The next version of the Dreamliner, the Boeing 787-9, took to the skies on September 17, 2013, starting a lengthy flight-test program that leads to the first delivery scheduled in mid-2014 to Air New Zealand.
The test vehicle flew 5:16 hours, taking off from Paine Field in Everett, Wash., at 11:02 AM local time and landing at 4:18 PM at Seattle’s Boeing Field.
During today’s flight, 787-9 Senior Project Pilot Mike Bryan and 787 Chief Pilot Randy Neville departed to the north, reaching an altitude of 20,400 feet (6,218 meters) and an airspeed of 250 knots, or about 288 miles (463 kilometers) per hour, customary for a first flight. While Capts. Bryan and Neville tested the airplane’s systems and structures, onboard equipment transmitted real-time data to a flight-test team on the ground in Seattle.
Powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, the first 787-9 will be joined in flight test by two additional airplanes, one of which will feature General Electric GEnx engines. Those airplanes are in the final stages of assembly in Boeing’s Everett factory. Over the coming months, the fleet will be subjected to a variety of tests and conditions to demonstrate the safety and reliability of the airplane’s design.
Compared to the Boeing 787-8, the first Dreamliner version, the 787-9 is 20 feet (6 meters) longer, can carry an additional 40 passengers and fly 300 nautical miles (555 km) further. Twenty-five customers have ordered 388 787-9s, accounting for 40 percent of all 787 orders.
Meanwhile the problems with the Dreamliners already in service continue, with Scandinavian operator Norwegian for example repeatedly having to delay flights with the plane for up to a full day several times in just a few weeks. Boeing however continues with the development and has started already with designing the third Dreamliner version, the B787-10.
Source: Boeing with additional reporting by AIRheads’ Marcel Burger