Last week, Boeing announced that its 787-10 Dreamliner received an amended type certificate (ATC) from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), clearing the airplane for commercial service.
The awarding of ATC caps a successful flight test program that began in March 2017 and involved three flight test airplanes that accumulated about 900 test hours. Boeing’s flight test program team took the airplanes through a series of tests to confirm the airplane’s handling, systems and overall performance met internal requirements and certification standards to ensure safety of flight.
“We are pleased to have met the rigorous standards set forth by the FAA and are eager to bring the airplane to market for our valued customers,” said Brad Zaback, vice president and general manager of the 787 program. “After years of design and testing, our team has proven the quality, safety and reliability of the newest member of the Dreamliner family and we look forward to seeing the airplane in service later this year.”
Although sharing the same design and technology as the original Boeing 787-8 model and the later 787-9, the 787-10 Dreamliner is longer from tip to tail – about 5.5 meters more than the 787-9. As a result, the “dash 10” can carry up to 330 passengers – about 40 more than the 787-9.
The chief breakthrough material technology on the 787 is the increased use of composites. The 787 is 50 percent composite by weight. A majority of the primary structure is made of composite materials, most notably the fuselage.
Boeing says it uses composites due to their extensive advantages over traditional materials. They allow a lighter, simpler structure, which increases airplane efficiency, reduces fuel consumption and reduces weight-based maintenance and fees. They do not fatigue or corrode, which reduces scheduled maintenance.
Last year, Boeing rolled out the first 787-10 Dreamliner built for commercial use at its Final Assembly facility in North Charleston, S.C.
Other aviation regulatory agencies are expected to follow the FAA’s lead and certify the airplane before it enters service. Singapore Airlines is due to take delivery of its first 787-10 in the first half of 2018 and will be operated on the airline’s medium-haul routes.