All Boeing 787 test aircraft now flying

Testing for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, one of the world’s most innovative planes, seems to be going well with the maiden flight of the sixth, and final, aircraft which forms part of their test fleet.

It is the second 787 to be fitted with General Electric GEnx engines to take to the air as four of the six test aircraft are fitted with Rolls Royce engines.  This sixth aircraft, which was given the identification ZA006, took off from Paine Field for a flight which lasted about one hour and forty minutes.

The 787 flight-test program has so far logged more than 1,900 hours over 620 flights and completed more than 65 percent of the flight-test conditions for 787s with Rolls-Royce engines. According to Boeing it has also completed “well over” 4,000 hours of ground testing on the same airplanes involved in the flight-test program.

The Boeing 747 Dreamliner is made of composite materials rather than metal, which makes it lighter than other aircraft of a similar size, and also far more fuel efficient.  Built in three different configurations, the 787-8 aircraft will carry 210 – 250 passengers on routes of 7,650 to 8,200 nautical miles (14,200 to 15,200 kilometres), while the 787-9 Dreamliner will carry 250 – 290 passengers on routes of 8,000 to 8,500 nautical miles (14,800 to 15,750 kilometres).

In addition to bringing big-jet ranges to mid-size airplanes, the 787 will provide airlines with unmatched fuel efficiency, resulting in exceptional environmental performance. The airplane will use 20 percent less fuel for comparable missions than today’s similarly sized airplane.

55 airlines have already ordered the 787, with the number of aircraft ordered reaching almost 850.  Boeing estimates that delivery will begin in the first half of 2011.

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