On Monday, the general manager overseeing the Boeing 787, Scott Fancher, announced that the Dreamliner has completed 80 percent of the testing necessary to become FAA certified The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports.
The plane can’t be delivered to launch customer All Nippon Airways until it has been fully certified by the FAA but the 80 percent completion mark is a reassuring achievement as Boeing tries to restore confidence in the delayed plane and begin delivering it to customers eagerly awaiting its arrival.
The article notes that Boeing has worked at a feverish pace in recent months since re-starting the testing certification after an on-board fire grounded the fleet back in November.
The fifth flight-test 787 just finished a 24-day trip in which it visited California, New Mexico, Puerto Rico, Bolivia and Texas before returning to Seattle, flying in all but two days, when it took a break for planned maintenance, Fancher noted. “The airplane performed beautifully.”
“Tomorrow we’re sending an airplane up to Fairbanks, Alaska, for some cold weather testing,” he added. “I understand we’ll get one day of 40-plus-below weather up there.”
Some of the last testing is for ETOPS certification, which allows twin engine planes to fly far from the nearest airport, enabling routes across oceans and poles, and function and reliability testing.
One production 787, the ninth built, already is in flight testing and the seventh or eighth 787 will join it to help with these final tests, which require a planes as close to final production aircraft as possible, Fancher said. “It’s kind of a graduation exercise, if you will.”
Not surprisingly, Boeing also reaffirmed on Monday its prediction that it will deliver the first 787 to ANA by the third quarter of this year, a goal the company established when it revised its schedule back in January.