Boeing plans two-tiered ETOPS approval for 787

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As it begins function and reliability (F&R) and extended twin-engine operations (ETOPS) testing on the 787, Boeing will have a two--phase implementation of its ETOPS certification, with 180min operations certified at entry into service with All Nippon Airways (ANA) in August or September and a further 330min certification following a required "software adjustment" due to a US FAA rule change.

Boeing cited new regulatory guidance concerning low fuel alerting that requires an alerting system software change for operations 180min, which will be available in early 2012.

"Because of a recent change to the rules, we need to make a software adjustment. [330min ETOPS certification] will be done in time for when it is needed [as a customer requirement]" said Boeing.

The airframer confirmed it began 787 function and reliability (F&R) and ETOPS testing on 26 June, commencing the final flight test trials to achieve basic type certification with Rolls-Royce engines.

ANA's early 787s will be configured for domestic and regional operations and will not require ETOPS certifications beyond 180min, said Boeing.

 

 
   

The level of ETOPS certification dictates the required distance of an aircraft operating on a single engine or other flight critical failure from a diversion airport.

The airframer did not immediately have details on the rule change or the nature of the software adjustment, but said no new rule-making stemmed from the November 2010 fire aboard test aircraft ZA002.

Further, the changes are unrelated to the Rolls-Royce Package A engine, which suffered an uncontained failure in August 2010, prompting changes in both hardware and software. Neither manufacturer has detailed what those changes entailed.

Airplane Nine, ZA102, is the lead aircraft for F&R tests, which are scheduled to take 300h and include the ETOPS evaluations which are measured in test points.

"We've flown all of the ETOPS test points in Boeing testing," said Scott Fancher, 787 programme vice president and general manager in a Paris air show interview, with the same points now set to be repeated for certification credit.

"The team has created a solid plan for accomplishing the hours and test points required for F&R and ETOPS testing in support of delivery to our customer ANA in the August to September time period," said Fancher.

Boeing will conduct an additional F&R/ETOPS trial period on the GEnx test aircraft, ahead of that engine-airframe certification, and said it has not yet finalised the plan for the GE engines, or a target for completion.