Boeing finished the flight-test program for certification of the new 747-8 Freighter yesterday, the company announced this afternoon. Flight test airplane RC522 completed testing of the flight management computer (FMC) and RC523 concluded function and reliability testing. Both GE GEnx-2B-powered airplanes landed at Paine Field in Everett, Wash., following their final test flights.
Boeing 747 Large Cargo Freighter
Boeing’s latest iteration of the 747, the “Dash 8” Intercontinental, recently completed its first series of flight-testing at Moses Lake, Wash., according to company sources.
While at Moses Lake, the first of two 747-8I test aircraft–dubbed RC001–performed a variety of tests, including flutter and modal suppression. The testing conducted at Moses Lake constituted part of the normal flight-test plan, according to Boeing.
The fifth Boeing 747-8 Freighter took to the air for the first time today from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The airplane, dubbed RC523, flew for three-and-a-half hours, during which time it conducted the standard two-and-a-half-hour “B1” flight profile that Boeing conducts on all production airplanes before delivery, as well as an hour of engineering testing.
The newest Boeing 787–designated ZA102–flew for the first time yesterday, a Boeing spokesperson confirmed. The airplane took off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 3:53 p.m. local time and landed just over an hour later at the same location, per plan.
It didn’t take special insight to guess that Boeing wouldn’t meet its year-end target to certify and deliver the first 747-8 Freighter. Company executives certainly sent enough signals over the summer to clue in the most casual observer to the fact that, indeed, the program appeared bound to suffer yet another delay.
The sixth and final Boeing 787 to join the flight test fleet flew for the first time yesterday from Paine Field in Everett, Wash. The airplane, ZA006, landed at Seattle’s Boeing Field as planned, but two hours earlier than expected. A Boeing spokesperson said a maintenance message during the flight forced Captains Christine Walsh and Bill Roberson to cut short the mission “as a precautionary measure.”
Boeing announced today that it has decided on a firm configuration for the next iteration of the Dreamliner. The company said it has finished the trade studies required to finalize the 787-9's overall capability and basic design, allowing the OEM and its suppliers to begin detailed design of parts, assemblies and other systems. As the partners complete and release detailed designs, production can begin.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner factory in Everett, Wash., continues to bustle as the company allows partners extra time to complete work on fuselage sections for the 23rd and 24th airplanes. During the last week of April, Boeing adjusted its schedule by 24 manufacturing days and asked suppliers to refrain from sending incomplete components to Everett for the two Dreamliners.
Boeing has chosen South Carolina as the location for fabrication and assembly of interior parts for the 787 Dreamliner. The company continues to review potential sites for the new facility and expects to reach a final decision by midsummer.
Boeing insists the first 787 Dreamliner remains on schedule for first delivery to All Nippon Airways by the end of this year, despite some admitted glitches during flight testing that appear to have eroded much of the margin the company had built into its timetable for certification.