Tested and ready

  • Michelle Dunlop Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, August 17, 2011 8:33am
  • Business

The Boeing Co. is moving closer to delivering its first 787 next month.

The company confirmed Wednesday that it had wrapped up the final test flight for the 787s powered by Rolls-Royce engines last weekend as planned. Boeing still has some testing to do on 787s that will be powered with General Electric engines.

Boeing will submit its flight test results to the Federal Aviation Administration for the agency’s approval. FAA certification is needed before Boeing can deliver the first Dreamliner to Japan’s All Nippon Airways next month. The date of first delivery hasn’t been announced.

Scott Fancher, general manager of the 787 program, was pleased with the Dreamliner’s performance over the last month.

“The Dreamliner continues to demonstrate that we will indeed deliver a truly revolutionary airplane that will be a game changer in the marketplace,” he said.

The final test flight occurred Saturday onboard the ninth 787 to be built, designated ZA102. Capt. Mike Carriker, chief pilot for the 787 program, brought the plane back to Paine Field in Everett at 1:58 p.m., following a 90-minute flight that started in Billings, Mont. Carriker flew the Dreamliner’s maiden flight on Dec. 15, 2009.

“When ZA102 returned to Paine Field, it brought back with it the hopes and dreams of the many thousands of men and women of Boeing and our global partners who have worked so long for this day,” Fancher said.

The 787 flight test program has accumulated more than 4,800 flight hours. Boeing pilots have put the 787s through extreme tests — severe temperatures, high winds and forced engine failures — to prove the jet could continue to fly safely.

Each 787 will also be put through tests, as is typical, before delivery. Boeing has orders for about 827 Dreamliner jets.

The Dreamliner’s launch customer, All Nippon Airways, already is planning the jet’s first commercial flight in October. The airline will fly a special charter flight from Tokyo to Hong Kong. ANA hasn’t revealed the date of that flight.

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