has reactivated the fourth 787 development aircraft in readiness for initial flight tests of the first engine for the stretched .
The aircraft, ZA004, which has been in long-term storage at Boeing Field, Wa., since last year, completed a series of check flights June 8-9, before departing for flight tests in Kona, Hawaii on the June 10.
The aircraft is currently powered by the latest‘Package B’ standard engines but in July will be fitted with the first set of upgraded ‘Package C’ standard engines which will later power the 787-9.
ZA004 was one of the original four Rolls-powered development 787s and joined the test program in February 2010.
Package C will be rated at 74,000-lb. thrust, and is designed to have 1% better fuel burn relative to the current engine, which itself clawed back a 2.2% improvement over the first versions of the Trent 1000.
The engine is due to be certified mid-year, and will be the baseline engine for the 787-9 when it enters service within mid-2014.
The Package C version is also due to begin powering 787-8s from around June 2014.
As well as improved fuel burn, the Package C engine incorporates modifications to increase mass flow and exhaust gas temperature margin. Main changes include modified blades in the intermediate pressure compressor and a semi-active case cooling system for improved tip clearance control in the low-pressure turbine.
A Package C engine successfully completed a 150-hr. endurance type test andover-temperature test in Derby, U.K., late last year just as various elements of the upgrade began flight tests on the Rolls-Royce 747 flying testbed in Tucson, Ariz.
Flights on the testbed have been conducted in three main phases, culminating with a recent full-up Package C configuration. Early flights involved tests of a hybrid Package B engine incorporating the tip clearance controls of the newer powerplant in one instance, and the revised compressor in the other.