With a single frame cleared to fly Boeing 787 ZA005 – part of the cadre of 787’s used for testing the fleet have had two test flights, all took off and landed without an issue
The first test flight took place on 9th February, and departed from Boeing Field with a crew of 13 on board – all Boeing pilots and flight test personnel. The flight lasted 2 hours and 19 minutes (extended from a 2 hour sortie).
The second test flight took place on 11th February, with the same aircraft for a 1 hour and 29 minutes. It took off from and landed at Boeing Field in Seattle.
Both flights reported being “uneventful”.
The aim of the flights is to collect data about the Lithium Ion battery packs used in the Boeing 787, and what has been causing the batteries to fail on the ground and in flight.
Frame ZA005 is Boeing 787-8 variant, powered by General Electric GEnx engines.
For Boeing these tests are important as deliveries are now being put on hold. Both Norwegian Air Shuttle and Thomson Airlines (part of TUI Group) have received notification that their new 787’s have been delayed – without a new delivery date.
Norwegian Air Shuttle was due to receive 2 aircraft in April and June to commence their services, whilst Thomson were due to get their first aircraft in February for a May deployment in the busy summer timetable. Both airlines are making arrangements in the meantime if they do not get the aircraft on time.
Whilst the flights themselves were “uneventful”, what will be interesting is the telemetry and the data from the planes and the battery packs to identify what has happened, and what can be done to prevent future incidents.
And in turn, provide a path for the re-entry of the 787 back into commercial service.