According to reports, the second Boeing 787 flight test article (the airplane on which Boeing will conduct systems testing), is ready to begin fuel testing outside the Boeing factory in Everett, Washington.
Meanwhile, the first plane, ZA001, powered by twin Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines is expected to begin flight testing in the week starting 22 June.
While the ZA001 is wearing Boeing's colours, the ZA002 is dressed in its customer All Nippon Airways (ANA) blue and white livery. According to Boeing's schedule the aircraft will be ready for delivery to (ANA) in the first quarter of 2010, probably in February.
According to the test regime the ZA002 will undergo extensive runway safety tests. These will focus on the stability and control laws for the plane which has a wingspan of 197 ft and fuselage length of 186 ft and a fly-by-wire flight control system which incorporates a distributed architecture for its avionics/electronics systems.
Z001 will be used to establish the 787's basic flight envelope (the limits of speed, altitude, acceleration within which an aircraft can safely operate) while Z002 will delve into performance of specific systems such as the autopilot and Trent propulsion system.
ZA001 undergoing the seventh week of pre-flight tests and has at least a week to go before it flies while ZA002 is expected to take a comparatively shorter time to fly as many of the tests conducted on ZA001 will not have to be repeated. According to the Boeing 787 flight-test team ZA002 could be flying within about three weeks after ZA001 begins to fly.
Meanwhile, according to Boeing commercial president and CEO, Scott Carson the new airplane will not fly this week at the Paris Air Show. He added that they expect the airplane to fly within the next two weeks.
According to Carson, the company is also working on the 787-9 variant that will have a 206 ft length and 208 ft wing which is expected to be completed later in the year. The -3 variant -10 variants are also in the works he added.
The 787-3 is the short-range version for which only ANA has placed orders. The plane has the same length as the 787-8 but a wingspan of 170-ft while the 787-10 is a further development on the 787-10 to counter competition from A350XWB Airbus at the higher end of the market.
Carson also offered some more product development details in respect of future 777 variants that will take on competition from Airbus A350XWB. One of these is a re-winged 777 version, which according to Carson would be studied in parallel with the -10.
He said that though they were not linked as of date with both -10 and a re-winged or upgraded 777 the trick was to find the product that addressed the needs the most.
He added that neither the double stretch 787 nor improved 777 ruled out an all new design as each design competed on its merits.
Meanwhile, Pat Shanahan, vice president of airplane programs for Boeing Commercial Airplanes said in a statement regarding the 787 which has been delayed by nearly two years, ''We now are preparing to conduct final testing to verify that the airplane is ready to enter the flight test program. From there, we will go through taxi testing and then the airplane will take to the sky.''