First flight remains targeted for December 15, depending on the weather.
Before ZA001 can complete its final round of taxi tests, Boeing will take the first 787 though
two to three days of final gauntlet tests for final check outs of the aircraft’s 92 systems.
Currently, the Final Gauntlet is scheduled to begin as early as Tuesday, December 8 and stretch through Wednesday or Thursday. The Final Gauntlet is a series of closed loop ground tests that will evaluate ZA001′s systems while fooling the aircraft in believing it is flying.
Sources say the Final Gauntlet will be split into two primary blocks. The first includes a B1 first flight profile, the standard checkout ofall aircraft systems as part of standard production testing. The second block will be a more rigorous “first flight” final gauntlet with an expanded profile of tests and failure scenarios.
Today (December 7) is being spent undergoing a flight test safety review, while tomorrow will include the setup of the aircraft Flight Emulation Test System (FETS), that interfaces directly with ZA001 and governs the gauntlet tests.
The FETS system is part of a Boeing-patented method (PDF) of activating and monitoring the aircraft during gauntlet testing. The 1993 patent abstract reads:
The system thus generates an initial set of stimuli similar to what anaircraft would be exposed to when in flight; monitors the response ofthe aircraft to the stimuli to which it is exposed; and, in responsegenerates an updated set of stimuli to the aircraft. The system alsorecords the response of the output responses of aircraft components sothat they could be monitored by personnel charged with insuring thatthe aircraft is functioning properly. The system can also be used totrain flight crews since it can be used to place the aircraft “in theloop” during a flight emulation.
We see the FETS system manifested today in the flight line bread truck that attaches directly to the aircraft systems to fool the inertial and air data systems, while applying simulated flight dynamics and aerodynamics that govern aircraft performance. This “stumuli” causes the aircraft systems to respond, allowing Boeing to see their in-flight performance while remaining on the ground.
Last Friday, ZA001 was spotted rolling near flight line stall 105 as the aircraft tested its brakes while operating solely on main battery power, say program sources. According to Aviation Week’s Guy Norris, Boeing also tested the latest flight control software as part of regression testing. The software is believed to be version 8.0.2, say sources familiar with the testing.
Once the Final Gauntlet tests wrap up by the end of this week, Boeing will head into taxi tests this weekend for the final round of low and high speed tests for final checkouts of the aircraft ability to slow down and stop safely.
Photo Credit Jim Larsen – Taken May 29, 2009