Better Know a Dreamliner – Part Two – ZA002

ZA002 – Registration: N787EX – Serial No: 40691 – Final Assembly: 2/12/08

ZA002, the second 787 flight test aircraft, recognizable by its All Nippon Airways paint job, took its first flight on December 22nd from Paine Field.

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

12 Responses to Better Know a Dreamliner – Part Two – ZA002

  1. Dan December 31, 2009 at 6:40 am #


    There seems to be confusion on the location and status of ZA003 and ZA004.

    - On 4 December, a 787 with no rego was removed from the paint hangar on December 4 to the flight line.

    - On 23 December, a 787 was moved from the ATS hangars to the fuel dock.

    Neither is visible on the flight line on 30 December. Last I heard ZA004 was still in ATS Hangar 3 and was unpainted.

    Are you able to shed any light on their locations?

  2. 787MT December 31, 2009 at 10:10 am #

    Plane 3 was pulled out of the 40-24 on December 23 and moved into the paint hanger. Plane 4 was brought from ATS and moved into the 40-24 on the same day and is now sitting in front of plane 10. Current planes in the 40-26 are planes 11, 12, 13, 14 and most of 15 in position zero.

  3. Dan December 31, 2009 at 5:42 pm #

    Thanks 787MT

    So which was the 787 pulled from the paint hangar on 10th December (not 4th as I incorrectly stated?:

    Are both ZA003 and ZA004 painted?

  4. 787MT December 31, 2009 at 8:34 pm #

    That video is of plane 4 coming out of the paint hanger. Plane 3 is currently in the paint hanger right now, it was not previously painted. Plane 3 stayed in the 40-24 while the side of body mod was being done which is why plane 4 was painted first. The weird thing is I walked by plane 4 the other day when they were moving it and it doesn’t have an n-number, not sure why.

  5. ANA 787 December 31, 2009 at 8:49 pm #


    I have not seen it online, but Boeing still says that part of the tests will be conducted “as an airline”, with insturmented pseudo-commercial flights.
    That should allow ANA to fly the plane from day one like any plane.

  6. Dan December 31, 2009 at 11:00 pm #

    Thanks again for the info 787MT.

    The reg N7874 has been reserved by Boeing for S/N40693 (on 6/30/09) which corresponds to ZA004

  7. JG January 1, 2010 at 10:32 am #

    Flightaware just gave me an alert for BOE 1 KPAE -> KBFI – could this be first flight for ZA003?

  8. Concerned Flyer January 4, 2010 at 8:29 am #

    ” have not seen it online, but Boeing still says that part of the tests will be conducted “as an airline”, with insturmented pseudo-commercial flights.”

    How does Boeing plan to achieve this when it is on a restricted flight testing regime?

    The aircraft is not cleared for flight test at flight regimes that commercial airlines may encounter.

  9. wannebe engineer January 4, 2010 at 9:15 am #


    Happy New Year and all of that stuff and many thanks for your fabulous posts.
    I realize this subject is mute now that first flights are accomplished, But, there is a question I have been meaning to ask that no-one ever really explained concerning the side of body fix. The side of body fix has been labeled as a “strengthening” of the spares. But, isn’t it really a reduction of stresses accomplished by allowing the spare cross-section to flex more? And then, adding additional fasteners near the wing skins?


  10. Johan January 5, 2010 at 9:12 am #

    ?? 330 min ETOPS ??

    we have a brand-new airplane, new engines, new systems; and from day 1 that should be certified to fly 5,5 hours on 1 engine????

    So just because of statistics which have no use (because of other engine/other planes) this commercial plane is allowed to fly for 5,5 hours in a situation that a single failure will bring it down…and then I should feel secure?? no way!

  11. ANA 787 January 5, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    Concerned Flyer, I understand your concerns.
    Actually that has been planned years ago, and it is now part of the FT.
    So we an expect that airplane to fly to Japan anytime in Spring and operate a while there “as an airline”.
    That doesn’t mean commercial flight, but rather “commercial pattern”.
    That was one request from NH long ago.

  12. Emma January 6, 2010 at 6:24 am #

    Very interesting points of view on an issue which will grow in importance, but I found out how it all began at