient freighter.

With 747 Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein and Capt. Tom Imrich in the flight deck, the newest member of the 747 family took off at 12:39 p.m. local time from Paine Field in Everett and landed at Paine Field at 4:18 p.m.

"It was a real privilege to be at the controls of this great airplane on its first flight, representing the thousands of folks who made today possible," said Feuerstein. "The airplane performed as expected and handled just like a 747-400."

Today's flight was the first of more than 1,600 flight hours in the test program for the newest member of the Boeing freighter family. The airplane followed a route over Western Washington, where it underwent tests for basic handling qualities and engine performance. The airplane reached a cruising altitude of 17,000 feet (5,181 m) and a speed of up to 230 knots, or about 264 miles (426 km) per hour.

Powered by four General Electric GEnx-2B engines, the 747-8 Freighter will transition its testing program to Moses Lake, Wash., and Palmdale, Calif., where the other two test airplanes will join it in the coming month.

"This truly is a great day for The Boeing Company and the 747 program," said Mo Yahyavi, 747 program general manager and vice president, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "It's the culmination of the hard work and dedication of our employees, suppliers and customers. While there is still much to do, I am excited to begin the flight-test program, which will demonstrate the capabilities of this airplane."

The 747-8 Freighter is the new, high-capacity 747 that will give cargo operators the lowest operating costs and best economics of any freighter. The airplane is 250 feet, 2 inches (76.3 m) long, which is 18 feet, 4 inches (5.6 m) longer than the 747-400 Freighter. The stretch provides customers with 16 percent more revenue cargo volume compared with its predecessor. That translates to an additional four main-deck pallets and three lower-hold pallets.

"The 747-8 Freighter continues the leadership of the 747 Freighter families, which carries more than half of the world's air freight, making it the standard of the air cargo industry," Yahyavi said.

Boeing launched the airplane on Nov. 14, 2005, with firm orders for 18 747-8 Freighters: 10 from Cargolux of Luxembourg and eight from Nippon Cargo Airlines of Japan. All told, Boeing has secured 108 orders for the 747-8, of which 76 are orders for the new freighter. Cargolux, Nippon Cargo Airlines, AirBridgeCargo Airlines, Atlas Air, Cathay Pacific, Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, Emirates SkyCargo, Guggenheim and Korean Air all have ordered the 747-8 Freighter.

Aviation media swarmed Paine Field in anticipation of this first flight and much of what follows are links to their reporting.

Flightblogger was on the Berm at Paine Field reporting on the first flight and has quite a bit of photos and videos posted.

Flightblogger: 747-8F First Flight Photos

Flightglobal : 747-8F First Flight

Saj Ahmad at also had a great piece on the 747-8 first flight as well as revealing a few tidbits of the 747-8I program. The first 747-8I should start final assembly in late 2nd quarter/early 3rd quarter of this year with roll out occurring in the 4th quarter of this year and first flight in the first quarter of 2011. Delivery of the first 747-8I should take place in 4th quarter of 2011 to a private BBJ customer in Kuwait followed shortly thereafter by first delivery to Lufthansa. : Boeing 747-8F Takes to the Air

Dave Parker Brown of Airline Reporter was also at Everett and recorded a lot of video as well as photos. Thanks to Dave Brown for allowing me to use his video but you can also see his photos linked below:

AirlineReporter 747-8F Take Off Photos

Airline Reporter 747-8F Landing Photos

The following video is courtesy of David Parker Brown at

Dave Brown's Take Off Video:

Dave Brown's 747-8F Landing Video

Matt Cawby, a fixture at Everett, got three great videos and a few nice pictures on his blog post:

Matt Cawby's 747-8F First Flight Post

Aviation Week has set up a page dedicated solely to the 747-8 first flight and includes a lot of extras like videos, photos, and interactive timeline and more.

Aviation Week's 747-8 First Flight Coverage

Aubrey Cohen at the Seattle Post Intelligencer got some great shots of the first flight as well:

Seattle PI 747-8 Photos

Aubrey Cohen's 747-8 First Flight Story

Lastly, as with the 787 program, I'll be attempting to track the 747-8 flight test progress. You can see the progress at the bottom of this blog which I'll try to keep as current as possible.

Monday, February 8, 2010

747-8 First Flight

UPDATE 22 : And she's in the air!!

UPDATE 21 : BOE501 beginning take off roll!

UPDATE 20 : BOE 501/H is at the end of the runway ready to roll

UPDATE 19 : RC 501 will take off to the north

UPDATE 18 : RC 501 has started taxiing ot Rwy. 34L

UPDATE 17 : Control Surface checks are on going before taxiing

UPDATE 16 : Aircraft door being closed. Airstairs are being pulled away

UPDATE 15 : Inboard engines are spooling up. Aircraft should taxi at 12:30 PM PST

UPDATE 14 : Engines are coming on!

UPDATE 13 : Boeing's Live Feed Reporting to resume soon. Engines start coming up soon.

UPDATE 12 : Boeing now saying that take off is within the next hour.

UPDATE 11 : Increasing clear skies and Boeing employees walking back outside...a good sign now!

UPDATE 10 : In somewhat related news, Dreamliner 1 will be flying at 11:30 PM PST and Dreamliner 2 will be in the air at 12 noon PST.

UPDATE 9 : Now reporting blue sky at Everett! Maybe they can go now? Stay Tuned...

UPDATE 8 : Guy Norris is reporting that the revised window for first flight is rumored to be between 1 noon and 2 PM PST

UPDATE 7 : Reports are that skies are clearing very, very slowly. Employees are leaving the area to go back to work...I guess they're still not sure about when the flight will go off, and to top it all off, Boeing Webcast has gone offline. We're in for a quite a wait.

UPDATE 6 : Boeing is saying up to a 30 minute delay because of the weather. Still waiting for that low hanging clouds to leave the area.

UPDATE 5 : Report that the aircraft is moving! Boeing's Web cast is live.

UPDATE 4 : Flightblogger reporting flight crew is on the airplane

UPDATE 3 : Fog is starting to burn off. Current weather is cloudy with low hanging clouds and the temp is around 45 degree F. It is expected that the sun would be out but it is possible that Boeing can hold off on engine start due to the low ceiling. Boeing needs to have a 5 mile visibility and a 5000 ft cloud ceiling for today's flight. We're about 35 minutes away from 10:10 AM PST take off time for the first 747-8.

UPDATE 2 : Fog is rolling into Everett some observers are reporting

UPDATE 1 : Just up on Flightaware: BOE501/B748 has just filed a flight plan. It is scheduled to depart from KPAE (Snohomish County) at 10:00 PST heading for KPAE (Snohomish County) for an
estimated arrival at 14:00 PST.
Expected route: V23 BEZOV ISLND V165 CVV JAWBN TOU TOU080055 TOU 4752 4358 4752
For more information visit

I'll be reporting and updating this post throughout today to document the first flight of the first 747-8. The aircraft successfully completed it taxi tests on Saturday in preparation for today's flight.

Currently the weather in Everett is 44 degrees F and cloudy but around flight time the weather is expected to be partly sunny with a temperature of 46 degrees F.

The plan is for the 747-8 to take off and test the initial aircraft response. The aircraft will return to Everett after its first flight. After a couple of days, Boeing will base this aircraft from Moses Lake, International Airport for the remainder of the initial airworthiness tests. After the 747-8 has completed this milestone RC501 as well as RC 521 and RC 522 will all be flown out of Palmdale, California for the remainder of the test flight program so as to not to interfere with 787 testing going on at Boeing Field. Typically, Boeing runs test flights out of Boeing Field but with two major programs entering flight test, Boeing decided to separate the two test flight programs. Please check back here during today for updates on the first flight. You can also follow me on Twitter.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

787 flight tests ramping up and closing on 100 flight hours

Position of ZA001 and ZA002 during flight tests on February 6, 2010 using AirNav Live Flight Tracker 6.0.
Boeing is gradually ramping up the 787 flight test program with the 2 current test flight aircraft in the air simultaneously for the second day in a row. Boeing now has accumulated well over 92 hours of test flight under its belt out of the planned 3,100 hours of flight time needed for testing and certification. Boeing is conducting stability and control tests with both airplanes and are working towards the type inspection authorization which will allow FAA inspectors aboard for the certification flights that would follow the TIA. ZA004 is expected to fire up it Trent 1000s very soon and ZA003 will be conducting deployment tests of the emergency slides. Both airplanes will be flying in the test program within the next 3 weeks.

Boeing 747-8 Completes Taxi Trials; Aircraft ready for first flight

Boeing Photo

In a Press Release this evening, Boeing said that the 747-8F is has completed taxi trials and is ready for first flight. First flight is schedule to occur on Monday, Feb. 8, 2010 at 10 AM PST. Here is the text of Boeing's Press Release:

News Release Issued: February 6, 2010 8:46 PM EST

Boeing Completes 747-8 Freighter Taxi Tests

EVERETT, Wash., Feb. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) completed taxi tests on the first 747-8 Freighter today. With Chief Pilot Mark Feuerstein at the controls, the airplane reached a top seed of approximately 90 knots (103.5 mph, 166.6 kph).

"The airplane performed well," said Mo Yahyavi, 747 program vice president and general manager, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "Based on early indications, the airplane is ready to fly."

This was the last functional test planned before first flight. The first flight of the 747-8 Freighter is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 8.

The taxi test were widely filmed today and here are a few videos courtesy of Liz Matzelle who videotaped the taxi tests in HD.

747-8 Taxi Tests and 787 Flight Tests

UPDATE 4: RC501 has finished taxi tests today but on the last high speed taxi run, smoke apparently developed from the righ hand gear possibly indicating a brake problem. Details are unknown at this time.

UPDATE 3: ZA001 took off at 2:22 PM PST and is flying in eastern Washington State as is ZA002. ZA002 is to the noth of ZA001 at this time.

UPDATE 2: ZA001 will be returning to the air at around 1:5 PM PST. Looks like Boeing is settling into the test program quite nicely. They can surpass 100 787 flight hours either today but most likely tomorrow.

UPDATE: RC501 is performing it's taxi tests on the runways and taxiways of Paine Field this afternoon. Meanwhile ZA002 has departed Boeing Field for another test flight. No word on if ZA001 will be joining her in the air.

Liz Matzelle has a short video up of RC 501 on Everett's runway

RC501 is about to start it's taxi tests. It's about 1 PM in Everett Right now and the aircraft has its engines turning at this moment.

ZA002 is also on deck to make another test flight this afternoon. It was supposed to be up by now but still have no indications of it lifting off.

Through yesterday, Boeing has amassed over 87 flight test hours with both ZA001 and ZA002. Word from Guy Norris is that ZA004 will run its engines for the first time very soon and ZA003 will conduct evac slide deployment tests, also very soon.

Guy Norris

Friday, February 5, 2010

Dreamliner 1 returning to the air this afternoon

Boeing Photo

Flightaware put out an alert for Boeing 001's (also known as Dreamliner 1, ZA001, LN 1, N787BA) return to the air this afternoon.

BOE1/B788 has just filed a flight plan. It is scheduled to depart from KBFI (Boeing Field Intl) at 09:30 PST heading for KMWH (Grant Co Intl) for an estimated arrival at 10:00 PST.Expected route: SEA V120 EPHFor more information visit

The return of this airplane to flight testing will help Boeing ramp up 787 flight testing significantly.
UPDATE: Boeing 002 (aka Dreamliner 2, ZA002, LN 2, N787EX) will be taking to the air at around 12:30 PM PST. Dreamliner 1 is still on the ground at Moses Lake but should be flying soon. We may be seeing 2 787s in the air at the same time for the first time.

Start of 747-8 taxi tests on tap for 2/6/10; ZA001 return to flight test delayed

According to Guy Norris' latest blog post, RC501, the first 747-8, will start taxi tests tomorrow morning (Feb. 6, 2010) with these tests running through Sunday with a rejected take off test. Boeing plans to conduct the first flight on Monday, Feb. 8, 2010 at 10AM PST. I'll be blogging the event live on that day.

Guy also said that ZA002 conducted more stall tests yesterday, ZA001 is still on the ground due to unspecified problems which hopefully should be resolved today allowing the aircraft to rejoin the test program.

Guy Norris: 747-8 Readied For Taxi Tests

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Guy Norris: More Dreamliner 3 pictures inside and out

Guy Norris had a great posting this morning with more pictures of the Dreamliner 3 from yesterdays 787 interior reveal. Today Boeing will be doing evacuation slide deployment tests on Dreamliner 3, Guy reports.

Some other 787 news: Garuda Indonesia, who had a letter of intent to purchase 10 787 from Boeing has decided to swap out the 787 for the 777-300ER. This doesn't have an effect on the 787 order book as the LoI was never finalized and a deposit never placed with Boeing. It is unknown if the 777-300ER order is a firm order or an LoI.

Guy Norris: 787 - ZA003 Inside and Out

The always charming Mary Kirby had a great article on FlightGlobal about the ZA003 interior and its plans in the test flight program.

Mary Kirby: First 787 with interior to fly by month's end

Mary Kirby: Details from Boeing's 787 interior event in Everett

On Monday I'll be covering the 747-8 first flight from the East Coast and look for reports on the taxi tests that are expected to start this weekend.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Boeing says 747-8 First Flight Window Opens Feb. 8th at 10AM

Boeing Photo

Boeing is saying that first flight of the 747-8 can take place starting at 10 AM local time from Everett Field on February 8, 2010.

First flight is dependent on the 747-8F clearing its taxi tests which should take place this weekend.

Pics of 787 ZA003 interior

Boeing Photo
Boeing lead reporters today of a tour of ZA003 which has a representative passenger interior (not an airline ordered interior).

Runway Girl (aka Mary Kirby) and Airline Reporter (aka Dave Parker Brown) have put their pictures and reports on Twitter.

Check out their pics here.

Guy Norris has a couple of great pics including a picture of the dimmable windows at different settings. Quite amazing!

Guy Norris: 787 Interior Unveil

Hopefully there will be more pictures soon from Airline Reporter and others.

Here's Boeing's Press Release:

News Release Issued: February 3, 2010 3:49 PM EST

Boeing Unveils First 787 Dreamliner Interior on 3rd Flight-Test Airplane

EVERETT, Wash., Feb. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) today publicly unveiled the first 787 Dreamliner to feature interior components. The third flight test airplane, ZA003, has a partial interior that provides a glimpse into the new flying experience the airplane will offer. Configured for flight-testing purposes, the interior includes instrumentation racks, flight-test equipment and workstations for engineers.

"This airplane is specifically configured to test the passenger experience elements of the airplane," said Tom Galantowicz, director of 787 Interiors, Commercial Airplanes. "Our engineers and flight-test team use a disciplined process to certify the various elements of the interior and conduct airplane-level verifications."

The interior includes 135 seats, multiple lavatories and two crew rests. Certifying the interior components involves analyses and testing of the lighting, lavatories, stowage bins, dimmable windows and galleys.

Passengers will be welcomed onto the 787 by sweeping arches, dynamic lighting, larger lavatories, more spacious luggage bins and electronic window shades whose transparency they can change during flight.

"Our team is making great progress and is looking forward to getting this airplane in the air later this month," Galantowicz added.

Flight testing will continue in the months ahead. Delivery of the first 787 to launch customer ANA (All Nippon Airways) of Japan is planned for the fourth quarter of this year.

747-8F First Flight News

Sources are telling me that taxi tests for RC501 (LN1420) are on plan to start this weekend with first flight for sometime middle to late next week. Time will tell if this schedule holds.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Norris and Mecham Update on the 787

Boeing Photos

Aviation Week's Mike Mecham and Guy Norris each posted an update on the 787.
Guy Norris reports that ZA001 will return to the skies tomorrow after a planned lay up following completion of the initial airworthiness tests. Boeing will fly the aircraft with test pilots and test engineers abroad the plane. ZA002, which completed a 4 hour and 11 minute flight today, has been flying with test engineers aboard since January 27th.

Tomorrow's flight of ZA001 will be an extended check out flight with some of the new test equipment aboard along with the engineers to operate them and to examine real time data feeds.

The next set of tests is to explore flutter effects at higher speeds and altitudes as well as expansion of the flight envelope beyond 0.65 Mach and 30,0000ft altitude. Once these next set of tests are complete, Boeing expects to receive the TIA (type inspection authorization) by the end of this month which would allow FAA inspectors aboard to observe the certification testing that would follow TIA testing. Thsu far, ZA001 has 59 hours and 15 minutes of flight time with 15 flights and ZA002 has 15 hours and 51 minutes of flight time spread across 5 flights. The test fleet has accumulated 75 hours and 6 minutes of flight time across 20 sorties.

Guy Norris: 787 update - ZA001 set to return tomorrow

Mike Mecham reported from the Singapore Air Show that both ZA004and ZA003 are following their paths to first flight. ZA004 should fly around middle of February while ZA003 should fly at the end of February.

Mike Mecham: ZA004 and ZA003 in the wings

Boeing Moves ZY998 to Fatigue Test Rig

Boeing Photo
Boeing announced, this morning, that it had moved the fatigue test air frame to the test rig at building 40-41. Here's Boeing's Press Release:

News Release Issued: February 2, 2010 9:16 AM EST

Boeing Moves 787 Dreamliner Fatigue Test Airframe to Testing Rig

EVERETT, Wash., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) on Sunday moved the 787 Dreamliner fatigue test airframe to its structural test rig. The test rig is located in the northwest corner of the Everett, Wash., site.

Test set up is expected to begin immediately, with tests commencing midyear.

"Unlike static tests, where loads are applied to the airplane structure to simulate both normal operation and extreme flight conditions, fatigue testing is a much longer process that simulates up to three times the number of flight cycles an airplane is likely to experience during a lifetime of service," said Scott Fancher, 787 vice president and general manager, Commercial Airplanes. "This testing is instrumental in confirming the longevity of the airplane."