ZA002 – Registration: N787EX – Serial No: 40691 – Final Assembly: 2/12/08
Though it wears the colors of the 787 launch customer, ZA002 will remain in the Boeing inventory as a research and development vehicle, along with ZA001 and ZA003 after the aircraft were determined to have no market value following extensive rework and modification made during assembly.
The aircraft, which is powered by two Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines, will be fully instrumented for the flight test program and feature banks of computers and water ballast in the unfinished cabin.
Airplane Two will have the second most hours of the six flight test aircraft and will first participate in the initial airworthiness and flutter clearance, as well as stability and control testing ahead of the Type Inspection Authorization two months after ZA001′s first flight.
High speed air testing is also expected to be a significant part of ZA002′s aerodynamic check-out along with wing twist that will be measured by inertial measurement units.
Once initial airworthiness is cleared, ZA002 will focus on systems functionality and reliability (F&R) for ETOPS and standard operations. The 787 will have a 330-minute ETOPS certification or 207-minute certification as a backup.
By contrast, the 777 was granted the first ETOPS clearance in 1995 with 180 minutes, a good indication of how far twin-engine long-range operations have come. About 10% of the 3,000 hours flown during the flight test program will be used for ETOPS certification spread across Airplanes 2-6, though ZA002 will account for the bulk of the hours.
Rolls-Royce completed 3,000 cycles worth of ETOPS testing on the Trent 1000 engines on August 19, 2009.
As part of the ETOPS testing that requires long legs, ZA002 – accompanied by ZA003 – will undertake route proving for customers. Boeing has not yet specified which city pairs will be flown, but Frank Rasor, director of flight test operations for Boeing says that visits to Japan will provide an opportunity for ground crews to work with the aircraft first hand.
ZA002′s stability and control testing will focus on the functionality of the autopilot and will conduct a lot of runway work – many takeoffs and landings – during flight test with trips to Edwards Air Force base in California planned to take advantage of the long runways dry lake bed that provide safe margin for the tests.
With its focus on systems F&R, ZA002 will be instrumented with an oxygen analyzer and fiber optic temperature sensor to monitor the 33,528 U.S. gal fuel system.
The 787 is the first new commercial aircraft to comply with the fuel interting requirement by the FAA. Boeing will measure the oxygen content and temperatures across the system. Rasor says the company will take special care in this particular area due differences in how the fuel interacts with the systems, as well as how it is circulated and cooled.
Another major F&R test will look at the aircraft’s electrical systems and will determine its maximum load by connecting resistors which act as heaters. These heaters will pull electrical power from the engines and generations systems like the Hamilton Sundstrand APS 5000 APU, which will be fitted with special instrumentation.
For the load banks test, the heaters will be attached to barrels of water and are run up, steadily increasing the power load on the aircraft’s electrical system. Rasor says the test will need to be monitored closely, as the eventually the water in the barrels will come to a boil.
Photo Credit Boeing