***Editor's Note: In an effort to maintain the highest possible level of accuracy on this page, I have received additional information that will help clarify the engine start schedule for the week ahead. Thanks for your understanding.Boeing's first 787 Dreamliner is closing on another major milestone on the road to its maiden flight, with the first start of its twin Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines mounted under the wings of ZA001.
The aircraft will remain at Fuel Dock F-3 for the next several days undergoing final fuel checks, which concludes with a final drainage of the system. Before being moved to the flight line, ZA001 will then receive a flight fuel load, an amount that enables engine and APU tests to be run for a prolonged period of time.
Presuming the current planning remains firm, ZA001 could be moved from the fuel dock to flight line as early the overnight hours of Saturday into Sunday. The sun will rise on Sunday morning with ZA001 parked in Stall 105, where the engines will be started and run at idle power as early as Thursday or Friday in combination with ongoing systems checks.
Each of the Rolls-Royce engines are fitted with two 250kVA generators, a half megawatt of power for each engine that drive the powerplant start system, and two additional 225kVA generators attached to the Hamilton Sundstrand APS 5000 auxiliary power unit in the tail cone.
Dreamliner One's engines came out of the shop in September 2008 as the 15th and 16th Trent 1000s built, and are certified up to 69,800 lbs of thrust.
Early next week, the aircraft will conduct integrated engine systems checks to verify functionality and continue validating the 787s more-electric systems architecture, ahead of first engine start later in the week.
The early engine runs will start at the idle power setting followed by more expanded testing around the end of next week and early into the weekend, including testing at various power settings that will last 24 to 36 hours.
The end of the early engine runs will segue later this month into intermediate gauntlet testing, the second phase of three closed-loop gauntlet tests will again fool ZA001 to believe it is in flight, while putting the aircraft through various failure modes to test deeper levels of system redundancy.
Back in the factory, work continues to prepare the other five flight tests aircraft for the sky. ZA002 returned to the factory on Tuesday evening and is now parked in Building 40-24 for pressurization and additional testing before being moved outside to the flight line by the close of the month.
ZA002, which left the paint hangar May 12, is said to be tracking closely behind ZA001, with as little as 20 days estimated between maiden flights for the first two 787s.
Over on the 747 line in Building 40-22, ZA003 will undergo interior fitting as early this weekend with the installation of wall panels, overhead bins, window surrounds and electrochromatic dimmable windows.
UPDATE 1 4:12 PM: The ZA003 interior fitting will be an initial test installation of the 787 cabin features and not the final installation before joining the flight test program