Sunday, March 14, 2010

Busy Day for Boeing Flight Test....Again!

Boeing Photo
Boeing Flight Test Group is getting areal workout today by sending the 4th 787 (ZA003) and the 2nd 747-8F (third 747-8 built) into the air today. First up was ZA003. This aircraft, which will test the aircraft's cabin systems and is equiped with a representative cabin layout, took off from Everett Field at 10:52AM PT and flew over eastern Washington State. ZA003 landed at Boeing Field about 1:52PM PT. It had been airborne for a little over 3 hours.

Boeing has released a press release about ZA003's first flight. Here's the press release:

News Release Issued: March 14, 2010 7:22 PM EDT

Fourth 787 Joins Boeing Flight-Test Fleet
EVERETT, Wash., March 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Boeing (NYSE: BA) has added the fourth 787 Dreamliner to its flight-test fleet with the completion of the first flight of ZA003. The airplane departed Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 10:55 a.m. (Pacific time) and landed at 2:01 p.m. at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Captains Ray Craig and Mike Bryan piloted the airplane on its three-hour-and-six-minute flight. ZA003 is the final 787 with Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines to enter the flight-test program.

"We've done a significant amount of ground testing on the new systems on ZA003 in preparation for first flight. Engineering, manufacturing and flight operations have really pulled together as a team to enable first flight," said Craig. "It has been very rewarding to watch the Boeing team pull together in support of this milestone."

ZA003 is the only 787 in the flight test fleet that will include elements of the passenger interior features including cabin and crew support systems. The 787 is introducing new passenger amenities and provisions for a more comfortable flying experience. Among the new features are improved lighting, bigger stowage bins, larger windows with electrochromatic shades and redesigned lavatories with easier access.

In addition to demonstrating that the interior meets certification requirements, ZA003 will be used to conduct tests on systems, noise performance, flight-deck operations, avionics, electromagnetic effects, high-intensity radio frequency response and extended operations (ETOPS).

"The Boeing team is doing great work. We've established a good pace of accomplishment on the program," said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program, Boeing Commercial Airplanes. "The priorities are clear and the entire team is focused."
In the meantime, while ZA001 and ZA002 have been flying test flight, ZA004 has been used as a ground test article, for the time being, for the "service-ready"version of the 787 software, according to Flightblogger. The software includes tweaks to correct issues found during test flights of the 787. The testing that ZA004 is required by the FAA prior to the issuance of the Type Authorization Inspection certficate that will allow FAA inspectors and engineers on the 787 for certification test. According to Flightblogger, ZA004 should return to the air by tomorrow and will do some more ground testings followed by more flight testing at Victorville. Additionally, Flightblogger revealed that ZA005 and ZA006 should be flying by the end of April.

Service-ready 787 software tested ahead of TIA

Guy Norris also wrote a great update on the 787 and 747-8 flight testing progress to date:

Guy Norris' 787 and 747 Flight Test Update

ZA003 take off form Everett Field - Video Courtesy of Matt Cawby

787 ZA003 First Flight from Liz Matzelle on Vimeo.

Boeing Photo
Later this afternoon, RC522, the third 747-8 built took offf from Everett for it's first test flight and the second 747-8 to fly. The aircraft is registered N50127 and took off at 3:55PM PT. As of 6:06PM PT, the aircraft is still airborne though it does look like it's going to land at Boeing Field. I'll try to find out more about this if I can. the 747-8 test fleet is to be based out of Moses Lake Airport,initially and later on will be based out of Palmdale, California. It's sistership, RC501 flew a brief test flight this afternoon and the 2nd 747-8 (RC521) will fly tomorrow, March 15th, from Everett Field. Here's Boeing press release (according to which, Capt. Kirk was at the controls:

News Release Issued: March 15, 2010 1:21 PM EDT

Second Boeing 747-8 Freighter Completes First Flight

EVERETT, Wash., March 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- A second Boeing (NYSE: BA) 747-8 Freighter, RC 522, successfully completed its first flight Sunday evening. The airplane took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., for a two-and-a-half-hour flight and landed at Boeing Field in Seattle.

Captain Kirk Vining was at the controls for the flight, with Rick Braun operating as co-pilot and Joel Conard serving as systems operator. The airplane reached an altitude of 27,000 feet (8,230 m) and an airspeed of 240 knots, or about 276 miles (444 km) per hour. It took off at 3:57 p.m. PDT and landed at 6:25 p.m.

"The airplane performed well on its first flight," said Andy Hammer, test program manager for 747-8. "It was a good start to a demanding flight-test program for this airplane."

This is the second of three 747-8 Freighters being used in the flight-test program. Each
airplane will be used for a specific set of tests, with this airplane focusing on community noise, environmental control systems and extended operation performance standards.

The airplane will begin its flight-test program at Boeing Field before transitioning to Palmdale, Calif.

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