Boeing to resume Dreamliner testing programme

Boeing to resume Dreamliner testing programme

Boeing has confirmed it will resume testing on the ill-fated 787 Dreamliner this week, following a series of upgrades to the aircraft.

Flight testing on the 787 was suspended last month following an in-flight electrical fire on a test flight.

Nobody was hurt in the incident, which saw the aircraft make an emergency landing in in Laredo, Texas.

Ahead of the new tests, which Boeing states could begin as early as today, the company has installed an interim version of updated power distribution system software and conducted a rigorous set of reviews to confirm the flight readiness of test plane ZA004.

“Initially, we will resume a series of Boeing tests that remain to be completed in the flight test program,” said Scott Fancher, vice president and general manager of the 787 program.

“That testing will be followed later by a resumption of certification testing,” he added.

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Dreamliner

In recent weeks Qatar Airways and Japanese carrier All Nippon have both confirmed their commitment to the Dreamliner project, despite over two years of delays.

Originally scheduled to arrive in 2008, All Nippon, the first carrier on the waiting list, is now unlikely to receive the first aircraft until the first quarter of 2011.

Boeing and Hamilton Sundstrand completed testing of the interim software updates earlier this week.

Verification of the system included laboratory testing of standalone components, integration testing with other systems, flight simulator testing and ground-based testing on a flight test airplane.

In the last several weeks, the company continued ground testing as part of the certification program.

Additional ground testing will be done by the company on the production version of the airplane to further verify performance of the changes being made.

“As we return to flight test and determine the pace of that activity, we remain focused on developing a new program schedule,” Mr Fancher added.

“We expect to complete our assessment of the program schedule in January.”