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Boeing ZA005 test aircraft  (Source: Boeing)
Deliveries are still on track for Q4 2010

After years of delays, Boeing appears to be finding its groove with the 787 Dreamliner. The fifth test aircraft, ZA005, took to the air yesterday afternoon from Paine Field in Everett, Washington [video].

The purpose of the fifth airframe is to test the use of new General Electric GEnx turbofan engines. Boeing hopes to show that the use of the General Electric engines does not change the flight characteristics of the aircraft. Customer will be able to choose between Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines (which has powered the previous four aircraft) or the aforementioned General Electric GEnx engines.

"The airplane handled just like I expected," said Bryan, who piloted ZA005 during the nearly four hour flight. "It was just like every other 787 flight that I've flown in the last several months – smooth, per plan and excellent."

"We're pleased to introduce the fifth Dreamliner to the flight-test fleet and to start flight testing with GE engines," said Scott Fancher, general manager of the 787 program. "It's taken the collective resources and dedication of our teams to get to this day. There's just nothing like a first flight to validate that it has been worth the sacrifices we have all seen our teams make in the past several years."

If the 787 testing program continues to move forward on schedule, the sixth and final test aircraft, ZA006, will take to the air next month. The first delivery of production aircraft is still on track for the fourth quarter of this year.

As of May 2010, Boeing currently has 860 orders for the 787 Dreamliner (669 of the 787-8, and 191 of the 787-9).

 





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