Boeing completes flight tests for 787

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After more than 4 800 flight hours, Boeing has completed certification flight tests for the Rolls Royce powered 787 Dreamliner, a key step in moving toward first delivery next month.

With flight tests completed, certification by the Federal Aviation Administration is now needed before first delivery to All Nippon Airways, and is expected later this month.

The 787 is still set for delivery to All Nippon next month and will see a production rate increase later this year, chief of commercial airplanes Jim Albaugh said at an industry conference.

ANA will operate its first 787 revenue flight as a charter international flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong.
“ANA’s passengers will be the first to experience the 787 Dreamliner’s comfortable interior environment,” said Mitsuo Morimoto, ANA senior executive vice president and member of the board of directors. “Combined with ANA’s superior levels of service, passengers will enjoy a spacious interior, larger windows, comfortable seats and touch-panel in-flight entertainment screens.”

The final 787 test flight occurred on August 13 using the ninth 787 to be built, Boeing said in a statement yesterday.
“We are very pleased with the performance of the airplane during the Function & Reliability and Extended Operations testing over the last month,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 programme. “The Dreamliner continues to demonstrate that we will indeed deliver a truly revolutionary airplane that will be a game changer in the marketplace.”

Boeing is about three years behind schedule in delivering the first 787, largely because of snags in the complex global supply chain.

The Dreamliner is a lightweight airplane that promises 20% greater fuel efficiency than similarly sized jets. Much of the primary structure will be made of composite materials.

Boeing, the world’s second-biggest plane maker after EADS unit Airbus, has taken more than 800 orders for the Dreamliner, whose list prices start at US$185.2 million each.

The company said flight testing continues for 787s with General Electric Co engines. The General Electric GEnx-1B powered version is expected to achieve certification in the fourth quarter of this year.

Boeing began flight testing the 787 on December 15, 2009, more than two years later than planned.