The US FAA granted Boeing expanded type inspection authorisation (TIA) yesterday for its Boeing 787 flight test programme.

The move will pave the way for FAA personnel to fully take part in future test flights, and to collect flight test data.

"Boeing achieved the expansion by demonstrating the readiness of the airplane throughout a variety of speeds, altitudes and configurations," says the airframer.

Initial TIA was granted on 11 February, supporting the collection of flutter certification data.

"This TIA expansion is another significant step toward delivering airplanes to our customers. We remain on track to deliver the first airplane to All Nippon Airways this year," says Scott Fancher, VP and general manager of the 787 programme.

Boeing also announced it has 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 Fancher. "Having an airplane match its expected performance with so few changes is rare and speaks to the maturity of the design."

The first delivery of the 787 to ANA is scheduled for 2010's fourth quarter.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news