ZA003 - Reg: N787BX - Serial No: 40692 - Final Assembly: April 29, 2008
From the outside, ZA003 will be difficult to distinguish from the four flight test aircraft painted in the light flight test colors. What makes ZA003 recognizable is not its exterior, but its interior. As future passengers on the 787, ZA003 will spend the rest of the flight test program focusing on the most visible elements to the flying public.
The aircraft, powered by two Trent 1000 engines, made its first flight from Paine Field today, March 14th, with Capts. Ray Craig and Mike Bryan at the controls. The aircraft landed at Boeing Field at 2:01 PDT after a 3h and 6min spin in the skies around Washington State.
Its racks of instrumentation are sandwiched in between two sections of nine-abreast seating, totaling 135 unremarkable economy seats with teal and blue headrests, as well as overhead storage bins running the length of the cabin. While unremarkable, these are for Boeing's test purposes, not the seats selected by each individual airline.
The third 787 flight test aircraft, which will accumulate the fewest number of test hours of the Rolls-Royce-powered test fleet will evaluate the passenger environment, including a complete survey of the interior noise generated by the aircraft's systems and engines. Other tests will include tests of the aircraft's flight deck avionics, as well as electromagnetic effects and high-intensity radio frequency response testing.
ZA003 also includes lavatories, forward and aft crew rest areas, electro-chromatic windows and galleys, as well as galley and cargo cooling systems that are not installed on other test aircraft. The aircraft will also test the smoke penetration of the cabin and flight deck in the event of a fire.
Additionally, the minimally instrumented ZA003 will take part in the roughly 300h of Extended Twin-Engine Operations (ETOPS) testing with functionality and reliability testing (F&R) of the aircraft systems.
Included in every 787 cabin will be a standard zonal drying system to remove moisture that collects in the crown and cargo area of the fuselage as a normal part of flight operations. After each flight some of that moisture will be absorbed in the insulation blankets and may add as much as 500lbs to the weight of the aircraft, increasing fuel burn.