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Boeing 787 testing Yuma skies again
Boeing Co.'s new 787 jetliner once again is flying the skies over Yuma as it works toward Federal Aviation Administration certification.
Boeing halted all flight testing of the two-engine, long-range, wide-body jet airliner after a Nov. 9 in-flight electrical fire in a power distribution system that forced a 787 to make an emergency landing in Laredo, Texas.
The flight tests resumed in late December after Boeing came up with an interim software fix, but not the tests for FAA certification, The Associated Press reported Tuesday.
The federal agency must certify aircraft before they can enter service, an all-important milestone Boeing must achieve before deliveries can begin on the aircraft, already three years late getting to customers.
The plane involved in the FAA tests made two flights Monday from Yuma, the second lasting about three hours as it made a series of back-and-forth loops over the southern Arizona desert.
“The 787 again is doing testing in Yuma,” said Craig Williams, Yuma International Airport manager. “Boeing has recently returned and resumed testing here.”
He said the company has leased space at the airport since July and been conducting testing here intermittently since then. “They've made many trips working out of the Yuma airport.”
The company has even offered several tours for local business people and officials. Firefighters from the Marine Corps Air Station Yuma Crash, Fire and Rescue have even been over to see the new plane and become familiar with it in case of an emergency they needed to respond to, Williams said.
In addition to the plane flown over Yuma Monday, Boeing spokeswoman Lori Gunter said two other 787s were in the air elsewhere in the country. That included the aircraft that had the fire, which made its first flight since returning from Laredo to the Seattle area.
Gunter told The Associated Press she could not provide details about the testing. “We just don't do that on a day-to-day basis.”
Gunter said Boeing has four 787s in active flight tests, with the remaining two in the testing program expected to be flying again in the next week or so. She declined to say when Boeing might announce a revised delivery schedule for the plane.
Japan's All Nippon Airways was scheduled to receive the first 787 early this year before the latest setback.
Last week, Jim Albaugh, president and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, told reporters that the company hoped to announce a delivery schedule within two weeks, but the FAA first had “to agree to the fixes we're going to put in place” and give its permission to restart certification flights.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.