A General Electric-powered Boeing 787 flew for the first time today, adding the fifth aircraft to the flight test programme.

The ZA005 flight test aircraft took off at 1441 PST (0041GMT) from Boeing's factory in Everett, Washington.

The aircraft, powered by twin GEnx-1B64 engines, completed its maiden sortie around 2130 PST after a nearly 4h flight, says Boeing.

The test flight, flown by Captain Mike Bryan, ZA005 chief pilot and Mike Carriker, chief 787 pilot, included a brief stop at the company's Moses Lake testing facility in central Washington, followed by a return to Boeing Field in Seattle where the 787 test fleet is based.

ZA005 is the first of two flight test aircraft powered by the two GEnx-1B64 engines that will complete 670h of flight testing and 600h of ground testing to certify the engine-airframe combination that will enter service with Royal Air Maroc in the first quarter of 2011.

The sixth and final 787 test aircraft is expected to make its maiden fight in July.

The first four 787s in the flight test programme flew with pairs of Rolls-Royce Trent 1000s, the engine selected by launch customer All Nippon Airways.

The first Rolls-Royce powered example is expected to be handed over to the Japanese carrier in November or December and enter service in January.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news