787 enters final testing phase

The Boeing Co.’s new 787 jet has entered the last phase of flight testing, the company said Monday.

Boeing said it started two sets of testing — function and reliability testing and extended twin engine operations — on the 787 Monday. These are the final flight test obstacles to gain certification on the Dreamliner. The company expects to deliver the first 787 in August or September to Japan’s All Nippon Airways.

“We are ready for this final phase of flight testing,” said Scott Fancher, general manager of the 787 program.

Function and reliability testing simulates various operations for the airplane, similar to if the airplane was in commercial service. During extended twin engine operations testing, Boeing validates the airplane’s ability to safely divert for a variety of reasons, including long diversions with one engine shut down.

The testing will be done on a 787 with Rolls Royce engines. Separate tests will be done later on 787s with General Electric engines.

Boeing began flight testing of its Dreamliner in December 2009. The 787, which has 835 orders, initially was scheduled to be delivered in May 2008.

On Monday, Boeing flew its 787 to North Charleston, S.C., for the first time. Boeing plans to begin work in its final assembly factory there next month.

Also Monday, the Federal Aviation Administration said it is pursuing a fine of more than an $1 million against Boeing. The FAA says the airplane maker didn’t follow its own instructions for installing oxygen systems on the 777. Boeing said the instruction turned out to be unnecessary and deleted it.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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