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Boeing 787 first flight
by IKE 16-Dec-2009 01:25


After too many delays the first prototype (ZA001) of the new Boeing 787 made its first test flight today at Everett's Paine Field airport in Washington. The flight lasted 3 hours and 10 minutes, a little less than planned because of the weather. The aircraft reached to almost 15.000ft of altitude, it cycled the landing gear and tested various aerodynamic configurations. Boeing stated the flight a major success and as said as a figure of speech, in the first 10min of flight they learned more things than the previous 100 days. Now there is a 9 month schedule of test flights if no delays are to occur.---



The main reason for the setting back of the first flight was a design (or miscalculation) of the main wingbox. According to Boeing a custom fix for this particular aircraft would have allowed the ZA001 to fly much earlier this year but that would have set back the program even further.

The 787 is a very radical aircraft. Its most obvious exotic feature is apparent now that we can see the aircraft flying and it is the huge elastic deformation of the wings, by far the larger in a civil aircraft or from what I can think of any aircraft of this size. The wind tips deflect upwards for about 3m in regular flight and they can diverge at about 8-9m at the 150% of maximum safety load where it is necessary for the aircraft to withstand.

The wing (and the wingbox structure mentioned above) is made mostly from composites, mainly CFRP and most parts are completed as full assemblies from Boeing's subcontractors around the world.

The flight was covered from Boeings dedicated website with video, ATC audio and live flight path over google maps.

Some links:

newairplane.com
www.flightglobal.com - video
www.flightglobal.com/blogs/flightblogger
www.aviationweek.com

(the first photo is from yesterday tests, the second row photos screenshots from Boeing's webcast)

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