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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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RE: here's to hoping
By Keeir on 6/18/2010 4:32:27 AM , Rating: 4
So many wrongs... my head hurts

the 787 is marginally larger than the 707

No. Not even close. How in the world could you even think that? The Larget 707, the -320B, had a length of 152 ft, wingspan of 145 ft, a fuselage width of 12.4 ft, and an empty wieght of 146 kips... with 202 passengers in 1 class configuration. Most military 717 airframe were even smaller. The 787-8 on the other hand, the smallest currently planned 787, has a length of 186 ft (22%), a wingspan of 197 ft (35%), a fuselage width of 18 ft (45%) and a projected empty wieght of 242 kips (65%!). Wow, so marginly larger is nearly twice the volume and 165% the mass??

however the 737 (the 707's official replacement) is significantly smaller than a 707

While the original 737 was smaller than the 707, (it was a supplement for the 727 and 707 that gradually grew in size to replace the 727 and smaller 707 variants, the 707 and the 737 were produced concurrently for more than a decade), todays 737-900 is almost a dead ringer in size for the 707 with a 138ft length, a 12.4ft fuselage cross section, etc.

of course, a 757 could be used (which would effectively split the difference), although it is around a foot narrower than the 707.

1. The 757 has been out of production for a while.
2. Your confusing cabin width with fuselage width. The 707, 737, 757 all share the same basic fuselage. Fuselage width is an external measurement and cabin width is internal. Keep in mind the 717 airframes are smaller exterior and interior than the 737.

while it is true that civillian planes tend to accrue hours somewhat faster than their military counterparts; bear in mind that they are also swapped out of the fleet with far more frequency.

No not really. Measuring aircraft usage by age is... well not very descriptive. Either flight cycles or flight hours is much more clear. Civilian planes fly more hours and cycles per year and more hours and cycles before retirement than military planes. For example, there are 747 and 767 aircraft that have flown more than 40,000 times still in service and racked up 100,000 hours of flight time. I repeat, Civilian planes fly 10x as often and 10x as long per year as most military planes (in peace times anyway). Yes, a civilian plane that is 5-6 years old has likely spent as much time in the air as most of the 717 military airframes.

30 years have completely changed not only electronics but the materials, manufacturing process

60 years. Aircraft don't chnage much post intially design. 707 was designed in the 1950s.
I wouldn't even go into the material question except to point out that the fasteners used in the 787 are made from the same material as fastners used since the 707. Just because a material is old doesn't automatically make it obsolete for a specific purpose.

the actual age of the planes is significantly older--perhaps as much as 40 years or more in total.

Age is not the best way to describe wear on aircraft.

I am not trying to discourage moving to more modern platforms, but encouraging using common sense rather than greenwash or new technology just for the hell of it.

Would you recommend your grandmother on social security to buy a Lincoln MKZ Hybrid to drive to church once a week to save money? Sure its a nice car and doesn't use alot of fuel, but something like a 3 year old used Honda Fit with low mileage end makes a heck of alot more sense.

Lets be sensible with the airframe purchases.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer
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