The Boeing 787 Dreamliner began its inaugural visit to Singapore yesterday when test article ZA003 flew in from Bangkok on the latest leg of its six-month global Dream Tour. It is due to fly back to Seattle after spending three days in the show static display, February 14 to 17. ZA003 has logged some 650 hours in the air during some 195 flights.
The airplane’s primary mission involves demonstrating the unique features of the composite-bodied airliner to potential customers around the world. The Dreamliner showed off its long-range capabilities just a few days ago, while flying 7,679 miles nonstop from Seattle’s Boeing Field to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
The airplane has visited some 25 locations so far, including the 2010 Farnborough Air Show in the UK, Alaska, Dubai, China, Ethiopia, Kenya, Qatar and Ireland. Next, after flying back to Seattle following the Singapore show, schedules call for the airplane to embark on another North American tour, taking it into Canada and Mexico as well as around the U.S.
Outfitted with a representative 12-seat business class featuring B/E Aerospace Diamond seats and an economy section consisting of nine-abreast Weber seats, the ZA003’s cabin has undergone a number of changes over the years, from the time Boeing used the airplane as an environmental and fire-detection systems test bed for certification by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The airplane also underwent static hold and cold weather testing at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida, where engineers exposed it to temperatures as low as -45 deg F. For operational cold-weather testing, it visited Fairbanks, Alaska.
Scheduled for decommissioning in May after three more months of touring, ZA003 will reach the end of its flying days under mandate by the FAA. Boeing retired the second flight test aircraft, ZA002, this past week. Meanwhile, ZA001 sits partially dismantled in San Bernadino, California, where crews have already begun the process of stripping its engines and other salvageable parts.