Boeing 787 Dreamliner Reaches First Airworthiness Milestone

 - January 18, 2010, 8:28 AM

Boeing has completed initial airworthiness testing on the 787 Dreamliner, the company announced last Friday. The milestone will allow more crewmembers to take part in flights and more airplanes to join the flight-test program, Boeing said.

“This is an important step forward,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program at Boeing Commercial Airplanes. “We are very pleased with the results we have achieved so far. The airplane has been performing as we expected.”

Since it first took to the air in mid-December, the first 787 prototype has flown 15 times and for a total of nearly 60 hours. During that time, test pilots so far have taken the airplane to an altitude of 30,000 feet and a speed of Mach 0.65. They have run initial stall tests and other dynamic maneuvers, as well as a “checkout” of the airplane’s systems. Six different pilots have flown the 787.

In the weeks ahead, the team plans to continue to expand the flight envelope. Near-term plans call for the airplane to fly to an altitude of more than 40,000 feet and a speed of Mach 0.85. Subsequent testing will push the airplane beyond expected operational conditions.

“The pilots have told me the results we are seeing in flight match their expectations and the simulations we’ve run,” said Fancher.