Visit DN's Boeing 787 Dreamliner coverage page for continuing 787 updates as we count down to first flight.
The plan to get Boeing's
Dreamliner off the ground by the end of June is one step closer to
fruition, after the company last week completed the first engine runs on the
commercial jetliner, a Boeing spokeswoman says.
Spokeswoman Lori Gunter says
the first engine tests ran about 40 minutes and will continue to last longer as
the airplane "is put through its paces."
During initial engine runs,
the engines are started electronically in test facilities and operated at
various power settings. "We fool the airplane into thinking it's flying,"
Gunter says. Now, she says, the Dreamliner is out on the field and will undergo
intermediate and final gauntlet tests, which is the full simulation of the
first flight utilizing the airplane's own power.
"Each time, the plane and its
engines are pushed a little farther," she says. "It is an exhaustive testing of
the systems to make sure the plane is ready for its flight test program."
She says the plane is
operated under several different scenarios, including if an engine or any of
its components fail. The engines are also started, powered down and restarted
following technical reviews.
The 787 Dreamliner is
expected to fly for the first time at the end of June. A specific date has not
been set, Gunter says.
Earlier this month, the first
787, designated ZA001, completed a series of tests including build
verification tests, structures and systems integration tests, landing gear
swings and factory gauntlet. The simulation tests all flight controls, hardware
and software and also included manual and automatic landings and several
subsequent ground tests. It will undergo additional power and systems tests,
engine runs and high-speed taxi tests prior to its first flight.