787 heads south for the winter in search of high and low ground

Boeing 787 Dreamliner N787FT ZA005

Earlier today, Boeing’s fifth 787, ZA005 left Albuquerque, New Mexico enroute to Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. The first GEnx-powered 787 landed around 5pm local time at the airport, which features the longest runway in the Caribbean. ZA005 is currently undertaking a campaign of high altitude tests at varying temperatures also known as Lapse Rate Takeoff (LRTO) testing, which sources say is being undertaken in three phases.

The first phase, now complete, was a series of tests at Albuquerque International Sunport’s 13,000ft long runway that sits at 5,355ft above sea level for the mid-altitude portion of the trials.
ZA005 has returned to sea level for the low-altitude portion of the testing with its visit to the 11,702ft long runway at Rafael Hernandez International Airport in Aguadilla and will remain in Puerto Rico through the week.  
At the close of this week, ZA005 will head to El Alto Airport in La Paz, Bolivia for the final high-altitude portion of the tests. Interestingly, the airport also goes by the name John F. Kennedy International Airport.What distinguishes this particular airport from others in the world is its 13,325ft elevation above sea level and its 13,125ft long runway making it one of the highest points on Earth served by a commercial aircraft. It will also be 787′s first time touching down on South American soil.

5 Responses to 787 heads south for the winter in search of high and low ground

  1. alloycowboy January 25, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    It’s odd that the test crews are going back down to sea level then all the way back upto 13,000 feet. It would have made more sense to go to La Paz, Bolivia right after doing Albuquerque in order to minimize the effects of altitude sickness.

  2. Mike McInerney January 25, 2011 at 11:49 pm #

    Surely these test crews would not be effected by pressure changes while in the aircraft – on the ground maybe an issue.

    Mike

  3. J. Franco January 26, 2011 at 9:14 am #

    i will post some pics when ZA005 on the ground and if it`s possible on the air here in La Paz Bolivia

  4. StarBlue January 26, 2011 at 9:36 am #

    I had forgotten how high that airport is. Does anyone know if a 787-8 fully fueled and loaded can take off in the middle of summer at La Paz? Usually I know they either reduce the fuel load or passengers.

  5. Alice Taylor October 5, 2011 at 4:50 am #

    “What distinguishes this particular airport from others in the world is its 13,325ft elevation above sea level and its 13,125ft long runway making it one of the highest points on Earth served by a commercial aircraft.”

    This is fascinating, howerever, I wondered if anyone could tell me which is the highest point on Earth served by a commercial aircraft?