Boeing has reached a development milestone in the 787 programme's previously troubled flight-control software code, with a simulated flight from Seattle-Tacoma to Portland, Oregon.

In February, Boeing chief pilot Mike Carriker and 787 systems director Mike Sinnett successfully tested the Blockpoint 8 software code in the 787 engineering flight simulator.

The airframer revealed the milestone in a corporate blog called Randy's Journal, published by Randy Tinseth, Boeing Commercial Airplanes vice-president for marketing.

The test "demonstrated most of the operation procedures required by a flight crew", says Tinseth, including "pushback and engine start at [Seattle-Tacoma] airport, taxi and take-off, climb, cruise, simulated engine failure, descent, approach, single-engine go-around, landing, taxi and arrival at the gate at the Portland, Oregon airport".

Tinseth describes the test as the "first step" in the validation of the Blockpoint 8 software, adding that this version of the code will support the 787's initial flight tests.

In September, Boeing blamed flight-control software delays and a fastener shortage for causing the maiden flight for the first 787-8 to slip from late August to mid-December 2007. Boeing has since postponed the first flight again, to late June this year, blaming a wider supply chain breakdown.

Boeing officials claim the delays have had the unintentional side-effect of improving the maturity of the flight-control software. The company's original plan was to use Blockpoint 7.0 for the first flight.

The 787 is scheduled for first delivery to launch customer All Nippon Airways in early 2009 - a delay of at least eight months.

Source: Flight International