Boeing is slated to begin 787 systems functionality and reliability (F&R) and extended operations (ETOPS) testing as early as June 26, program sources tell FlightBlogger, beginning the final phase of basic certification for the aircraft's airframe combination with Rolls-Royce Package A engines.
Airplane Nine, ZA102, will be the lead aircraft for F&R, which is slated to take 300h and within that block includes the ETOPS evaluations which are measured in test points.
"We've flown all of the ETOPS test points in Boeing testing," says Scott Fancher, 787 program vice president and general manager, with the same points now set to be repeated for certification credit.
Reaching F&R and ETOPS evaluations mark a significant milestone for the program, and will clear the way to final US Federal Aviation Administration certification in the third quarter ahead of first delivery of Airplane Eight, ZA101, to launch customer All Nippon Airways in August or September.
Yet, the initial US certification will only allow four specific aircraft to be delivered to ANA, and until the Japanese Civil Aviation Bureau provides it stamp of approval, 787 cannot enter service.
Engine maker Rolls-Royce has said it only plans to deliver in total four 787s with Package A engines, with the first updated Package B delivery slated for the end of the year for ANA's long-haul configuration while LAN expects its first two in May and June 2012.
ANA says it expects JCAB certification for 787 in "in the next few months" and first revenue service to begin in "the autumn" placing the types entry into service sometime between September 21 and December 21. Rolls-Royce announced on Wednesday it had received JCAB certification for the Package A Trent 1000 engines.
Of the first six test aircraft have completed flight testing, Fancher says, "I have no more testing on those airplanes for initial type [certification]. The only remaining testing on those airplanes is for the amended type [certification] for the [Package] B and the GE type certifications."
The Package B engine, which will bring specific fuel consumption within 1% of specification, through a series of fan and core modifications, is currently undergoing nautical air mies (NAMS) fuel burn evaluations aboard ZA004.
Of the customer aircraft already assembled, some 42 787s at various states of completion, only ANA and LAN Airlines have selected Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engines. The remainder for Japan Airlines, Air India, China Southern, Ethiopian Airlines and Royal Air Maroc will be powered by General Electric GEnx engines.
Regarding a timeline for the first deliveries with GEnx engines and the upgraded Trent, "I don't know that we've really said on [Package B] or GE, and we've got quite a sequence of things to work through with the FAA, so we'll wait until we get a bit closer before we talk about those dates," says Fancher.
"We're proceeding with the block 4 (a reference to Package B), PIP1 work," says Fancher. "That's coming along quite well, we've seen no major issues with the engines, it's a flight test program so we'll see some thing, we're working through those, no major issues or setbacks."
When asked if the first customer deliveries of GEnx engines would include GE's PIP1 improvement package set to bring performance within 1%, Fancher said, "I don't think we've said that either."