Strange title for a post I know, but when ZA001 landed at Moses Lake just before 1pm on Friday after just over an hour in the air it raised some eyebrows for those of us watching Flightaware. The aircraft had filed an 8hr flight plan on Friday for flutter tests at FL300 with BFI-BFI flight plan. The first thought was that Flightaware had 'squawk'd' and missed the return to Seattle, but now it appears that ZA001 never made it back to Boeing Field on Friday.
On top of this, a company owned Cessna 208 Carvan (N208BA) made no less than five runs between Everett, Boeing Field and Moses Lake in the last two days. Related? Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, ZA001 filed a return flight plan Sunday morning from Moses Lake for a 9:45 PT departure and return to BFI.
Update 11:42 PM ET: Randy Tinseth explains the diversion to Moses Lake as an uncommanded loss in power on one of ZA001's Trent 1000 engines. According to data from Friday's flight on Flightaware, the aircraft was at FL300 heading west at just below cruise speed when the loss of power happened around 12:30 PM PT.
The first 787 - ZA001 - returned from Moses Lake Sunday morning after landing there on Friday. Our flight test pilots had touched down at the Grant County International Airport after they experienced an uncommanded loss of thrust in one of the engines...Teaming with Rolls-Royce, we determined that the issue had to do with a pressure-sensing component within the engine.
We located replacement parts and then got the parts and the right crew to Moses Lake - beginning the maintenance activity on Saturday. Later that day, we ran the engines to confirm that the replacement had been done correctly and that there were no anomalous readings. So, Sunday morning, we flew home.
The airplane is going through the maintenance and pre-flight work that would have been done had it arrived back at Boeing Field on Friday evening. I can tell you that ZA001 will soon return to flutter testing.