Production delays for the Boeing Dreamliner 787 will force Boeing to conduct flight tests simultaneously for the 787 and the also-under-development 747-8, a widebody commercial airliner. The 747-8 will use the same engine and cockpit technology as the 787. The 747-8 is also delayed, but not to the same extent of the 787, which relies heavily on carbon composites for much of it structure.
There won’t be room to conduct tests for both aircraft at Boeing’s field locations in the Puget Sound. “But we’ve worked out a good plan with the Boeing Test and Evaluation team to make the most efficient use of our resources, while accommodating the test, certification and delivery schedules for both the 747-8 Freighter and the 787 Dreamliner,” says Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing for Boeign Commercial Airplanes.
Testing for the Dreamliner will be based at Boeing Field while testing for three planes in the 747-8 program will take place at an airfield in central Washington and other remote locations. Three test 747-8 planes are in final assembly, nearing completion.
“We’ve done simultaneous flight test programs before, and we don’t see it impacting schedules,” says Tinseth. The last time major Boeing flight test programs overlapped (the 757 and 76) was in 1982.