Two aircraft from Boeing's 747 and 787 flight-test fleets have relocated as the new types' trial programmes gather momentum.

The second 747-8 Freighter (RC521) positioned from Boeing Field in Seattle to Palmdale, California on 19 April for the next phase of tests and will shortly be joined by the other two aircraft. RC521's flight marks the start of a planned transition of 747-8F testing to southern California, says Boeing.

Several test programmes will be undertaken at Palmdale, says Boeing, with fuel-mileage and engine-performance testing as key focus areas. This will allow it to meet the flight-test requirements needed to obtain the amended type certification, it adds.

Meanwhile, the third Rolls-Royce Trent 1000-powered 787 (ZA003) test aircraft, which is equipped with a furnished cabin, positioned to Eglin AFB, Florida on 18 April to undergo extreme weather testing at McKinley Climatic Laboratory.

The 787 test fleet passed the 500 flight hour mark on 16 April. The twinjet has now been granted expanded type inspection authorisation (TIA) by the US Federal Aviation Administration, which paves the way for the agency's personnel to fully participate in test flights and to collect data. Initial TIA was granted on 11 February.

Boeing has now finalised the aerodynamic configuration of the 787, and will make no further changes. "We have completed sufficient testing to decide that no additional changes to the external lines or shape of the airplane are required," says the programme's general manager Scott Fancher.

Source: Flight International